We love our old cars, but when maintenance costs spiral out of control and safety and fuel efficiency technology start to greatly outpace what our current vehicle is capable of, it becomes time to face facts and accept that it’s time to get a new car. Of course, that “new” car doesn’t have to be new. Used vehicles are hitting the lots in better shape and with more driveable mileage left on them than ever before, and buying a well cared-for pre-owned vehicle can make a whole lot of practical and financial sense. Buying a used car does require a little more thought and attention than buying a brand new car, however, so if you decide it’s time to start shopping for a used vehicle, don’t forget the additional steps you have to take to ensure that you’re getting a good deal on a car you can count on.
Do Your Research
There are lots of makes and models out there, so one of the first things you need to do when you start shopping is figure out what kind of car suits your needs and which manufacturers offer cars that will fill the requirements you have. Online car shopping guides can provide you with a wealth of resources for investigating, comparing, and learning about the specifics of the cars you might be interested in. Once you have a solid idea of the type of car you want and which manufacturers you can get it from, you can start looking for used models for sale near you.
Set a Budget
Researching car models should help you find a pretty good idea of how much you can expect to pay. Set a budget for yourself that will allow you to get what you want, but try to stick to it so you don’t end up getting talked into paying more than you should.
You can search used car lots, online classifieds, car sale websites, or any other source you can find for the kind of car you’re looking for.
Get a Vehicle History Report
Once you’ve found a car for sale that you might want to buy, ask the seller to provide you with a vehicle history report. These are easily obtained and will have comprehensive information about any accidents and repairs the vehicle has gone through, and can be very helpful for determining the condition and expected future reliability of the vehicle. There’s really no good reason a seller should be unwilling to provide this.
Take It for a Test Drive
Don’t put down money on a vehicle you haven’t gotten on the road with at least once. Test driving is your vitally important opportunity to get a feel for the car, see how it handles, listen for any funny noises, and make sure it drives like it’s supposed to and that you feel comfortable in it.
It’s a great feeling when you find the right car for you and you can get it for an affordable price without the hassle of negotiating with a car dealership and financing years of monthly payments. You can get behind the wheel of a great used car that will serve you well for a long time, with low maintenance and ownership costs, if you approach the process in an intelligent way.