Buying a used car is often a better financial choice than buying a new car. You'll spend less money, and the car won't depreciate as fast. Of course, you'll want to find a car in excellent condition and that will last a long time. Here are five tips that might help.
1. Check Safety And Crash Test Data
You can find websites online that show crash tests and other safety data for cars going back several years. If you find a used car you like, you can look up the model to see how it rates for safety. Another option is to study the test reports so you have a general idea of what makes and models to compare when you visit the used car lot.
2. Check Price Data
You can also find general price data online for used cars. You might want to refer to the book value for cars when deciding if the price seems right on a car you like on the dealer's lot. Many things affect the sale price of a car, but if it seems to be overpriced, you might feel more confident trying to negotiate for a better price once you know what comparable models sell for.
3. Take A Test Drive
Nothing beats a test drive for helping you decide if a car is right for you. Even if you're not mechanically inclined, you can notice if a car sounds funny or doesn't handle right. Plus, being comfortable in a car is important, too. You may need armrests to feel comfortable or you might need extra room between the steering wheel and the seat. You won't learn about any of these details until you take the car for a test drive.
4. Run The Car's VIN Number
The used car lot will probably provide the VIN number reports for the cars on their lots. If not, you might want to get the information yourself. The report shows the history of the car including previous owners, repair and maintenance logs, mileage, previous accidents, and title status. The information you receive depends on what was reported, so you might not get the full history, but you could learn if the car was cared for well or if it has a history of potentially serious problems.
5. Take A Knowledgeable Person Along
You may not be lucky enough to know a mechanic you can take car shopping with you, but you might know someone who works on their own car and who can give good advice about used cars. It's often difficult to buy a used car when you don't know anything about how cars work, and having someone with you who can spot problems could give you peace of mind.
Contact a used car dealer for more information.