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Media post: 9 Things To Avoid When Buying A Used Car

Millions of cars switch owners each year. With so many options and deals to consider, you may want to know how to cut a good one.

If you came across a used car for sale, would you know how to go about getting a good deal?

Well, if you don’t, you’re not alone. Many people have made costly oversights during used car purchases. Here’re some things to avoid when you’re buying a used vehicle:

  1. Jumping into A Deal Before Budgeting

Never make the mistake of concluding a vehicle purchase before you’ve set up funding for buying the car as well as the running costs. Budgeting is essential when you’re buying a car.

Used cars may not be in the best of shapes, and they could come with a couple of other expenses like possible service and replacement of parts like tires. You have to take all the costs involved into account before you decide on which car to buy.

If you don’t have the total amount in cash, you’ll have to consider financing. Assessing your financing options will give you an idea of your price range. With the proper budget, you could make your vehicle options and negotiation much more manageable.

When taking a vehicle loan, always remember that used cars have higher interest rates than new ones. Lenders usually encourage borrowers to purchase new cars. If a borrower defaults on a payment, lenders have found that the value for a new car is better.

  1. Relying Solely on The Dealership

Dealerships are sales personnel; who knows what they could say to strike a deal. When buying a used car, you have to put in the work and do all the necessary checks and assessments so that you’re sure about what you’re getting into.

Always do as much research as possible about the car you’ve decided to purchase. The following are some of the things to research about:

  • Which car makes and models fall into your budget
  • The running costs of the cars
  • Vehicle history, including ownership and service history
  • Where to buy used cars
  • Your financing options
  • Warranty options

  1. Making Rushed Deals and Shop Around

There are many processes involved when buying a used car. At whatever process or stage you are in, take your time and compare different options and different rates. Dealers and individuals have different offers and interest rates. If you grab the first offer you get without making a comparison, you might get a raw deal.

  1. Basing Your Purchase on Looks

All that glitters may not be gold. Many used cars out there are well-polished and shiny, but the performance may be nothing to write home about. In the excitement of the prospect of buying a car, you could easily be blindsided into making a purchase based on how the vehicle looks.

A great car isn’t just about the looks. Depending on what you’re looking for, there’re other things to consider, such as performance, comfort, safety, and running costs. So, before you make an impulse purchase, take a deep breath and think about what it is you love about the car you’ve chosen.

  1. Forgetting to Have A Mechanic Check of the Car

Used cars can never be perfect. Every driver has a unique driving style; therefore, if a car has more than one owner, chances are one or two things may need to be fixed or replaced. If you’re a novice at auto mechanics, you could miss some things that may need attention.

Having your mechanic check out the car you want to buy may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it could save you from adopting a problem. A mechanic will typically know what to look out for, and they could use a diagnostic machine to do a thorough scan before advising you on the car’s condition.

  1. The Mistake of Not Running A Vehicle History Report

Having your car checked by a mechanic and doing a test drive is as essential as remembering to assess the vehicle history report. Most dealerships and platforms have links with sites where you could access various used cars’ vehicle history reports.

A vehicle history report will give you access to the following information about a car:

  • Vehicle make, model, year, engine, and chassis numbers
  • Previous owners
  • Service history
  • Mileage
  • Criminal records
  • Outstanding fees

  1. Forgoing the Test Drive

Always be sure to test drive as many cars as you like, before you settle for the one that hits the mark for you. If you don’t test drive a car, you could risk having what’s known as buyer’s remorse. Some things may appear attractive on paper, but they may fail to meet your expectation.

When you test drive a car, you get to appreciate things like handling, power, and comfort. Other things to look out for when doing a test drive include:

  • Visibility while driving and changing lanes.
  • Steering, handling, acceleration, and turning.
  • The braking system efficiency.
  • The accessibility of all the components and controls.
  • The rev count and vibrations.
  • The dashboard and instrument cluster.
  • Components such as the sound system, air conditioner, and nobs.
  • After the test drive, you could also check the legroom and the trunk capacity.

  1. Negotiating the Price in Person

If you haven’t done proper research about the value and performance of the vehicle you want, you’d better stay away from the negotiating table. Once you enter their premises, dealerships will do their best to make sure you leave with the car you wanted.

You’re better off negotiating over the phone once you’ve done all the other background checks, including the test drive. Negotiating over the phone or email gives you an equal hand during the back and forth with the dealer. You could also easily walk away from a deal if you’re not negotiating in person.

  1. Other Important Things to Remember
  • Avoid signing documents if you haven’t properly read and understood them.
  • Never leave the dealership before the signing of the ownership transfer.
  • Never leave the dealership until you have all the paperwork.
  • Never drive off without car insurance.

Take Away

Buying a used car can be tricky. You’ll either score or cry foul over a thing or two. With so many choices and options to choose from, you have to do due diligence if you want to get the right car for your budget. Decent used cars can be found at places like used-car superstores, new car dealerships, online platforms, and individual sellers.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I’ve noticed that usually the most overlooked thing is a vehicle history report. While it can save lots of money and ensure that you’re driving a safe car, many people still don’t want to spend $15-20 on carVertical or carfax report. I wish more people saw it as a form of investment, not waste of money.

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