how to buy a good used car

And if you decide to sell your new car a few years after you buy it, you’re going to lose a lot more money in the re-sale than if you had bought it used.
Before you make an offer, you need to inspect it to ensure you’re not buying a lemon.
By buying a car brand new, you’re basically paying 30% more than you need to. will not only give you the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a vehicle, they’ll also check what others have paid for that particular car and give you an almost real time market price for it.

Another great source for finding a used car deal is auto auctions.
Getting a good deal on a used car at an auto auction is quite simple and very real.
To be sure your discount vehicle is really as good a deal as it seems, you’ll need to think about what other costs you might be facing because of it.
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For those who are bold and serious about buying a car at a steep discount, attending a live government seized auto auction should be top on your list.
If you are in the market for used car deals, you can find a lot of cheap cars in the local paper under estate auctions.
Check out these tips on finding a good deal on a used car.
In fact, auto auctions are where many used car dealers go to find deals for their sales lot.
Make sure to obtain the vehicle identification number ("VIN") off of the car you are inclined to check out with CarFax, Autocheck, or any other third-party car history company; the VIN is usually found on the lower level end of the windshield, right above the dashboard on the driver’s side.
Peruse consumer reviews, compare Kelley Blue Book values, research resale values and conduct vehicle history reports with VIN numbers.
Ordering a CARFAX Vehicle History Report is worth your time and money and empowers consumers in knowing exactly what they are purchasing.
Going right along with your budget, decide whether you’re willing to do business with a private seller or are planning on only visiting car dealerships.
When making a purchase as big as a vehicle, you shouldn’t limit yourself to visiting just one dealership or private seller.
Finding the best used car for you is much like buying your first auto, and the process can be broken down into four main steps: ask questions, shop around, perform tests, and conduct research.
Dealers are supposed to notify you of any circumstances such as salvaged titles; however, private sellers often sell the vehicle "as is" and might neglect to bother with the details.
Unless you’re quite experienced under the hood, the tests you’ll perform yourself are probably going to be limited to giving the car a test drive and listening for any suspicious clangs, bangs, squeaks, or vibrations.
An honest seller isn’t going to deny you the chance to have the vehicle checked out by a professional.
Ask specific questions, and make sure any answer the dealer or private seller gives you is provided in writing, as well.
Buying from a private seller could help you save money.
Answering these questions will help you determine not only the ideal model for you and your budget, but also the oldest model you’re willing to buy, as well as the highest mileage you’re willing to accept.
We realize that you won’t be able to drive in snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night, but you can drive at different speeds, on different road surfaces, and even in different traffic situations to see how the car reacts.
My advice is that you should consider buying a new car that fits in you budget so that you will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty if there are any problems.
The companies do usually follow the recommended maintenance so the key components like the engine are probably in better condition than cars owned by private people.
In general, you will pay at least 2% higher APR for a used car than you would on a new car loan but you can offset this by using an online lender that specialized in financing used cars such as the ones we recommend.
Since you are normally buying a used car "As Is," you will want to know about any problems before the purchase.
In addition to the steps required to get a good deal on a new car, when buying a used vehicle there are additional steps you must be aware of.
Out of all the steps to buying a used car, the one-on-one negotiation is the most daunting! You need to use all of the available information to your advantage to drive the price down.
Buying a used car can be a tricky process to navigate because no two cars are the same.
The "Used Car Bill Of Sale Form" is a useful free spreadsheet (actually 2 forms in one) to help you finalize the sale.
I get a ton of emails from people that ended up buying a used car and later finding out it had been wrecked.
You should pay with a credit card if possible or a check of some type (personal, official check, etc.). With a credit card or check you have a paper trail and some recourse available if something goes wrong.
We’ve seen certified pre-owned luxury cars that have been previously wrecked or have other problems.
It gives you the ability to run as many reports as you want for 60 days so you will be able to compare the histories of any cars you are considering.
Rebuilt Superstorm Sandy cars are just now "flooding" the market.
The rental companies tend to take cars out of service after a year or two so you will be getting a relatively new car that has been well maintained.
The dealers like to advertise things like 175 point inspections but in reality these don’t mean much and they really don’t do much to recondition the cars other than normal detailing.
When you select a car through the Appraise a Used Car tool, it takes you to the gateway of all the information you need to make a good buying decision: pricing, reviews, specs, fuel economy and lists of standard features.
Before you contact a used-car seller, you should get a vehicle history report for the car you’re interested in buying.
If you are buying a car from a private party, you just have to make sure that payment is final and that the seller properly transfers title and registration to you.
Once you find a good prospective car, call the seller before you go to see the vehicle.
First when dealing with an individual your more likely to be able to get a better deal depending on the persons situation but with a little chat and some friendly conversation the bartering process is more likely to come out better than if dealing with a used car salesman and on top of that forum users are more apt to give deals to other users.
What I mean is "I have $5000 to buy this compact sedan so I save money, drive my small family and can park in the city much…oooooo look a mustang!" isn’t logical and beyond what you need (no matter what your inner child says).
Plus if you go through a forum like Naxja or AlfaBB (you can tell what cars I’m looking for) you can get a lot of feedback from guys posting about the car that might know more than you, or if it is long distance forum users are often open to checking out a car for you and you’ll be getting an honest opinion back.
Buying on an impulse leads you to decide that you’re going to buy the vehicle before you’ve looked at it, and that makes you do things like inspect the vehicle in the dark and/or in the rain, where you’re not going to look at or see certain things.
My Rabbit pickup and Volvo 240 wagon purchases ended in tears because of major rust issues I missed because the conditions weren’t favorable for a thorough inspection and that my impulse to buy overcame my common sense.
Program Car – is just another fancy name for "off lease" or 90% of the time "previous rental" – That’s where almost every single one of these cars comes from.
Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale.
You can work out a loan with the dealership or manufacturer, but it is also possible to walk into a dealership with financing already secured through a third-party source, such as our official, preferred lender LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank, and the preferred lender of Kelley Blue Book.
Here are some suggestions: First, make a list of all the things you need your vehicle to do (haul kids, go off-road, get good gas mileage, be absolutely reliable, maintain good re-sale value, be easy to park) and then make a second list of all the things you admire in a vehicle (body style, colors, luxury options).
It always pays to shop around, so check rates with your insurance company before you buy your new vehicle, and then quote & name your price on Progressive online to compare.
You should end up with a list of required and desired characteristics, which you can use to eliminate models that won’t work for you (you can’t haul kids in a two-seat sports car or operate a full-size sport utility vehicle on an economy-car fuel budget).
Typically, sport cars, anything with "turbo" or "supercharged" in the name, higher performance vehicles with larger or more powerful engines and vehicles with four-wheel drive will give you higher insurance rates.
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As properly maintained cars makes good business sense for the rental agency, it should be noted that maintenance and inspection records will be current for the vehicle, a very big plus point.
Remember, rental companies are like a car dealership when it comes to selling cars – ultimately they want your business so it’s important to inspect the car inside and out and take it for a test drive.
It may seem strange to think about purchasing a rental car but looking at the facts as well as weighing the advantages and disadvantages, may lead you to the conclusion that buying a used rental car is not such a bad idea and if caution, care and research are conducted correctly you may be able to get a good deal.
I’m sure you’ve heard of lemon laws which provide protection to consumers who buy used cars that have been misrepresented as being in good condition or otherwise fail to meet quality and performance standards.
Still, there are basic ways to protect yourself from getting a dud, from being tricked by sneaky private sellers, and even ways to secure possible legal recourse if something does goes wrong with the sale.
Part of the reason the old financial advice to buy used no longer applies is because the market and economy have changed, says Shattuck, who is also known as "The Car Chick" and runs a consulting service that helps people buy cars.
The economy made people hold on to their cars longer, Shattuck says, and with the government’s Cash For Clunkers program, the supply of used cars went down.
Shattuck says people need to look at the history of a used car, perhaps by purchasing a vehicle history report from They also need to bring the car into an independent mechanic who can look for problems and determine how well it has been maintained.
On the other hand, Mason, an associate professor at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, who teaches personal finance, says his last two cars were new.
Negotiation is easier with new cars, Shattuck says, because there is so much information available on the Internet.
When purchasing a used vehicle from a private party seller, the buyer must perform due diligence in the form of obtaining vehicle history reports, paying for professional inspections, and conducting a thorough test drive in order to make sure they’re not making a purchase they may soon regret.
A private party seller is an individual just like you, someone who owns a vehicle that they need to sell, and who is likely selling the vehicle themselves in order to extract maximum value for it.
That said, a private party seller who has taken great care of a vehicle and who has all of the maintenance and service records for the vehicle is likely to try to sell it on their own.
Generally, private party sellers are in a hurry to sell their old vehicle, and if you demonstrate that you are a serious buyer, they are more likely to want to get the transaction completed quickly and with you.
Additionally, a private party seller is usually more eager to sell the vehicle as soon as is possible, and is typically more flexible on price during negotiation.
You will also need to sell your old vehicle yourself, making you the private party seller in this scenario.
Buying a used vehicle from a private party seller requires meetings with strangers to test-drive the vehicle, have the vehicle inspected, and to complete the transaction for the vehicle.
The seller is likely interested primarily in receiving more money for the vehicle than the dealer offered them as a trade-in, while the buyer is able to purchase a clean, well-maintained used car at a big discount compared to what the same vehicle might sell for at a used car dealer.
When buying a used vehicle, most consumers choose to purchase from a dealership or a private party seller.
Buy a used vehicle from a private party seller, and those details are the buyer’s responsibility.
How will you use this car? If you’re the type who drives between home, work, and the grocery store, and maybe goes to dinner with friends, or on a date with your significant other from time to time, you might be fine in a vehicle that’s a little older.
If you own a house or are self employed, you’ll want to make sure your auto insurance coverage is more than the minimums, so that you can protect your home or business if you are sued because of involvement in an accident, and never, EVER, let your insurance lapse.
If all of these questions have been answered to your satisfaction, you’ll want to obtain a vehicle history report from a service such as CarFax (most used-car dealers will provide this.
It’s also a good idea to find out what similar cars are selling for, to make sure the price you pay is fair.
Here’s our list of nine essential questions that will help you get an honest idea of the vehicle you’re about to purchase.
But you’d like to ask the right questions to make sure you’re not dropping thousands on a vehicle that’ll brake down three miles from the used car lot.
If the owner denies your request to test drive the vehicle, then you can be pretty sure that there’s some major problem with the car.
It’s always a good idea to have the vehicle examined by a licensed mechanic.
It’s usually a bad sign if the owner doesn’t know or isn’t willing to disclose a list of previous owners.
I suggest first time car buyers to read the sticky guide in the auto loan section.
Well first step is the create your budget. If you don’t have a monthly budget, a good time to create one is when you’re considering the purchase of a car.
Bad months are great for buyers because most dealerships don’t care about how much money they are losing, they just need to sell because it’s all about QUANTITY because that’s how they make their bonuses.
After all, I’m probably going to need a car someday, and I’d rather be informed when that happens rather than scrambling to learn all I can in the last minute on the biggest purchase of my life (that is, if I don’t buy a home before then).
Do your research, run the numbers to be sure that you can afford the payments, and don’t give in to the temptation to buy a vehicle that you truly can’t afford.
Timing is a great one if you can hold out on getting a car until a major sale is happening (and don’t care about driving last year’s model).
There is a stereotype of shady car salesmen for a reason, make sure you research dealerships ahead of time so that you don’t wind up dealing with one.
Study: Mass.
From an excellent unbiased comparison of used versus new from “If you’re on a tight budget, then buying a used car gets you the most vehicle for the least amount of money.” Since that’s what I’m looking for – the most vehicle for the least amount of money – then it’s late model used for me.

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