Buying A Used Car: A Complete Online Shopper’s Checklist
Buying a used car is not easy; the process is tricky, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To trust someone selling the car is a major concern, especially if you’re purchasing it privately. When you want to view the used vehicle, you need to ensure you’ve checked it thoroughly. Here are some tips to ensure the car you intend to buy doesn’t have any problem. But before you drive home a used car, there are a few things to do first:
Do background research for the current rate
Before you view the car, you need to do some research to know the current selling and value rate of that specific car. You want to pay the best price you can obtain for the used car you’ve chosen. Just remember that when you buy from a motor trader, you have more rights than buying the vehicle privately. It is therefore essential that you try to follow the tips outlined below.
Check the mileage
If the vehicle you choose is under three years old, you need to check the mileage, maybe around 25,000 to 30,000 miles, for a great bargain. If there is more mileage, then you’ll know that the car may be driven hard and long, which can have an adverse effect on the engine.
Check the bodywork for blemishes or damage
If you’re considering a used car, you need to check its body for possible blemishes or damage. The best time to find the defects is during the daytime. Look for signs of rust as this indicates corrosion. Rust will likely occur for a car aged 5 years and older especially if it has not been garaged or had undercover parking. If rust is spotted, it can weaken the metal and will need welding repairs to correct the defect. Also, check for signs of any crash repairs as this will show through ripples on the paintwork.
Test drive the vehicle
Never buy a car without test driving it yourself. Ensure you can drive it before you take it out. If possible, take it on a motorway with twisting roads and ensure you check the reverse. It should provide a good feel on how you drive the car through your touch on the steering wheel and gearshift. You can also feel and hear how the gears work, or if the car pulls to one side, and for a manual car if the clutch is stiff or slips out of gear under load.
The wear and tear of the used car
The mileage of the car corresponds to the depreciation of the vehicle. You must also do a quick check on the condition of the engine. If the engine is dirty, then you can say that the vehicle hasn’t been cared for properly. Look for oil leakages or evidence of neglect that indicates the car has not been serviced properly.
So, if you have second thoughts of buying a used car from a private seller, try reputable and reliable garages that offer used cars. They are usually approved by the car’s manufacturer, so you know it’s trustworthy. With their guarantee, you’ll know that the used cars have been built to the highest standards and are well maintained.
How To Buy A Used Car: Negotiating with the Buyer
Now you have allocated a budget and have done thorough research for the used car you intend to buy. The next move is to negotiate with a dealer and make the purchase. You can haggle for the price lower than what is initially priced. Now, this doesn’t need to be an unpleasant experience or result in an argument. But it is recommended that you need to bargain so you can get the best deal for yourself.
If this is your first time buying a used car, you need some tips, so you know how to discuss the price of the car with a dealer. Below are steps on how you can negotiate with car dealers or private sellers:
Do your research
Know what you want so you get the right deal for yourself. Even long before you meet the car seller; you must know what car model and specification you want; including the price in the used car market. If you demonstrate your knowledge of cars, the seller will realize that you actually know much more, and may think hard before asking for a higher price than what the car is really worth.
To know the real price of the car that is currently selling, you can check the Internet and see the different prices offered for used cars. You can search through websites and forums that give you information about the various car models and makes. The online sites can also offer helpful tips to buy a used car, how it can be checked, and how other buyers have negotiated successfully with dealers. Some car dealers also own websites where they can list the used cars for sale. You can visit these sites to get price ranges and what’s available, or how much a specific model or make is priced.
Also ask people you know, like a family member or friend, who knows about cars. You can follow their advice, so you can find leads on where to buy used or second-hand cars. Just do your research on anything you like to buy, and you’ll certainly make a wise decision when buying it.
Talk to some used car dealers
In the used car market, there are so many car dealers offering to sell their used cars. You can explore the market and talk with some dealers, who can give you their best price. Once you’ve talked to these sellers, you can compare their offers and then pick one that fits your budget. Also, if the car dealer knows you’ve asked from other providers, they are willing to consider your price, as they don’t want to lose a valued customer interested in this vehicle.
Let a mechanic inspect the vehicle
Just like choosing a house, you need to do the same thing when buying a used car. To ensure that the used vehicle has everything it needs to run safely and smoothly, you can hire a mechanic to do a thorough inspection. Here you’ll find inspectors that can offer mobile onsite support which is helpful in haggling or negotiating.
A mechanic will also give you details on what is needed to be fixed and how much the used car will cost. To be more accurate with the pricing, you need to find a mechanic whom you can trust or is recommended by close friends. Depending on how many repairs you need for the car, the dealer can provide discounts for the work required. It really doesn’t hurt if you ask for a reduction in price due to repairs required.
If the vehicle doesn’t pass the standards after inspection, then you need to find the next used car with a better listing. Do not buy the car if it doesn’t pass the standards.
Set a price
Once you’ve done your research and have the used car inspected by a mechanic, you need to work with a budget that best fits your needs and the seller. Determine how much you are willing to pay for the car and have a price in mind when negotiating with them. You can start the negotiation for a low but reasonable price. Then, you can bargain your way to the amount that is both agreeable to you and the dealer. Once you finally agree on the price, put it in writing. Should there be problems encountered regarding the deal, you have a contract as proof of the negotiations.
If you need financing, you can always approach a bank or credit union to offer you a better term, such as a low interest rate. Ensure you understand your financing options before speaking with the seller.
Don’t show your eagerness when buying a used car
When you’re meeting a used car seller, never show your eagerness that you’re ready to purchase the car. If you do, they may increase the price as they are aware you have the money and can’t wait to buy it. If you’re meeting up with a dealer, just be calm and keep cool. Don’t provide them with hints that you are ready to purchase the car. You can have them discuss the specifications and talk about possible cars you can invest in. This will show the car sellers that you are only inquiring about a specific model and therefore they won’t increase the price.
How to Save on Insurance Premiums When Buying Used Cars
Now that you have negotiated and purchased the used vehicle of your choice, the next step is to find an insurance company where you can save on premiums. Note that car insurance is important to keep you protected anywhere as you drive down the streets, and it’s also mandated by the government that car owners must have an insurance policy. However, you need to choose an insurance company that gives you the best insurance premiums. So, if you want to get the best rates on premiums you can afford, just follow these steps for ideas:
Shop for insurers
So you can get the best premiums for your used car, you need to search for reputable insurers that offer the best deals. However, you can’t just choose those that offer the cheapest, as they may not cover what you need for your used car. How to find insurance companies with the right deals is to ask for quotes and what they usually cover. Just verify if they can possibly include the coverage that you need. Also, check if they are reputable and reliable. This will provide convenience if you need to renew the coverage or decide you may want a new provider.
If you have experienced tickets or accidents
This is the possible reason why you’re paying more on your premiums. You are considered a high-risk driver. Even if you haven’t received tickets, it can still be a factor for some insurance companies. If you have been involved in an accident previously, check with insurance if it was your fault or not. If it wasn’t your fault, insurance will not count it against you. If it was, then they will increase your costs/premiums by a certain percentage to cover your past accident history.
Know your location
It’s a great factor that can affect the price of your premium. Insurers consider the statistics on areas where claims are considered high-risk. Claims can include accidents, vandalism, and thefts. If you live in a metropolitan area, premiums can be higher than those living in suburbs and surrounding areas. For a more affordable rate on premiums, you could move to lower-risk areas or suburbs.
Type of vehicle driven
Depending on the type of car you own, insurance premiums can either cost high or low. If you own a sports car, this can have a higher premium than a family sedan. Imported cars have higher premiums due to the cost of parts and labor during repairs. If you own an expensive car you will need to pay more premiums, as when it’s lost, insurance will pay the entire amount of the coverage. There are also models that are cheaper to repair during the collision but may involve a higher risk for bodily injury. So, before you buy your next car, ensure you have done your research and gathered information about the vehicle.
Your age can be a determining factor
A driver aged below 25 will pay more on premiums as statistically, they are prone to accidents and tickets. However, if they are good in their academic records or have completed a driver training program, insurers can provide discounts to reward them. Also, drivers aged 50 and above are eligible for discounts. But premiums can go higher when they reach 75 years or older.
The mileage of the vehicle
If your vehicle has higher mileage, then it has more potential exposure for accidents. You can battle the issue by using commuting, biking, or merely walking a short distance. If you have an average mileage, you can save on premiums. The wear and tear of your vehicle are minimized, as you spend less on fuel and help create a better environment.
Required safety features in place
It is important especially when you’re planning to get covered by insurance. Ensure your used car has airbags, daytime running lights, anti-lock brakes, and an active resistant system. For added features, you can have an anti-theft device and GPS tracking, where most insurance companies will give better discounts. This is the best way to get lower premiums as insurance knows you are well protected inside your car.
If you have more than property to insure aside from your car, insurance can provide you with discounts and lower premiums. You can include home and life insurance policies. It’s actually a better option to have one insurer handle all your policies for easier claims.
Pay an annual payment
If you have to pay monthly on premiums, it will cost more than having to pay in full annually. It may be difficult to make a full payment as it entails a bigger amount; however, you save more than what you expect. Paying in full will make you focus less on premiums and handle other expenses your household needs to budget for.
How to Take Care of Your Used Car to Last
With the used car you have purchased, you will like to drive it anywhere you want to go with comfort and convenience. To make it last longer, you’ll need to take good care of it. You need to make it reliable, worthy for driving, and intact for a resale value. So, below are tips on how you can care for your car:
Just like you and your house, your used car needs to be frequently washed and cleaned for good maintenance. It may have bird droppings or snow that can ruin the car finishing, and therefore, you need to clean it regularly. You don’t need to do it every day. You can have your car washed weekly or let a car wash do the job.
Your car needs a regular oil change to make the engine last longer. You can have it changed in every three months or six months if you own a brand-new car depending on your mileage. Ask your mechanic what they advise for the timing of the oil change.
Replace the spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter, and emission control filters regularly as advised by your mechanic or someone who is knowledgeable. If a mechanic replaces the spark plugs, he has to check the ignition wires, rotor, and cap if the car has them in the ignition system. Some cars do not use rotor caps.
You may wax your car at least twice a year to make it look good and shine which also maintains your paintwork in good condition.
Check under the hood
If you do not know what to check, ask your mechanic or a knowledgeable friend to show you what to look for. For example, does your radiator need to have water added, is your engine oil at the correct level, does your battery water need a top-up. If you do these small steps, you ensure your car has no problems and that you’re not going to have costly repairs jump up on you.
Balance and alignment
Tires do wear and may become out of balance. Regular rotation of tires by your mechanic ensures the best life for your tires and longer life. You need to protect your wheels to maintain the maximum life of your tire. You also ensure your car will drive on a straight level on the road reducing road wear.
This process is done in areas that experience snow. The cold weather can cause corrosion in the cooling system and to prevent it, you need to flush the cooling system regularly and replace the anti-freeze as advised by your mechanic or a knowledgeable friend.
A vehicle owner’s manual can tell you the best mileage when the timing belt needs to be changed. If it has worn prior to the recommended mileage, then the car will be hard to start and will have a definite engine sound that identifies the need to check the timing.
The car has different filters that you need to change regularly. You can start with the air filter to ensure air keeps going into the engine. The fuel filter also needs to be changed, which is found near the gas tank or engine compartment. Cabin filters are found in few older car versions and are located under the dash. It will clean the air that goes inside the passenger compartment. Your mechanic or a knowledgeable friend can assist you with the change process.
There you go! This article just showed you what you need to do when looking for a used car to buy, how to negotiate for the right price, how to secure the best premium for your insurance coverage, which is a must, and how to maintain your used car, so it lasts many years.
All of these will save you money and will assist you in retaining the good condition of your used car, especially if you want to resell it in the future.