8 Savvy Used Car Buying Tips

  • Posted 16 Oct

8 Savvy Used Car Buying Tips

Getting a great deal when buying a car takes research, perseverance, and knowing what to look out for. If you are searching few your next used car, these tips can help you get the best deal and avoid being ripped off.


1.     Determine your budget

Setting a maximum budget for your car search is your first step. Keep in mind that you’ll have ongoing maintenance expenses, so the purchase price isn’t the only price you need to consider.


2.     Research and reviews

Research is your best friend when buying used cars. If you want a new model, you can just walk up and choose one, but with a used car you’ll have to check continuously to see what cars are on the market.

Sites like CarsGuide and Craigslist are a good starting point for used vehicles. You can also search local dealer websites to view their used car stock. Check out RedBook to determine the approximate price for any used car you are considering.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few models, you can search the web for reviews from experts and customers. The National Roads & Motorists’ Association maintains a used car safety ratings database that’s also very helpful.


3.     Ask questions

If you are purchasing from an individual, ask them how long they’ve had the car and why they are selling it. Has it been in an accident and will it pass inspection? Have they kept a service history or maintenance records?


4.     History search

Get the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to run a check on the car’s history. This will tell you if the vehicle was ever reported stolen, has an outstanding loan, or was written off after a collision.


5.     Test drive

Drive with the radio off and listen to how the engine sounds. If possible, test the car on different roads and drive it at highway speeds to see how it handles. Check heating and cooling because those are often expensive elements to fix.


6.     Schedule an inspection

If you are satisfied by the condition of the car and how it drives, a smart next step is to pay for a thorough inspection. This is especially true if you are purchasing form an individual, but you can do this inspection with a dealer car as well. This service is typically between $100 and $150 and can save you from making a bad purchase.


7.     Negotiate

If the inspection discovers any problems, get an estimate of repair costs and use this to negotiate a lower price. If the car seems to be in great condition, make a reasonable offer based on the RedBook value and start negotiating from there.


8.     Final paperwork

Collect any paperwork the previous owner can provide about the maintenance history and make sure you have original copies of the title and sales paperwork. Get a receipt from the seller stating the sellers name and address, the make and model and VIN number of the car, and the price you paid. You’ll need this for state registration.

If you need a loan for your next new or used car purchase, Australian Credit and Finance can help. Contact our advisors today to get started on your car buying adventure.

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