How to Find the Right Used Car for You

Making sure the car you buy won’t break down within a few months is one of the most important aspects in choosing a used car. However, there are many other factors to consider as well. To find a quality, used car, follow the guidelines below.

Decide What You Will Use Your Car For

Do you have a long work commute? Fuel efficiency will be a top priority for you if you do. If you don’t need to use the car often and only travel short distances with it, then you can allow yourself to consider options that aren’t the most fuel efficient. Clarify what you plan on using the car for, and list what features are most important for your needs. This will make it easier to narrow down your options and avoid getting distracted by cars that look cool but don’tmeet your needs.

Set Your Budget

Some people make the mistake of setting a budget that’s too high. A reasonable budget to set is 15% of your monthly income or less. When it comes to leasing a car, you don’t want to exceed 10% of your monthly income in your monthly payments. Another important part of your budget to sketch in that many people aren’t aware of is fuel and insurance costs. If you buy a luxury car, you will need a special type of insurance to protect it. Fuel and insurance costs shouldn’t exceed 7% of your monthly take-home pay.

Use a Car Listing Site

In the past, you needed to go to car dealerships to inquire about what used vehicles they have available. You can save money and time by checking listing sites for the vehicle you want. Car listing sites contain records that inform you of a car’s history before you decide to buy. Checking the vehicle history report is important to know whether or not you should cross a particular car off of your list. You don’t want cars with a salvage title because they may have hidden problems. Cars with salvage titles also have lower or no resale value as a result of the label. A salvage title means the vehicle was either totaled, damaged in a fire, damaged in a flood or in a serious accident. Another reason to check the vehicle history report is to protect yourself from odometer scams.

Test Drive

Schedule a test drive of the cars you’re interested in to ensure they’ll be available when you arrive at the dealership. Test drive the cars you’re considering back to back if possible, so the details are fresh in your mind. If you have to wait a day to finish test driving the rest, then write down what your impressions of each vehicle were to accurately compare your options. When test driving a car, you should:

  • Ask yourself how easy it is to enter and exit.
  • Check where the blind spots are.
  • Check that you like the cup holders’ layout.
  • Use the infotainment system.
  • Run the A/C.
  • Test it on the highway and rough roads.
  • Schedule test driving on a bad weather day.
  • Try different ways of parking, including parallel parking.

Negotiate the Price

Find out the dealer retail true market value of the used car you want to buy. This will protect you from paying too much for the car. Keep in mind that paying a little above the dealer retail true market value is still acceptable. When the salesperson asks you about your budget, hold off on answering the question to maintain negotiating power. You can say that you want to discuss financing later and are currently interested in knowing the car’s price. If you are unhappy with the price, begin negotiating. The right way of asking for a lower price is to tell the salesperson that you’ve researched the dealer retail true market value and obtained several quotes from dealerships. Show them the lowest quoted price on a printout and ask for a price better than that to have a deal.

Estimate the Cost of Ownership

Always calculate the estimated cost of ownership of each vehicle you’re considering before making a decision. Some cars are cheaper to buy but more expensive to own. Ownership costs include depreciation, maintenance, fuel and insurance. Always know what maintenance is required and how often for each car you’re considering. Some cars require more maintenance that you may either not want to pay for or you don’t want to spend the time on.

Consider Whether You Want to Lease or Buy

Leasing allows you to drive an expensive model at a lower cost. The downside is you don’t own the car after the lease is over. You’ll be back to searching for a new car. Some people, however, like leasing because they enjoy driving new models. Most repairs are covered under the factory warranty when you lease a car. If having ownership over your vehicle is important to you, then buying is the better choice. You can resell the car later if you buy it. Another key benefit of owning the car is you can make any modifications you want to the vehicle

A lot goes into finding the right used car for you, but once you get used to the process, it becomes a breeze. You should always show up at the dealership prepared. Know what to do when test driving, how much the cars you’re interested in are worth, and what price range you’re willing to pay. Don’t allow the salesperson to pressure you.

Cars are a serious financial investment, but one that’s necessary for most people. If you want a more in depth look at your assets, and a consult about building your wealth then contact us today!

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