Did you know that nearly 40 million used vehicles change hands every year, between dealerships and private-party sales? You’re far from alone if you’re looking to buy a used car.
Finding the best used car for you might be a challenge, considering the wide range of options available. These steps could help make finding and buying the ideal used car a breeze:
Calculate how Much You Can Afford to Spend
A rule of thumb: Your car payment should not be more than 20% of your take-home pay if you decide to take out a loan to pay for your car.
From time to time, used cars will need a little extra attention – maintenance, new tires, and the like. Sometimes, shoppers forget to account for other ownership costs like insurance and fuel. To cover any unexpected repairs, it might be a good idea to set aside a “just-in-case” fund (especially if you’re planning to buy a car that is out of warranty).
Make a List of Used Vehicles
It’s no secret that the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord make for great used cars. However, they might cost a few thousand more than a comparable Kia Optima or Ford Fusion. Consider more than one brand if you’re looking to save money. Make a list of three cars that fall within your budget and meet your needs.
If you choose to buy a car that is less than 5 years old, it is better to consider one that is CPO (certified pre-owned). CPO vehicles have long-term warranties that are backed by the dealership selling it to you and the carmaker. Franchised dealerships sell not just new cars, but also CPO cars of the same brand.
Get the Car Inspected
Before you buy a used car, consider having a mechanic inspect it. A pre-purchase inspection can alert you of problems that you might not be able to identify yourself.
A private-party seller will allow you to get the car inspected without much resistance. Some dealerships will let you borrow the car to get it inspected by an outside mechanic (you’ll be paying for this, of course).
If you’re buying a CPO car, the car has a warranty and there’s already been an inspection- so you might not need to take this to a mechanic.
While Choosing the Right Used Car for You, You Might Also Want To:
- Locate a used car dealer near you
- Check the vehicle history report
- Contact the seller
- Take the vehicle for a test-drive
- Negotiate a good deal
- Ensure that the paperwork is done