Steps to Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is a little different than buying a brand new model. Fortunately, following a few steps can allow you to get the same result in the same amount of time while saving a good chunk of cold, hard cash. Since used vehicles come with a bit higher risk than new models, the price is lower which means drivers can get a great deal if they know what to do.

Step 1: Budget

The first step to buying any type of car is to figure out your budget. If money is tight at the moment, put off buying a vehicle or aim to spend less than you figured in. Don’t forget to consider that used cars will need a little more maintenance.

Step 2: Create a List

Create list of cars you’d like to consider. Compare the cost of each vehicle and start crossing them off accordingly. If there are few models in your budget, consider a model that’s a few years old. Once you have three or so cars that meet your budget and can fit into your daily life, start researching.

Step 3: Pricing

Time to start pricing your list of vehicles! Prices vary from area to area so check online and on websites like Kelley Blue Book to get a good idea of what the car will cost in your locality. Find the cars in your area and ask dealerships for information and, most important, Vehicle History Reports.

A Vehicle History Report can be eye opening depending on the vehicle. Some cars might have flood damage and you’d have never known otherwise had you not done the diligence. The reports will also list mileage, service, and other pertinent factors.

Step 4: Drive

Whatever you do, don’t buy a car without driving it first. Make sure it’s comfortable and feels right. Keep an eye out for dashboard indicator lights, odd smells, and other warning signs that there could be a problem. Check under the hood for anything that looks out of place too.

Before you buy, it wouldn’t hurt to have the car inspected by a professional either.

Step 5: Deal

Once you’ve done everything else and are satisfied with the vehicle, it’s time to negotiate a deal. Talking numbers can be dreadful but most sellers will work with you to arrive at a price you can afford. Keep in mind you’re under no obligation to buy and can walk away at any time.

Once the deal is done, complete the financing and insurance paperwork and determine if you want any add-on items, like an extended warranty.