Tips on Buying a Used Car
The most important thing you should remember when you go in search of purchasing a used or even a new car is that the person selling the car wants to sell the car. They may not come right out and lie to you about the car in question; however, they may not mention any problems if you do not ask and yes some may even lie to rid themselves of a lemon.
The number one thing you should do before searching for a used car is to know what type of car you would like or at least have some models and types in mind. You can search online or talk with car dealerships to learn what the price might be for the make and model of the car you are seeking. You can even look up the car in the NADA to learn what the car is worth by year, make, and model. This is a good estimate on what you would get if you traded that car in to a dealer. Okay, now you know how much money you need for the different cars you have in mind.
Now, where do you go to find out about reliability and other factors for this car? You can search online for reviews at car forums, with consumer reports, or chat with others that have the car now or owned one at sometime. Ask pertinent questions such as what parts were replaced, gas mileage, and even questions regarding comfort.
It is always in your best interest to take any used car to your own mechanic prior to purchasing instead of going on your love for the car. Just because you have always dreamed of owning a 1962 corvette and the one you found looks awesome, does not mean that it is mechanically sound.
Pop open the hood, look for worn hoses, wet spots on the engine, and look for corrosion around the battery posts. You may not be able to tell much this way but you will at least get an idea if you may have to change hoses, battery cables, or if there could be a leak somewhere such as coolant or oil. When you take the car on a test drive, listen for any unusual knocking, hissing sounds or other noises that you are not familiar with, and then when you talk with your mechanic he may know what these sounds might be. Check that the lights work properly low and high beams, brake lights, turn signals, horn, air-conditioning and heating system. You may not be thinking about staying warm if the temperature outside is 95 degrees, but you will really enjoy a warm car when the north wind starts blowing.
Many times if you are purchasing a used car from an individual you will not have any type of warranty, however, if you purchase through a dealer you should get some type of warranty. Many times, this warranty will be for a certain amount of months or miles put on the car. In most cases, the warranty will state exactly what items are under warranty such as the engine or transmission, for a certain amount of months and the dealership will cover all parts and labor. If the warranty only covers the transmission, then it does not cover replacement of a water pump, fuel pump, or other parts to do with the engine and the same applies for any limited warranty.
Also with a dealership instead of an individual, you may be able to apply for a payment plan if you would rather pay monthly payments until the car is paid for. Many times, you will need a down payment or good credit in order to receive a loan. You should however, be careful when applying for a loan of any kind. Be sure that you are getting the best deal around. You may be able to apply for a personal loan at your bank and receive better interest rates than you would at a car dealership.
Another thing to remember is to shop around. If you found one car you like, you will more than likely find another that is the same or better and you may be able to find it for less money or in better condition.
When you are ready to purchase, read the total agreement. Do not just glance over the large print. Be sure that you understand everything in the agreement and if you do not - ask. It would be best to learn upfront if your warranty will end before you have the car paid off.