Ten Tips to Follow When Buying A Used Car

Today's technology has produced automobiles that last longer and run better than their predecessors. Due to these advancements, used cars are an attractive option when looking at cars for sale. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, these ten tips are great to keep in mind while looking for the right one.

In addition to securing financing and understanding your budgetary constraints, other aspects such as vehicle history and the reputation of the car dealer should be considered. Buying a "new to you" car can be very exciting and if you follow these tips you will likely end up with a reliable pre-owned vehicle for many years to come.

1. Dollars and Sense
Prior to setting out to look for a used car, sit down and figure out your budget first. There are many good cars available across many price points. Knowing the amount that you can comfortably spend will help you target your search and eliminate any wasted time looking at cars that don't work within your budget. If you are going to need financing to acquire your new vehicle, take the time to check with your bank or credit union to see if you can get pre-approved for your auto loan.


2. Narrow Your Search
Many people have a certain make or model of car that they prefer, which can make the search for a new vehicle a more targeted experience. Are you interested in an SUV, sedan, or compact car? Decide which type of car best suits your needs and limit your search to just that group. Take a look at fuel efficiency comparisons between different vehicle classes, especially if you expect to put a lot of miles on your car or truck. And don’t overlook installed options that you may or may not require in your new vehicle. You don’t want to pay extra for expensive features that you don’t need or want.


3. Find a Reliable Dealer
Ask friends, family, and co-workers if they have had any recent experiences with buying a used car. Word of mouth and personal referrals often yield the best results when looking for a reputable car dealer. Online reviews can also be a good source information on dealership you may be considering. Once you know what you want and where to get it, you are on your way to getting the right car at the right price! Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions until you feel comfortable with the idea of doing business with the dealership. The right dealer can make all the difference in finding an affordable and reliable used car to meet your transportation needs.

4. Take a Test Drive
Once you have your shortlist figured out, it's time to get behind the wheel. 
Test drives can help you determine whether the car is right for you. If you have a lengthy commute be sure to check that the car is comfortable, and the seats provide the lumbar support that you might need. Does the car feel responsive? Are there any blind spots that may impede your safe travel? Don't be afraid to go back and take another test drive just to be sure that this is the right vehicle for you.

5. Compare Prices
Price does not always have to be the deciding factor when making a large purchase, but it should be given thoughtful consideration in the overall decision-making process. When buying a used car, there can be a larger variance in pricing for comparable models. Ask the dealer for advice on car reliability and projected expenses as this can make a car with a higher upfront cost the better option in the long-run.

6. Request a Vehicle History Report
Once you have made your decision or narrowed the search down to two or three possibilities, it is time to look at a vehicle history report. You can do this easily enough yourself once you have the vehicle ID number (VIN). Companies such as 
AutoCheck provide comprehensive information on most autos that can help you finalize your decision. These reports will confirm the amount of mileage on the car, the accidents, if any, that it has been involved in, and other pertinent data. And many dealers will provide these history reports to you free.

7. Confirm the Car Is Still Available
Conducting the necessary amount of research can take a couple of days and it is always best to confirm that the vehicle is still available before you head back to the dealership. At this point, you will likely have a shortlist of two or three vehicles, and if one has been sold during your search it is time to get moving so you don't miss another one.

8. Pre-Purchase Inspection
Once you've made your decision, ask the dealer for a pre-purchase inspection of the used car that you're planning to buy. Many dealers provide extended warranties and sell 
Certified Pre-Owned cars that do not require further inspection by an outside mechanic. If the car you are planning to buy is not CPO, or does not come with a warranty, then spending the $100 or so for a third-party inspection is worth it.

9. Name Your Price
Now that you've got your financing in place, and done your research, and know as much as possible about the car, it's time to name your price. Dealerships these days are geared more toward up-front pricing, but there is still likely room for some negotiations. Prior to any negotiation, you should determine your target price and how much you are willing to adjust it, so that you don't miss out on the car that you want.

 

For those that were not able to get pre-approved due to credit issues, many dealers can help their customers with low credit scores still get auto loans through other financing institutions. If you are in this situation, it’s a good idea to let the dealer know right up front and find out if they can help you with financing before you even start looking at the cars.


10. Insurance
Once you've purchased the car that you want for an affordable price, it's time to get insurance. Many insurers offer discounts for clients who bundle their car coverage with their homeowner's or renter’s policies. Additionally, many auto financing companies and dealerships can help you secure a comprehensive policy for a good price. 

Following the above 10 tips can help you find the right used car for your transportation needs. Today's used cars typically last longer and require fewer repairs when properly maintained. If you are in the market to buy a used car, spending a little extra time doing some research can help you save some money while getting the best car for your needs.

 

Here at Highline Automotive, our goal is, and always has been, to provide our customers with a positive car buying experience. Our inventory includes many of today’s most popular vehicles, both foreign and domestic. And whatever your financial situation, our dedicated staff will help you find the right vehicle for you needs, with affordable financing options, even if you have credit issues. Give us a call at 215-613-6279 or stop in at 4343 Torresdale Avenue to talk to one of our professional team members.