If you are suddenly interested in the concept of used car buying/shopping, you have to take into consideration a few things.
The first is that it’s a used car, but the one thing I tell people is that in this case if you can find a good deal from a dealership you can trust, this has always worked out better for me.
Having bought my last 4 cars at dealerships, I have been lucky to have some pretty decent cars that were good to us.
A few rules about car dealerships don’t be afraid to say no. Your “NO” word needs to be well versed, because they are there to make money and will try to up-sell you at every occasion. “Let me think about it” is good, but never ever sign anything until you have decided all you want and are completely sure.
Certified and tested is more expensive but a better way of buying. They usually make the car safer for you to drive since they have to inspect it before letting it go. “As Is Condition” leaves too much to go wrong and nowhere for you to go. Certified means you have 90 days to bring back the car if there are unsafe components.
And they do want to impress you with that if they are smart since it means you might return to buy a newer car or a new car with them if you get a good customer service experience this time around. Make sure to mention that you need their business cards to spread around and that you might be interested in brand new the next time around. They will want to nurture that relationship for possible upcoming commissions even if you don’t ever plan to make that purchase.
Go for the dealerships that go the extra mile to make your used car feel like a new car experience, like getting the engine washed, 350 point inspections, new car smell etc…. If the car needs a few touch-ups, make sure to mention it and see if they are willing to offer it up.
Check to see how long that dealership has been opened and around. I don’t need to tell you that longer is better than not.
Do your due diligence as well. Do not take a salesman’s word on a car. He is there to sell, not to give you specs, reviews or possible problems with the vehicle.
You have to do that on your own. With the age of technology and Mr. Google all you have do is type in the vehicle’s year and make with the word review at the end and you can probably see an emerging pattern if there is a problem with it.
We were toying with a Kia Forte, but we soon found out that some developed a terrible sounding engine knock for that year’s make, and we reconsidered.
For that reason, you should never buy a car outright without researching it first. If you can put a down payment if you can’t pay for it outright, make sure to put as much as you can so that your payments stay small.
Also make sure that the loan is open-ended meaning you can pay it off and not locked in without being able to make more payments than stipulated in the contract, so if you can make lump sum payments to pay it off more quickly, you can.
Check for possible repairs that might be needed with regular maintenance online. Most cars with timing belts need it replaced after a certain amount of kilometers. If you know this and cannot confirm that it’s been changed you might want to include that in your deal. It could save you expensive engine repairs in the future.
Check out if parts to replace in this type of vehicle are expensive.
I had checked out my Jeep for possible problems and all I had found was a bad seal on a door and complaints that this model was not as swank in interior design, but failed to check what tire pricing was like. Since it had 17” rims, it is very expensive when it comes to tires, like near a thousand dollars for brand new tires. I’m lucky to have found a company in Quebec that gives pretty good pricing (like half that price) for my Jeep, but it’s something I should have checked on beforehand. Would have saved me the sticker shock later.
I would recommend a car four years and younger with a decently low amount of mileage, or at least under 100Km on the car.
Check how much it would cost in insurance and remember that since it’s used and especially if you are able to pay for the car that you don’t need a ton of insurance on it.
You can just insure it liability if you like, as we do. But that comes to personal preference and what makes you comfortable. A used vehicle should always be much less than a brand new one at any rate.
Do not add your licensing fees in your payment amount (you know buying the sticker and getting it transferred). You are basically adding a sticker and plates to be financed for years and years in the price of the car. Just pay for it.
Lastly, put all your pros and cons on paper, and decide if the car you have your eye on is worth it.
Remember that beyond the obvious lemon, which there are still some out there, cars of this era run smoother and last a lot longer with regular maintenance.
On average when buying a four year old car, we got at least another 6 years from it before it needed replacing. I got 8 years from a 2002 Cavalier and I bought it used and my son used it for another 3 years after I got my Jeep.
Regular oil changes are not overrated, and can help with the preservation of your engine.
These are few tips I thought I would share to help with your used car shopping. Tips that have served us well in the last years we have had vehicles.
Yes it may sound like a lot of work to get a vehicle; however, I do believe that being organized and informed is half the battle. And a little bit of time spend on this becomes the difference of buying a $5900 vehicle that will last 6 years or a $40000 vehicle that will have payments for 6 years.
New is nice but cost more to insure, more to pay monthly and will really take a large bite into your monthly expenses. With a bit of leg work, you can save yourself a ton of cash and still get a decent vehicle that will get you from point A to point B.