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Friday, February 4, 2011

Tips for buying good used cars

Buying used cars can be quick at the risk of being haphazard, or slow with the chance of making a wise used car purchase decision. The older used cars get, the greater the likelihood something is wrong with it. Some cars statistically do better than others with age, yet owner maintenance and driving is also a factor in how used cars age. Before buying used cars it can be a good idea to take a few steps that help optimize your purchase price and prevent problems later on.

Research the car

Research is essential when purchasing used cars. Without research, you may be rolling the dice when it comes to what you buy. Examples of used car research include consulting consumer reports on vehicles such as at consumerreports.org, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It is also a good idea to compare dealership prices with blue book prices and private prices for used cars of similar or same make and model. Dealerships, online dealerships, private listings, and blue book prices may all have varying prices on similar vehicles.

Design car comparison matrix

A used cars matrix is a worksheet you design with columns and rows. In the rows are listed the cars you're interested in, and in the column are the features such as price, ratings, road safety, year, mileage etc. As you proceed with the research of used cars, the matrix can be filled in so you have something to refer to and fill in as you find information.

Set a price

Knowing how much you're willing to pay for a used car purchase is a way to stop yourself from spending too much. Once you have a price you're willing to part with, then you'll be able to find cars you can afford as opposed to not afford thereby saving time in your search of used cars. Keeping two price limits can also be helpful, one for negotiating price, and one you keep to yourself.

Check for recalls

Used cars that have had recall issues but haven't been adjusted for the recall could have potentially hazardous defects. Used car sellers are not necessarily required to disclose all the faults of the car to you when you buy, so if you want to know the recall information for a particular used card contact the manufacturer for information.

Inspect the used car

When you've narrowed down your search to a few used cars you feel meet your expectations and needs, then you can arrange to see the vehicle. This step is important because it will allow you to inspect the used car, find out more information about it and the buying terms, and negotiate a price if the seller is willing to do so and if you're interested in the used car. Things to look for include cracked belts and hoses, dirty oil, worn tires, peeling paint, rust, low battery charge, weak clutch transition, noises and general functionality. Asking about the history of the vehicle may garner a pre-designed response, but something may be revealed about the car that otherwise may have not been.

Test drive

The test drive of a used car is another step in inspection. Turning everything on including lights, to see if they work can help with identifying potential issues. Also, leaving several things on while starting and driving the used car can serve as an indicator of how the used car performs with lower battery power. Drive the car up a steep hill to test horse power, and listen for strange noises during turns, gear shifts, and braking.

Dealership Vs Private

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying privately versus through a dealership. Buying privately avoids commissions and extra fees, whereas buying through a dealership may give you a warranty, payment plans, and pre-purchase maintenance on the car. For more information on used car warranties, the following Federal Trade Commission (FTC) used car buying guide may be of use. Considering both options, particularly for the same kinds of used cars should help with identifying the better decision. Other places where used cars might be on special is automotive repair shops, towing companies, car auctions and car impounds.

Cash Vs Credit

Paying cash or credit also affects the purchase of used cars because cash payments are harder to dispute than credit payments. However, paying cash can save finance charges and build negotiating strength. If paying cash, a signed receipt from the seller and the transfer of title is important and necessary. With credit, the car will likely be more expensive unless the credit is paid off before the end of a billing cycle.

When looking at used cars for purchase there is no reason to hurry. Rushing is a sales tactic at dealerships and if you don't have time, taking the time to think can do wonders when considering used car purchase options. Cars are fairly large purchases and involve a number of factors including your objectives in addition to the maintenance, cost and quality of the vehicle. By following the tips in this article, you may be better equipped to make a more informed decision when purchasing a used vehicle.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the great tips! This guide will help you save thousands of dollars on a new car. It will also give you a feeling of empowerment, putting you in charge of the deal-making process. its really helpful for many consumers. Thanks a lot and have a very nice weekend!