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How To Buy A Used Car

Buying a used car

Used car or new? What car is right for me?

Where to look for used cars, what to look for when buying a used car?

There are many questions you may have when it comes to used car buying process.

In this article I will answer to some of these questions and hopefully,
make the used car buying process easier for you.

There are many essential facts you should consider before buying your next car so you won't regret your decision for a moment after the fact.

• New or used car
• Taking a risk out of used car buying process
• Car value and price
• How much can I afford to spend on a car?
• What type of used car will fit into my price range?
• Choosing the right car
• Cost of insurance
• What mileage is OK for a used car
• How old is not "too old"
• Where to look for a car
• Who sells used cars?
• Making phone calls
• Negotiating the deal
• Legal aspects
• Buying an extended warranty
• Do's and Don'ts when buying a used car

• Used car buying guide
• How to choose the right car
• Where to look for a car
• How to check car history
• What to look for in a used car:
- Used car illustrated checklist
- How to check the engine
- Transmission problems
- How to inspect the car body
- Print the checklist

New or used car

By purchasing a used car, you can save a lot of money. A new car depreciates quickly in the first few years and after 3 years, it is worth only about 60-70% of the original price. In fact, as soon as you leave the dealership, your new vehicle is suddenly worth $1000-$2000 less. When purchasing a new car you basically are paying for its fresh "new" aroma and warranty. Yet, buying a new car does not always mean the buyer will get perfection. A new car may come with problems associated with poor design or manufacturing defects that may have been already repaired during the warranty coverage period if it's a used car. The same is true for all kinds of recalls and service campaigns. Another advantage of buying a used car is that you could buy a loaded model with all the bells and whistles that you might not be able to afford had you bought a new car.
However, buying a used car is still a bit of a gamble - there is no guarantee that the car is accident-free, has real mileage, and was properly maintained. There may be some hidden problems like a worn out automatic transmission, or engine problems that may not have been obvious when you test-drove the car. So, next you must ask yourself: Will I save money when buying a used car? How do I eliminate the risk of potential problems and is this actually possible to do? Read on to find out more information.

Taking a risk out of used car buying process

First, be prepared. Do as much research as you can. Read reviews, consumer reports, ask colleagues and friends, compare options, gather gas consumption data on the make and model you're interested in. Examine reliability ratings. Try to determine maintenance costs and upkeep, etc. Your goal should be to narrow your search to one or two models. Why? Because if you just enter a dealership without knowing what you want, chances are more likely than not that you won't be happy with your purchase. Later you may find out that it's simply not exactly what you wanted or what you can afford. Someone I know bought a used BMW wagon for quite a reasonable price. When he went for servicing, they discovered that the rear shock absorber was leaking. The price for the part alone was close to $1000! Finally, he sold his BMW and bought a used Camry that proved less expensive to maintain.
Another purpose to narrow your choice down to only one or two models is because when you test-drive a few different cars of the same model, it will be much easier for you to compare their condition and pick the best one. Recognizing a transmission problem during your test drive would be easier to do if you were to try a few vehicles of the same model instead of becoming confused by testing out different models.

Second, without a doubt, you should check a car's history records. This will help you to eliminate half of the vehicles from your list with potential problems. Vehicles that have been flooded or restored after serious accidents, those with rolled back odometers, heavily abused vehicles (e.g., ex-rentals), those with outstanding liens, etc., can be eliminated after simply checking the history record of the vehicle. In fact, it is not even a good idea to look into a car until you check its history.

To learn further How To check a car's history click on this link: How to check a car history by the VIN number.

Third, Don't buy based on what you've been told because it may not always be the truth. Check out the car yourself very carefully. Ask a knowledgeable person who knows about cars to help you.
Check my Illustrated used car checklist to learn what to look for in a used car.
As a final step, bring the car to the mechanic you trust for an inspection. A word of caution, NEVER give a deposit or sign a contract before the car is inspected.

Fourth, Be extremely careful when doing the paperwork. For example, if you buy from a private owner, make sure there are no registered liens against the vehicle and that the person who signs the Bill of Sale is the actual owner of the car. Check with the Vehicle Registration Authorities to make sure the car has not been stolen.
If buying from a dealer, read the warranty policy and all the papers including the fine print very carefully. If it's a "Certified" used car, you'd be wise to check exactly what items were checked off and approved because sometimes the car might have a history of an accident in the past, come with a poorly maintained engine and still be Certifiable. Do not rely on a salesperson's verbal promises. Whatever is promised, get it in details in writing. Find out if the remaining original warranty will be transferred into your name. Different manufacturers have different warranty policies. For questions about vehicle registration, change of ownership, legal aspects, etc., contact your local Vehicle Registration authorities found in my link page.

Car value and price

Don't look for cheapest car. When it comes to used cars, "best deal" doesn't mean the cheapest one. Your goal is to look for a car in good condition for reasonable price. If you choosing between relatively cheap car that might have an accident in the past or was poorly maintained, needs some repair, etc. and more expensive one that is in excellent condition, I'd without a doubt choose the more expensive one. You will simply save on repairs and will have less troubles driving it. Don't think they sell it cheap because they don't know the price or they simply want to clear their inventory. If they sell it cheap, definitely there is something wrong with it. Remember, proper price for a certain used vehicle is not the one indicated in blue or black book - they give you just an average price. The actual vehicle value big time depends on a car condition. Two cars may only look the same. One may have been maintained so poorly and the engine won't last long after you buy it. Previous owner of another vehicle may have been religious about maintenance, was using only synthetic oil, has done the rustproof and so on. Without a doubt, I'd rather pay $2000 more for this second car just to have peace of mind driving it.
So, how to determine how much you will have to pay for a certain model?
Just to show you as an example, I search Ontario used cars for sale website Autotrader.ca for a three years old Honda Accord. The search result gives me more than 200 vehicles with the price ranging from 12,000 to 22,000 CAD. To be realistic, I know that for 12,000 I will not be able to buy something really good. 22,000 CAD seems to me too high. But there are quite a few cars for 17,000 - 18,000 price range - this looks more realistic to me. I also know that most new car dealers will be able to give me a discount from 1,000 to 3,000 CAD if I use proper negotiation strategy (read below). So, in our case with three years old Honda Accord, I'd probably will be able to get the one in a good condition for 15,000 - 16,000 CAD depending on mileage, options, etc. You can use the same strategy everywhere; whether is Miami Florida or Winnipeg Canada.
Check my page Used cars for sale on the Internet to find appropriate website for your area

Decide how much you can afford

Set yourself a firm limit of how much money you want and can afford to pay for a car. The process of buying a used car can be time-consuming and stressful and it might be difficult to resist the urge to buy more expensive vehicle, especially when higher total price is hidden under "low" monthly payments. Often dealers could try to push you into buying more expensive vehicle to increase their commission. In fact, this is very common situation when people rush into buying a car or a truck only to realize later that they cannot afford paying for it. Thousands of people are searching the Internet for an answer to "How to get out of a car deal?" You want to buy something that you can afford, something that will not put excessive financial strain on your family budget, so you need to set yourself a firm limit. Check more money-saving tips at How to save money on a car

What type of used car will fit into my price range?

Let's take a look at some prices:
$10,000-$18,000 - This is the average minimum amount of money one would need to spend on a 'decent' car 3 to 4 years old. This would be a typical car (not a luxury car) sold from a new car dealership. They usually have, what would I recommend as a perfect choice, traded in one-owner certified vehicles that were sold new and serviced at the same dealership. Sometimes you may find such a car from a private owner. Usually such a car may last for another few years relatively trouble-free if properly maintained.

For $5000-$9000 you may be able to find a 6 to 9 year old used car with relatively high mileage which still might be in good shape. However, it may take a lot more time to find a good condition used car in this price range. Typically, independent used car dealers sell cars within this price range.

For $1000-$2000 you may be able to buy something that can serve as simple transportation to get from point A to point B. More than likely it may be a car with high mileage sold by a private owner. Dealers usually do not spend time selling cars or trucks in this price range. However, be prepared to spend much more money to keep such vehicle running.
To learn more about what kind of vehicle you can afford for your hard earned money, try to search the Car Sales websites where you can enter the maximum amount of money you intend on spending. Click to: Used cars for sale on the Internet.
Don't forget that aside from the sticker price you may need to pay extra for taxes, registration and there may be other charges to consider.

Choosing the right car

I can tell you, you won't get a good deal if you just browse from dealer to dealer without knowing what kind of car you are looking for. The first step - You need to decide what exactly you want. Do you need simple transportation to drive to work and back? If so, a small Sedan would suit this purpose. Do you want a car to be very economical? If so, you would want to select a car with a small engine. Don't expect to find a V6 or V8 engine or 4WD truck if you are looking for something really affordable. Are icy roads common in your area? If this is the case, then you need a car with ABS. If you want to use your car to tow a trailer, then you will have to consider a car with more powerful engine. Once you've decided on what type of car is best suited for you or your family members, and you know what you want, check out the market, see what models are available, and see what fits into the price you can afford. Following this you will be able to narrow your search to just a few models. Then compare the reliability rating and read more reviews. Don't forget to check insurance rates, get the quote before buying a car. Follow this link for more tips: How to choose the right car for you.

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