5 Tips For First Time Used Car Buying

The time has come when your 17-year-old hand-me-down and former prized possession finally dies on you. What are you going to do? If the answer to that question is to purchase a used car, there are a number of things to look out for before starting this process. While used cars can save you money without sacrificing the luxury of a new car, plenty of other factors come into play when you are not the first person driving it. Protect yourself and your money following these 5 simple steps for first time used car buying.

Watch Out For Flood Damage

The latest natural disasters in the United States have flooded the used car market with water-damaged cars across all regions. If you are in the market for a used car, it’s important to note that these damaged cars don’t always stay within the state lines of the flooded areas. Research shows that buying a used car with flood damage can almost always guarantee mechanical issues somewhere down the road or rust and corrosion. Make sure you are purchasing your vehicle from a trusted source and don’t be afraid to ask for the vehicle to be fully inspected by a mechanic.

Always Do Your Research

Before purchasing a used car there are many factors to take into consideration. Doing research on a used car is almost always much more in depth because you are looking for a car that is not only within your means but for something that will be reliable based on its history with past owner(s). If possible, locate the VIN number on the vehicle and check with the vehicle’s current owner or dealership for a comprehensive history report. Most importantly, be practical and realistic when choosing a car that will fit within your lifestyle. Use resources such as Kelley Blue Book, CARFAX, TrueCar, and consumer reports for more information. According to a new survey, most Americans spent only a couple of days researching before buying.

Know The Warranty

Often, used cars over a certain amount of miles are no longer covered under the original manufacturer’s warranty. This means any sudden mishap can be at your expense. Knowing if your vehicle will be under warrenty or not is an important factor that can be overlooked. Look at the current mileage on the vehicle’s odometer and check in the vehicle’s handbook or with the dealer to determine if it is still under warranty. With this being said, by no means is buying a car out of warranty considered bad, it is just a precaution for buyers in the market for used cars.

See If The Car Was Involved In An Accident

Much like water-damaged cars, used cars that have been involved in accidents could lead to issues down the road. Before completely crossing these cars off of your list, always double check the accuracy of the CARFAX. Accident or not, it is always recommended to take the prospective car to a mechanic or body shop to assess the condition of the car. If the car has a salvaged title, meaning damaged beyond reasonable repair, this is a major red flag and should be taken into consideration before purchasing. Beware of certain dealers or sellers selling these cars to unsuspecting buyers for what seems to be a great below-the-market price.

Don’t Forget The Counteroffer

When purchasing a used car, or any car for that matter, do not be afraid to negotiate with the seller on the price. Two cars of the same exact make and model can fluctuate in price for a number of reasons. Be sure to understand what you are getting and determine the price you feel that it is worth according to prior research. If you aren’t sure where to look first, a Yonkers Honda Survey has deemed Kelley Blue Book the most common used online source for finding that information. Also, don’t be afraid to leave and look elsewhere if the seller isn’t willing to go down on price. Often times many factors play into the negotiation process of how successful or unsuccessful it goes. It could be that the car has not been sitting there long enough and the seller isn’t desperate enough to get rid of it yet. If you feel justified in your counteroffer, come back to the seller during periods of bad weather or at the end of the month when they are trying to make their numbers. Lastly, always push for a lower interest rate, this will lower your monthly payments, sometimes tremendously. If unsuccessful, consider refinancing the vehicle down the road.

Overall, buying a car, used or not, can feel like a particularly daunting task. By doing adequate research before hand you can save yourself a lot of trouble during the car buying process and even years after you’ve driven off the lot. Remember, don’t settle and to stick to your guns, you’ve got this.