Purchasing a used car can be a tricky experience. There are a lot of things you should keep in mind, from make and model to desired features. Naturally, a lot more goes into the purchase of a car than simply showing up to the lot and saying “I’ll take it.” Doing your research and coming prepared to make it all the easier to have a smooth transaction and secure your new vehicle. Here are some important things you should know before you invest in a used car.
Get a Detailed History
Knowing a vehicle’s history is the key to making an informed decision when it comes time to buy. No matter what car you’re looking at, request its VIN number so you can use a car history service (if the dealer doesn’t provide one themselves). This will let you know if the car has been involved in any collisions, if the vehicle has had recent repairs, or if there are any concerns that aren’t apparent on a test drive.
There are some easy tells to getting a general idea of a car’s history. For instance, if the car has recently been re-carpeted, the previous carpets likely suffered extensive water damage, possibly from flooding. Having a mechanic inspect the undercarriage on a lift will readily show if any key components have been replaced as well.
Consider Buying Online
While nothing will truly beat the experience of scoping out a used car lot, there are a surprising amount of advantages to checking out some online dealerships. Chances are, you’re going to find a much wider selection, better pricing, and even some potential shipping options.
For the luxury car aficionados, there are also online auctions for pre-owned vehicles. For example, if you’re looking for a used Lexus for sale, you may want to investigate what’s available online before checking out a brick and mortar dealership. Auctions are also a great way to find some amazing deals but you have to be really vigilant and strike quickly when you spot something that you like. Try to visit and test drive the used cars in san diego at once to choose the best one for your money.
If you do end up purchasing a vehicle from the internet, selecting the right shipping method is going to be incredibly important. Opt for a service that provides an enclosed auto transport, especially if you’re going with a luxury brand. This will help protect your new vehicle from the elements and keep it in pristine condition while in transit.
Be Ready to Negotiate
One of the best parts of buying used versus new is that used dealers tend to be a lot more negotiable on pricing. You should do some research prior to discussing a hard price. Come prepared with Kelley Blue Book values and note that if anything wasn’t quite up to par in your initial inspection of the vehicle, this can work in your favor as well.
Don’t be overly aggressive, however. This can shut down any hopes of negotiation from the get-go. Be firm, know what the car is truly worth, and state your points with confidence. This will make it easier for you to get down to the dollar amount you’d prefer. Even if a negotiation doesn’t quite go the way you think it will, it never hurts to try. The worst you’ll ever hear is typically “no.”
Patience is Key
Even though you may be prepared and ready to buy, never force yourself into a purchase if it doesn’t feel like the right move. It may take you awhile to find your dream car. You may need to browse the online auctions more than once before you find that vintage Mustang you’ve been fantasizing about. Don’t settle when it comes to your car and you’ll be much happier when you do make a purchase.