Buying a used car can be a great way to get more for your money. Just make sure that you’re doing it safely and smartly, so that you’re not buying a lemon or getting ripped off by the dealer.
Research your purchase.
Before you make your purchase, research the make and model of car you want. Researching the vehicle will give you an idea of how much it costs and what problems it may have.
Next, research the dealer. Find out if there are any complaints about them online or in local newspapers. You should also ask friends who have purchased cars from them before if they were satisfied with their experience at this dealership.
Next up: research where your new ride is located so that if there are any issues with it later on down the line (like rust), then these can be caught early on before they become more expensive to fix later on down the line! Lastly–and perhaps most importantly–find out whether or not there are any reported problems related specifically with this particular model/year combination over others within its category; this way when asking questions regarding cost versus value after purchasing one’s first used vehicle (or second…or third) one knows exactly why certain models might cost more than others while still remaining within budget constraints.”
Know what you want and need.
Before you even start looking at cars, it’s important to know what you want and need. Do you want a hatchback? A truck? A hybrid? Knowing what features are important to you will help narrow down the options and make it easier for dealerships to show cars that fit within your budget and preferences.
Know Your Budget: This is probably one of the most important things when buying a used car because if there’s one thing we learned from “The Secret,” it’s that our thoughts create reality (and also that Law Of Attraction only applies when thinking about money). If I’m going into this process with my mind set on spending $10K or less on a vehicle then chances are good I’ll find one! But if I’m thinking about spending $20K or more then chances are better than average that I’ll end up having an unpleasant experience at some point during negotiations because no one likes getting beat up by their own expectations.
Make sure you have the cash available.
- Have enough cash to buy the car.
- Have some extra cash for taxes and fees.
- Ask about financing options, but don’t rely on them. If you are financing, have your credit score ready–and if it’s not great (or non-existent) consider paying cash instead of dealing with bad terms from a lender who doesn’t know how dedicated you are to making payments on time every month!
Get a pre-purchase inspection.
Before you buy a used car, it’s important to have it inspected by a professional. A pre-purchase inspection will help you determine whether or not the vehicle is safe and reliable.
In addition to checking for obvious signs of damage or mechanical problems, your mechanic should also look for hidden issues that could cost you money down the road. For example, if there are rust spots on an older vehicle’s frame (which can indicate a lack of regular maintenance), then those spots should be repaired before purchasing it–or else they might become worse over time as water seeps into them and causes more serious damage than initially thought possible!
Have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic.
You should take the car to a mechanic you trust, who will be able to tell you if anything is wrong with it. If he/she finds any problems, ask them for a list of things that need fixing before you buy. Make sure they give their name and contact info so that you can get in touch with them later on if necessary.
Also, make sure they include their report with your other documents when going into the dealership
Get a Carfax Report.
Carfax is a company that provides vehicle history reports. These reports are available online and through dealerships, and they’re the only way to know if a vehicle has been in an accident or stolen. If you buy from a private seller, ask them for their Carfax report before making any purchases so that you can see if there are any red flags on it.
Ask for the dealer’s maintenance records.
- Ask for all maintenance records.
- Ask for receipts, work orders, and a copy of the warranty.
- Ask for a copy of the car’s service history. This is especially important if you’re buying from an independent seller instead of a dealer.
Beware of odometer fraud and tampering with mileage readings.
If a car has been driven for more than one hundred thousand miles, it’s possible that the odometer reading is not accurate. The car’s actual mileage may be different than what is shown on the odometer, which can be a sign of tampering with mileage readings.
- In some cases, this type of fraud occurs when owners change out their engines or transmissions in order to make their vehicles appear like they have lower mileage than they actually do.
- Other times it will happen when someone resets their odometers using a device that plugs into an OBD2 port under your dash (similar to how you would reset your oil change indicator).
Used car shopping is like any other shopping trip, with a few extra steps to protect yourself
You’ve decided to buy a used car. Congratulations! Now all you have to do is find the right one, right? Well, no–but there are some things you can do to make sure your purchase is as safe and secure as possible.
First things first: be prepared. Before heading out on your shopping trip, make sure that all of your documents are in order and ready for inspection by the dealer or seller. That means having proof of insurance (or at least proof of having applied for insurance), along with enough money saved up in case something goes wrong during negotiations or financing agreements later on down the road (more on this later).
You should now have a better idea of how to safely buy a used car. You can do it by doing your research and asking questions, getting inspections done by professionals and checking their reports, and making sure that the odometer has not been tampered with. If you do all this work before buying then there is no reason why your next vehicle won’t last as long as its previous owner did!