3 Tips for Buying a Used Car
When people think of shopping for a used car, it might fill them with a sense of dread—fears of throwing money away on a lemon and dealing with pushy salesmen applying high pressure tactics among other concerns. But, if a new car is out of the question for financial reasons, you can still get a great vehicle. Arming yourself with some knowledge about the process will take you far in getting the best car for your needs.
Figure Out How Much You Can/Want to Spend
This one seems so obvious it is hardly worth mentioning but a lot of people really do not sit down to crunch numbers—they may do some vague calculations and this can lead to buying a car you really cannot afford. You need to figure out what sort of monthly payment you can afford if you will be taking out a loan. If you have a firm idea of what you can spend, you can try and secure a loan from a third-party before you even begin car shopping. You can typically get a loan without having to name the specific car you plan on purchasing. Things like direct deposit and electronic payment may help you snag a better interest rate. Going into the transaction with money already secured can help you laser focus your car search, possibly give you some negotiating power and prevent you from buying something you really cannot afford.
The Internet is Your Friend
If you are not using the internet as a tool in your used car search, you are missing out on tons of information that can help you find the right car for you at the right price. There are websites that allow for side by side comparisons of numerous vehicles at once. Make sure you hop on Kelley Blue Book’s site to get an idea of a used car’s retail value. If you plan on trading in a current car, this site can also help you get an accurate read on the current condition of your car, which we often overestimate. This bit of research can help you get a more realistic picture of the role your trade-in will play in financing your new car. By getting a true picture, you will save precious time trying to get a higher price for your trade-in because you are convinced your car is worth much more than it truly is.
The idea of negotiating a price for a car, new or used, can be anxiety-invoking. The dealer sells cars for a living and knows the game much better than the average person. Many car shoppers are particularly focused on the monthly payment amount and this is understandable as you are taking on a new monthly bill for at least a couple of years, maybe more. But, trying to negotiate based solely on getting a desirable monthly payment may not get you the best deal you can because the dealer may meet that need by simply extending the amount of time you pay on the car; generally, you want to focus on overall price and getting the lowest one you can get. You may also be able to negotiate things like add-ons and extending the warranty for a bit longer.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has written on a range of automotive topics from car insurance tips to buying your teenager’s first car. If you are searching for a used vehicle in Utah, check out Ken Garff used cars for a big selection.