Guidelines for Buying a Used Car
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Published by TOP4 Team
These are the things that need to do when buying a used car:
Test-driving a used car helps you decide whether it's the right car for you. It also gives you deeper knowledge whether this particular car is in a good condition or not. Once you get behind the wheel, ask yourself if it's a good one. Does it offer enough headroom? How about legroom? Are the gauges and controls conveniently positioned? Try arranging your test-drive, so that you start the engine when it's completely cold. Some cars are harder to start when they're dead cold and it means a chronic problem. Turn off the radio before you begin driving – you want to hear the engine and concentrate on the driving experience.
On a test-drive, evaluate these additional points:
• Acceleration from a stop
• Visibility (Are there blind spots?)
• Engine noise
• Passing acceleration (Does it downshift quickly and smoothly?)
• Hill climbing power
• Suspension (How does it ride?)
• Rattles and squeaks
• Cargo space
Take your time and be sure to simulate the conditions of your normal driving patterns. If you do a lot of highway driving, make sure to go on the highway and take the car up to 65 mph. If you go into the mountains, test the car on a steep slope. You don’t want to find out that the car doesn't perform as needed after you've nought it.
After the test-drive, ask the owner for the service records. See if the car has had the scheduled maintenance performed on time. Avoid buying a car that has been in a serious accident or has had major repairs including transmission rebuilds, valve jobs or engine overhauls. If you like the way the car drives, you should still take it to a mechanic for a thorough inspection. A private party, probably, will let you do this without much resistance. However, in the dealership, the process might be more difficult. If it's a certified used car, there's no reason to take it to a mechanic.
Successful negotiation comes from having solid information. Before the negotiation begins, you should look up for the price and print out the figures of the vehicle online. Dealers have lots of experience in negotiating, while most private parties don't. Therefore, buying a used car from a dealer or a private party will be two very different experiences.
Follow these guidelines when negotiating:
• Only enter the negotiation with a salesperson who you feel comfortable with.
• Make an opening offer that's low, but keep it reasonable.
• Decide ahead of time how high you'll go and leave when the limit is reached.
• Walk out – this is your strongest negotiation tool.
• Be patient – plan to spend an hour negotiating in a dealership, less for private parties.
• A “closer” (high-pressure salesman) may try to improve the deal before you reach a final price.
• Never begin the negotiation if you feel hungry or tired.
Closing the deal
If you're at a dealership, you still have to go through the finance and insurance (F&I) process. If you're buying a car from a private party, you just have to make sure that the payment is made and the title is properly transferred.
Don’t forget, you also need to make sure you have insurance for the car before you drive it away. Also, the F&I person will probably try to sell you a number of additional items such as extended warranty, alarms or anti-theft devices, fabric protection, rust-proofing, and emergency roadside kits. The other items typically sold in the F&I room, however, are expensive and hold little value for you.
When you buy a car from a private party, you'll probably be asked to pay with a cashier’s check or in cash. Always request the title (or the pink slip) and have it signed over to you. Rules governing vehicle registration and licensing vary from state to state. Once all of the paperwork is complete, it's time to relax and begin to enjoy your new purchase: a good used car.
Contact or visit a local car dealer today.