Used car buying can be a fun experience. After all, the vehicles tend to cost much less than new cars, and one can find a great deal on any model of car with a little work. However, it is quite easy for an inexperienced buyer to be taken advantage of. Here are three quick tips that can help even a first time car buyer make the right choices.
Do Your Research
Perhaps the most important part of used car buying is knowing what to look for in a vehicle. A good shopper will not only have some idea of what a vehicle should look like cosmetically, but also the realistic life span of the car. For example, a Mercury Cougar with ninety thousand miles will be at the end of its lifespan, while a Dodge truck might have quite a ways to go.
Make sure that you know something about what the common features are on a vehicle, its realistic lifespan, and what common signs of wear and tear are. Coupled with an informed knowledge of the realistic price of the car, this can help a savvy buyer get quite a good deal.
Check Out The History
One major problem that many buyers have with used vehicles is the simple fact that one often does not know what the car has gone through before purchase. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to find out the history of a vehicle before making a down payment. First and foremost, one should ask for some kind of car history report – the most common is from CarFax, but there are several other reports available.
If one cannot find this sort of third party history, one should ask the salesperson directly about the car’s history. If the answer is “it is in perfect condition” or something equally as unrealistic, the salesperson may be hiding a major defect. This is a prime situation in which one should go with their gut instinct over a sales pitch.
Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away
New car buying is generally a very careful game of give and take, but used car buying tends to benefit from dramatic gestures. Used vehicles tend to have quite a bit more markup than a new car, and thus the dealer tends to have a good bit more discretion in setting a price. If the price you have found is significantly higher than the blue book value of the vehicle, it is time to walk away.
In fact, any price that sounds suspiciously high should be discounted immediately. Dealers make their living off of buying low and selling high, and they rightfully try to get the most money possible for any given used vehicle. As a consumer, your job is to find a price that will work for both you and the dealer. If you cannot come to an acceptable compromise, be willing to walk away.