Buying your own vehicle is an investment, but you do not have to pay a fortune for it. You can save thousands of dollars buying a pre-loved or second-hand vehicle.
Whether you are in the market for lifted trucks or you need an electric car, here are some tips that can guide you choose the right used vehicle:
List Down Your Needs
Before you go out and make your way to a car dealership, it is best to sit down and figure out what type of vehicle you need. Do you have a family? If you have a couple of kids, you are going to need more room inside the vehicle. Will you use it for your business? You may want a vehicle that can carry huge and heavy objects.
Once you have an idea, you can check out your options. A salesman usually will be available to discuss your needs and recommend which vehicle might suit your lifestyle.
You can also go online and look for options. Some vehicles may perform similarly but differ in prices because of the manufacturer or the year it was released. For example, the Honda Accord may cause a few thousand dollars more than the Ford Fusion or the Kia Optima. However, all three are pretty good cars.
Set a Budget
How much can you afford? Unless you have cash on hand, you more likely will have to get a loan.
Although not required, it will be better to get pre-approved financing before you start shopping for cars. Some lenders see used-car loans as riskier. You might get a higher interest rate compared to if you are buying a new car. That is because the value of a used car over the years is unpredictable. Moreover, the vehicle will likely require repairs as it ages which might affect your ability to pay off your loan.
You also should aim for a vehicle that is priced slightly lower than the amount you can pay for. Despite what the salesman says, you might have to pay for repairs and replacements which eventually will add up. You will end up paying much more for the vehicle.
Inspect and Test
Once you have figured out what you need and how much your budget will be, go to the dealership. See the options available to you and give it a thorough scan. There are so many things that you should check before you buy a used vehicle. Look at everything — the paint job of the exterior, the condition of the interior, and everything under the bonnet are working as intended.
Just like in a new car dealership, you will be given an opportunity to test-drive the vehicle. Go to quiet roads where you will be able to hear every sound (hopefully, none). Noise usually indicates that a component is broken or damaged. You also should watch out for smells (smoke or a rubbery odor).
Take your time and take notice of everything. Try the breaks a few times. The pedals should feel firm under your foot. On a straight and empty road, ease your grip on the steering wheel. The vehicle should not veer to either side.
Buying a vehicle at a lower cost but with malfunctioning or damaged component will not save you a lot of money over time. A used car is still an expensive purchase. Make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.