Buying a Used Car Checklist
By: Good2GoPublished: March 2, 2015
Buying a used car can be stressful, especially for a first timer. There are a ton of things to consider. What kind of car? Craigslist or a dealership? How do I know I’m getting the best deal possible? We may not be able to answer these questions for you personally, but hopefully these used car buying tips will help you land the car of your dreams!
It’s important to realize that used cars are sold through a variety of sources: independent dealers, franchised dealers, online forums like Craigslist or eBay, and personal sellers. Each outlet offers a slightly different buying experience, but the principles remain similar.
Do Your Research
Take a seat. This might take a while…
The most time consuming, yet important step in purchasing a used car is research. Before you even begin your search you should consider what you can afford to spend. How much money can you put down today? How much can you afford to pay monthly? Don’t forget to consider your auto insurance coverage. Remember the hidden costs too. Taxes, title, registration can all add up, so make sure to consider these expenses. Don’t get discouraged when the realization that a two-seat, red sports car is out of your budget sets in. There are tons of used car options regardless of your price range.
It’s time to think about how you’re going to be using your vehicle. Do you drive long distances or make treacherous daily commutes? In that case, you would probably want to look for a car with good gas mileage and a strong reliability rating. Do you have three kids with more extracurricular activities than you can count? If so, you may need a vehicle with extra storage space and complimentary ear plugs.
Once you’ve determined your budget and your needs, the internet is a great tool for further digging. Be sure not to limit your search, though. You never know what you’re going to find once you begin looking!
Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Looking
Here comes the fun part. Look around! As mentioned earlier, there are numerous outlets that sell used cars. Giving yourself ample time to explore each option will be most beneficial. Compare offers on similar vehicles to get a feel for pricing differences. Look at dealership reviews. Compare warranties. Talk to the salesmen. Do they seem honest, or are they just trying to hit sales numbers? Ask friends and family if they know anyone, or even better if they’re selling. It’s best to narrow down to a handful of outlets you feel comfortable with. Maybe it’s between two used car dealers, or a trusted eBay seller and a large franchised dealership. Either way, there’s a great vehicle out there waiting for you.
This Looks Nice, But Now What?
That 2008 Honda Civic you’re standing next to looks great, but how do you know for sure? Buying a used car can be nerve-wracking, but with these steps we hope to make the process just a bit less painful. Following the procedures below will greatly increase your chances of finding the perfect ride.
- Record notes on everything (dings, dents, cracks, brand of tires, liquids puddling underneath the car, sounds when running the engine, odor, mileage, and a million other things). This information will come in handy when negotiations begin.
- Talk to current and previous owners. Ask for maintenance records and discuss the car’s history. Hopefully they’re honest people. Fingers crossed.
- Take it for a spin. If possible, drive the car in various road conditions.
- Hire a mechanic, or mechanically inclined friend, to take a look under the hood.
- Check Kelley Blue Book or Edmund’s to get an idea of what the car is actually worth.
- Get a car history report from a trusted database like CARFAX.
- Contact the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Vehicle Safety Hotline. They will have any information regarding recalls on that specific make and model vehicle.
Everything checks out. You love the car and it loves you. Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite topic…money.
Where Do I Sign My Life Away?
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, chances are you’re like most of us and buying a used or new car requires cash we likely don’t have hanging around. The easiest way to lower the financial burden is to shop around and negotiate. There are a slew of financing options out there, but at the end of the day it’s important to stay within a price range you’re comfortable with. Revisit your budget to ensure that the down payment, monthly payment, and auto insurance coverage meet your financial needs. If you have any hesitation it’s best to walk away. With the number of sellers and the variety of used cars out there there’s no reason to overpay.
Getting the Insurance You Need
Now that you’ve bought a used car it’s time to insure your ride! Good2Go Auto Insurance has been helping drivers get the car insurance they need for over 25 years. We specialize is minimum coverage car insurance for high risk drivers, including folks who may have a DUI on their record. We also offer collision and comprehensive coverage. Unlike other auto insurers we don’t need your whole life story in order to provide you the basic coverage you want. Our quote process is simple and fast. We offer low down payments and easy monthly payment plans because we believe car insurance shouldn’t be complicated.
Find out how you can protect yourself and save with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a free car insurance quote today.