5 Steps You Need To Know When Buying A Used Car

Buying a durable used car is seldom a simple and straightforward process. Each used car has a unique history, which you must investigate carefully to ensure that you get high value on every dollar you spend. You also need to select a car that will not become a financial burden when you need to make your monthly car loan payment. Whether you buy your car from a private owner or a used car dealer, you will be able to strike a good deal if you take the following steps.

1. Choose a Car You Can Afford

The first step is to list out a number of cars or vehicle brands that fit your budget. Remember that the amount you should budget for your car goes beyond the initial purchase price. You need to factor in the cost of insurance, maintenance and fuel. The sum of these costs will be the amount you will need to keep your car on the road every month. Get a fairly accurate estimate of these costs before buying your car. Whether you are taking a loan or you are financing your car purchase with cash, you need to ask yourself: “how much of my monthly income am I ready to spend on my car payment?”. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 20 percent of your net monthly income on your car.

2. Check the Vehicle History

Before you pay for any used car, be sure to run a detailed check on its history. It will prevent you from buying a lemon, or a car that has been involved in a major accident and refurbished. You need to be aware that many professional auto body workshops can repair and rebuild a wrecked vehicle, make it look attractive, and take it to a dealer to be sold. That is why you must locate the vehicle identification number (VIN) and do a comprehensive check on the history of the car via a reliable history report provider. You also need to make other enquiries about the vehicle’s previous owners, the number of times it was involved in accident, the number of miles covered, and the present cost of putting gas in the car.

3. Safety and Guarantee

Get a safety certificate for the car. Some states in Australia require this whether you are buying it from a private owner or a dealership. This helps to protect used car buyers from spending their hard earned money on a lemon. Similarly, dealerships in some states are mandated to provide a guarantee on the title. It enables you to know that there is no money owed on the vehicle so you can purchase the car without fear. Most dealers also provide a 3-month warranty on cars that are not up to 10 years old. Some states even allow you to change your mind within three days after you have made payment for the car.

4. Fuel Consumption and Emission

The Fuel Consumption Guide and the Green Vehicle Guide are Australian Government initiatives that help both buyers of new and used cars. Their websites provide efficient online calculators for many types of cars including four-wheel drives, sedans, and commercial vehicles, which are not heavier than 2.7 tonnes. The guides provide a reliable method to compare the full consumption and emissions from various brands of cars. However, depending on the age and condition of the vehicle and the driving conditions, the results you get may be slightly different.

5. Physical Inspection

If you do not have the technical knowledge about how a car functions, you need to hire a competent mechanic to inspect your car for you. Make sure that you inspect the car in daylight. This will enable you to carefully observe all defects, dents or marks on the car. You will also be able to match the date of manufacture, number plates, and vehicle identification number on the car with those on the registration papers. If any of these items do not tally, it means that the engine was replaced without informing the relevant registration authorities, or the vehicle has been stolen. Ensure that your mechanic does a detailed examination of the engine, interior, and all external parts of the car before performing a test drive.

Those are some of the most vital steps to take when you are buying a used car. Pay close attention to all the details highlighted here so you can easily prevent scams, buy a car in good condition, and enjoy the full benefits of owning a car.