Buying used cars can be a great way to save money, but the process can be more of a hassle when compared to buying a new one. If you are looking to buy a used car and want to make sure everything goes well, here are some tips that can help make that happen.
1. Sort out your finances
Most people know they should figure out a budget to avoid overspending on a car. And you should indeed do that — the first thing to do when considering a car purchase is always to figure out how much you are willing to spend. But it’s also a good idea to take note of how high you can go if the deal is good enough.
After all, a good car can serve you for years, and you don’t want to regret having gotten an inferior model when there was a better deal available for just a few hundred dollars above your budget.
In other words, while it is dangerous to overspend, being so zealous that you underspend is also a risk you should be careful about.
2. Get pre-approved for a loan
If you need a loan, it’s usually a better idea to get it pre-approved ahead of time. That allows you to shop for loan providers and good rates on your own time, and to take a look at your credit score, which you may be able to improve before getting a loan.
Most of that freedom is lost when you try to get a loan through the used car dealership on the day of the purchase. On top of that, dealerships aren’t obligated to give you the best rates your credit score allows. This means you may end up paying more interest rates if you get the loan through the dealership.
3. Inspect the car
There are plenty of used car inspection checklists online, and you should probably read some of them, or even bring one with you on the day of the purchase. Big name used car dealerships will usually inspect and repair cars before reselling them, but used car lots and private citizens aren’t guaranteed to do so.
And a simple inspection could be the difference between ending up with a great car and needing a Chevy lemon law attorney mere weeks after making the purchase.
And yes, if you’re wondering, lemon laws do apply to used cars in some states, as can be seen on the Johnson & Buxton website.
4. Take a test drive
Visual inspections only reveal so much. Make sure you take the car on an extensive test drive to make sure everything checks out. Keep an eye out for weird vibrations, sounds, smells, or anything else that seems out of the ordinary.
You may think an issue seems minor, but most people won’t sell problematic cars when they have clear signs of problems. Instead, they try to sell problematic cars when they hope they are subtle enough to avoid inspection.
5. Sort out the sale paperwork
If you buy from a private citizen, make sure you look up what paperwork needs to be filled to officialize the sale. Having to track down the previous owner six months from now because you both forgot to sign something can be quite the hassle.