Buying a vehicle is one of the biggest purchases that a person can make, and for most of us, it's the biggest purchase we will ever make. Because of the hefty price tag and how much we depend on our vehicles in our day-to-day lives, it is best to do as much research as possible before buying. While not every used car is a gamble, thorough research will help you avoid buying a "lemon."
Consider Your Options - What may be your "dream car", might not be a practical choice. Be sure to consider all of your options such as fuel efficiency, annual cost of ownership, and vehicle reliability. Additionally, remember your own personal preferences and keep in mind how long down the line you plan to keep the car. For example, it would be wise to not go with a H2 Hummer if your near-term career goal is to move to a populated city; or you might want to consider skipping the 2-door BMW convertible if you're planning on expanding your family.
5 Tips to Know When Buying a Used Car
Location, Location, Location - If you find a used car that you are interested in at a local dealership, do a little research instead of buying on the spot. Chances are very good that there is a similar car in your area that might have a better price and by using technology, a simple internet search could end up saving you thousands of dollars.
Don't Test Drive the Car, DRIVE it - Too often when we are behind the wheel we do not own, we don't stay true to our own driving habits. While we are not saying you should throw all caution to the wind and start a real-life version of Grand Theft Auto or Need for Speed, we are saying to remember how you accelerate, brake, steer, and drive as a whole. Don't hold back out of fear or caution, because the car might not be what you were expecting when you take it on the open road.
Check the Records - Oftentimes dealers will have service records, owner reports, and more for the vehicle. This will ensure you know everything that happened to the vehicle in its past life and give you a better idea of how well it has been taken care of. If your dealer/seller is missing these records, you can get them online with services like Carfax or VinCheck. NEVER skip this step.
Consider an Extended Auto Warranty - While all new cars come with a manufacturer's warranty, used cars come with little or no coverage whatsoever. You've already paid a great deal for the car itself, so why should you pay more than you have to for auto repairs? An extended car warranty can extend the life of any vehicle and remember there is only ONE best company so compare for yourself before you buy. And while you may be looking to upgrade or trade in your older vehicle, you might be able to save thousands by merely putting an auto warranty on your existing car. And who wouldn't want to save thousands of dollars these days?
Be sure to check out AutoPedia's extensive Used Car Buyer's Guide - a ten-page comprehensive guide that takes you through every aspect of buying a used car.