More than forty million used cars exchange hands annually, but only a fraction of the buyers are satisfied with the deal they get. Unscrupulous dealers con some of the dissatisfied consumers, but most lose money or end up with troublesome vehicles because of their mistakes or negligence.
Buying a car is a complex endeavor, more so buying a used one. A survey shows that most potential car owners have fears when buying pre-owned vehicles for several reasons, some of them peculiar. 0.19% of respondents were scared that the cars might be haunted while 0.28% were concerned that they might have spiders inside waiting to strike. 20% o of the interviewees were not too sure of the overall quality of the used cars while another 18% are cautious that the vehicles may develop problems down the road.
Thus, we have compiled a list of ten of steps to make buying a used car a breeze.
Step 1. Budget
Be honest with yourself. If you are on a tight budget, it only makes sense that you might want a cheaper car. Also, keep in mind that used cars require more attention than new ones and budget accordingly. Do not get overexcited and overstep because that may lead to future financial strain. If a bank is financing you, ensure that you put payable interest into consideration.
Step 2: Build a Target List
Determine what kind of vehicle you need then make a list of at least three that fall withing your set budget. As much as we all have preferences, it is unwise to limit yourself to a particular model, regardless of how popular it is. Go for certified pre-owned vehicles if you are looking to buy a car as they come with manufacturer-backed warranties.
Step 3. Check Prices
Then research for their prices and use that info when haggling with the dealers. Any dealer worth his/her salt will throw an exaggerated figure at you and watch your reaction.
You need to understand that they are there to make as much profit and they may take advantage of your ignorance. Check online or move around local dealerships comparing prices to avoid being conned.
Step 4: Check the Vehicle History Report
This is where “I don’t know” does not cut it. You should demand complete information from the seller. That applies to even when he/she is a friend as they might have had a mishap that you are not aware of.
Alternatively, you can check online using the vehicle’s registration number (VIN) to see whether if the odometer has been rolled back or it has a salvage title.
Step 5. Contact the Seller
Feel free to grill the seller. Ask a private seller why he/she is selling the car and run away if the reason does not hold water. If you are dealing with a dealership, inquire about the car’s availability and ask about the car’s condition.
Step 6: Test-Drive and Have it Inspected
Here we are not talking about a one-kilometer drive. You need to test it as much as you want until you are satisfied that it feels and handles as well as you would want it to.
Then take it a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. Doing so may save you thousands of dollars in future repairs.
Step 7: Negotiate a Good Deal
Set a price that is lower than your budget, but not so low as to make the seller doubt your seriousness. You should propose a price that is near the average price of the vehicle, as from your research, and not settle for the highest you found.
Step 8. Do not Buy on the Same Day
Promising to return then walking out tilts the status quo in your favor. At this point, the seller is desperate to ensure that you do not find a better deal elsewhere and will give you his/her best offer. Take it in writing and go home to contemplate, dressed in your car fan T-shirt.
Step 9. Take Care of the Finances
Ensure that you get a receipt for any payment even if it is a deposit. Check to see whether the seller’s details are in it. If you are making a wire transfer keep copies of the bank slips for proof and references.
Step 10. Get the Paperwork Done
Handle all the paperwork or get your attorney to do it for you. This must be done promptly, and you must get all the documents before driving away. It is also of utmost importance to make sure that the insurance is up to date.