There are many advantages to buying a used car over a new one off the forecourt. Not only will you be paying a lot less money, but the car you buy is also much less likely to go down in value as much as a new car would over the period you own it. However, buying a used car does come with a little more risk and you will need to be smart about how you go about making a purchase. These tips will help to pick the right car for your budget.
Decide What You Need
To begin with, you need to decide what kind of car you are actually looking for. This can have a big impact on your budget so be clear on either your budget first or the car you want. If you want a newer car this will cost more as will a larger car or a truck so you will need to set your budget accordingly. Conversely, if your budget is $5,000, you need to be realistic about the kind of car you can buy for that.
Aside from the budget, you need to think about the practicalities. Will you have children in the car or do you have a dog that you’ll put in the back? Do you play sports that require equipment like snowboards or golf clubs? Once you’ve got a checklist, you will be able to source a range of cars to choose from.
Check Owner User Reviews
Before going to see a car whether it’s at a garage or a private sale, do your research. There are many car owner review websites where car owners have submitted reviews about what it’s like to own a certain type of car. Some of the main things to look out for are:
- Running Costs
Doing this research will help you to identify any common faults with the car that you need to look out for or any areas that are prone to rust or damage. Going in armed with the right information will help you to make a better informed and hopefully a lower risk purchase.
Set a Budget Based on What You’ve Seen
Based on the type of car you would like and the information you have read you will be able to set a realistic budget for the car you want to buy. It’s useful to see what’s being sold in other parts of the country to see if you can work out an average price based on age, mileage and condition. This will help you to determine if the car you’re looking at is a good deal or not.
Price works both ways so it’s important that’s it’s not too expensive but also not too cheap. If a car is way below what you think it should be, then think twice. There could be something wrong with it. Anything that seems too good to be true should be left well alone. You might get the car really cheap, but it could cost you even more in repairs if it goes wrong.
Go and See the Car
You shouldn’t purchase a car without going to see it first. The seller should be more than happy for you to take a test drive even if they join you in the car too. You should also check the vehicle history.
If you’re happy that the car is for you then you can begin to negotiate on the price. If the price seems fair then you may not get any money off, especially if it’s being sold by a garage. Instead, you could ask then to throw in a tank of gas or to repair any minor damage before you take it away.
If you’re buying privately you will be in a stronger position to negotiate a reduction on the price. Any damage that you see and will need to pay for such as tire repair or chips to paintwork or the windscreen are fair game for negotiating the price down.
Be Prepared to Walk Away
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement when buying a new car but it’s really important to be prepared to walk away if you’re not 100% happy with something. It can feel like you’re going to miss out and it will take you ages to find another similar deal but not letting your heart take over your head could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs in the long run.
If you are sure that you want to buy the car and everything checks out you might be able to put a deposit down if it’s being sold by a garage and collect it a few days later. This will take some of the pressure off making the decision there and then and if you decide not to take it after all you may only lose $100 or so which isn’t the end of the world.