In this economy it is no secret that it is much smarter to buy a used car than a new car. In fact, with such a huge drop in value of new cars you would be an absolute fool to buy one. Just driving a new car off the lot you can loose ten, twenty, or even thirty percent of the value of the vehicle.
That among other reasons is why buying used vehicles is such a huge trend in the automotive industry. However, just because you save money buying a used car means that it’s all rainbows and happy clouds. Buying a used vehicle has its own set of potential problems.
Smart shoppers do their research first. You don’t have to believe everything the salesman says to you. If you do your homework before you hit the car lot, you have a much better chance of getting a good deal on a great car instead of getting fleeced with a lemon.
Thus, in the interest of improving your chances, here are some tips to help you buy your next used vehicle
1. Test drive! Test drive! Test drive!!!
The best way to ensure that you find the right car is to test drive it. A test drive helps you understand not just the way a car looks from the outside, but how it feels from the inside. Often a test drive will show you things you would never find otherwise.
For example, a friend of mine was buying a car, but when he took it for a test drive it seemed fine until he put it in reverse and realized the car was spitting out black exhaust. Imagine if they didn’t take a test drive.
2. Inspect the Vehicle
Don’t just drive the car, take a look under the hood. Check the fluid. Ask for maintenance records. Look for rust. There are so many ways that you could possibly find defects just by taking a careful look at the vehicle and asking smart questions about its maintenance history. You could even just be cautious and look under the car for an oil leak. You never know.
3. Check the Mileage
Did you know the average driver usually puts twelve or fifteen thousand miles on a vehicle each year? If you know the year of the car, it isn’t too hard to tell if the car has been put through too many miles or not.
4. Have Your Mechanic Check It Out
A mechanical inspection of the vehicle can help you find things that you would never have otherwise found. Are you a mechanic? I’m not, so I wouldn’t be able to find all of the possible problems myself, but a real mechanic would have better luck than me and probably better luck than you.
5. Get a CARFAX Report
In the last few years Carfax reports have become an industry standard tool for understanding the history of used vehicles. It can be invaluable to understand if the vehicle has been in an accident, was ever stolen, or has the proper mileage on it. It’s a minimal cost and most reputable car dealers will provide one free of charge.
So there you have it, five great ways to improve your car buying experience. Do your homework, check out the car, and of course, never pay more than book value for the vehicle.
Brian is a classic Camaro lover. He hopes to one day drive a 1969 Camaro. You can read more at http://www.camaroforsale.org/