There’s nothing quite like buying a car. The stress of making the right decision, the excitement of having a new set of wheels … few purchases have such an impact on your day-to-day life. If you’re like most people, when you’re looking for a fresh car, you’re looking for something used to get the most for your budget. December is the best time of year to buy a used car, partially because plenty of others are buying new and selling their old rides. Take advantage of these used car buying tips and you'll have the perfect new set of wheels! Here are 5 tips to help you make the right call when you’re out looking:
5 Tips for Buying a Used Car
Consider a Certified Used Car
If it’s in your budget and you’re looking for a later model, a Certified Used Car from a dealer can offer you the factory extended warranty for no additional cost and the cars are often the nicest-of-the-nice in terms of condition. Dealers watch auctions for low mileage, late model cars and inspect (and, where needed, recondition) all their purchases before declaring them certified. You can often get a year or two old version of the car you want, fully loaded, for somewhere around the base price.
Vehicle History Report
If you’re buying from a dealer, odds are the vehicle history report will already be available. If you’re buying from a private party, it might be worth the money to get one on your own from an agency like Carfax. The history report will include any reported accidents the car has been in, how many owners it’s had, what cities it’s been registered in, and any dealer-reported maintenance. If the car you’re buying doesn’t come with maintenance records, the history report can give you an idea of how well maintained it has been.
Perform your own inspection
Most sellers - dealers included - shouldn’t object to a request for a private inspection by your own mechanic. If you’re looking at a used car from a dealer, you can also ask them to put the car up on a lift in a service bay so you can visually inspect the undercarriage. Watch for rust, dents, and scrapes. Any damage can give you important clues about the vehicle's past. Make sure you look at wear items as well, such as tires and brakes. If they need to be replaced, you want to be aware of that before you make an offer on the car.
Prioritize low mileage over premium features
For some buyers, this may seem like common sense and for others it isn’t, but if you’re looking at two similar examples of the same car, you should usually go with the one with lower miles. You can always upgrade the stereo, get high-quality seat covers, or buy nicer wheels, but you can’t take miles off a car.
Know the marketplace
Before you even leave the house to look at a car, make sure you’ve done your research. Compare reviews on Edmunds or a similar site. Check out real-world fuel economy numbers on Fuelly. Be aware of the Black Book dealer trade in estimates on the car as well as the Blue Book values. If you want to know the problems that plague a specific car, model-specific internet forums will usually have an entire section full of owner issues and concerns. And lastly, try and look at--and test drive--multiple examples of the car you are looking for; you want the one you buy to be the best out there! There are millions of used cars out there, each with its own history. With these tips, you’re ready to get the best deal on the best used car available! Contact Convoy Auto Repair to learn how we can help! Image: Pixabay