If this is your first time shopping for a car, or even just your first time shopping for a used car, it's important that you understand the nuances of used car buying. Here are three things you should keep in mind to help you get the used car that's best for your needs.
Don't Lock Yourself Into an Auction
While used car auctions can be a convenient way to land a used car quickly, they aren't always the best deal in town. Although some of the cars may sell for less than you'd pay through a used car dealer or private sale, you're taking some significant risks. You can't examine, test drive or ask questions about the history of the car. You can look at the car visually, but that won't necessarily clue you in to mechanical or structural problems. To ensure that you get what you pay for, you may want to shop in person at a dealer or through a private sale. That way, you can inspect and test drive the car yourself while getting as much information as possible about its history.
Clarify the Warranty Availability
Most brand new cars automatically come with a warranty, but that isn't the same for used cars. If you've only ever bought new cars, you may not even consider this. It's important to ask about the warranty status of any used car you buy so that you know what you're getting. Sometimes, the manufacturer's warranty can be transferred to the new buyer if the car is sold before the warranty expires. If the car doesn't come with a warranty, it will be sold on an as-is basis. That means that you're assuming all risk for any problems when you drive it away.
Have a Mechanic Handy
When you're looking at used cars, there are two key things you should do to understand the accident and mechanical history of the car. First, ask the seller for a VIN history. These reports will detail any insurance claim history and major repairs that the car may have had as well as any other title changes. In addition to reviewing this report, you should also call a mechanic that you trust to give the car a thorough inspection. Many used car dealers will even allow you to take the car to your mechanic for inspection in the first few days after you buy with an agreement that you can return the car if there's anything structurally or mechanically wrong that wasn't disclosed. Your mechanic can put the car up on a lift and inspect it completely, telling you if there's anything you'll need to be attentive to.
Used cars are a great value, and can often net you a reliable car for years to come. With these tips, you'll be in a better position to tackle that first used car purchase with confidence. Talk with a used car dealer like J & J Auto Sales for more information.