You cannot always afford the new version of your dream vehicle. When this happens there are other options. You can choose to purchase a used or previously owned vehicle. Buying a used vehicle still allows you to buy a car that is "new" to you.
If you have bought a new car you know how to go to a dealership and negotiate a deal. Dealing with a private seller or used car salesman can be quite different. Instead of pushing for certain options you instead want to get a vehicle that has mileage on it but is still reliable.
Options can still matter when you look at pre-owned cars. You can choose to only look at vehicles that have the right extras but you cannot order a car like you can a new one. Once you get past this and decide to instead concentrate on the durability of the vehicle it will help your search.
When looking at used cars there are certain questions to ask. My husband's first and favorite question is "why is the car for sale?" The answer to this can tell you a lot. If you are asking it in person it helps to see if the person is telling the truth when answering.
The answer can vary from the need a bigger car or a smaller car to moving or just want to change their type of vehicle. If the person is moving or starting a family they are probably giving up the car reluctantly. That is a good thing because it should mean that they took good care of the car and would keep it if circumstances were different.
If the owner says that it is time for a change and leaves it at that it could be a bad indication. What about this car makes the owner want to get rid of it for another one? Are they going to replace it with the same type of vehicle from the same manufacturer? If so this might show you that the vehicle was probably reliable or they would not go back to the same maker.
Find out who was driving the car previously.Was it an elderly couple that only went a few miles a month? Or in contrast was it a teenager that drove the car to its limits? The driver is not always the person that talks to you to about the car so specifically ask if they were the main driver or if it was someone else. If it is someone else ask why they are not talking to you about the vehicle.
Next ask about for the vehicle's maintenance records. You want the person to be honest and give show you the filled in owner's manual record. You can ask for receipts if the person said the tires are new or other parts have just been purchased. This will back up what the seller has said and let you see where they service the car at.
If you continue to be interested in the vehicle at this point you can ask about where the car is serviced and contact that garage. When you contact the service garage or mechanic ask what their overall thoughts are on the car and if it has been well taken care of. The mechanic will hopefully be honest and let you know if there are any repairs that are going to be needed right away.
If the car has not been serviced recently or does not have a normal mechanic you can chose to ask to have your own mechanic to check the car over before you purchase it. You will have to pay the mechanic a minimal fee to inspect the car but if you are serious about purchasing the vehicle it is money well spent. You can find out that the transmission is able to go out and save money by not buying a car that is going to need $800 worth of work right away.
Ask the owner if the car has been taken in for any recalls. Recalls usually are for safety reasons and should be free to the owner so this will also help you gauge how well the person has taken care of the vehicle through out the years. If they stayed current with recalls and always got their oil changed on time you can believe that they took overall good care of their car.
Inspect the car from front to back. Make sure that the owner did not do any modifications that would void any manufacturer warranties that would normally still be intact. If there are modifications are they legal? Some windows are tinted too dark and it is a pain to change that out or get stopped by police for something you did not do.
Make sure that any upgrades were not done to cover up any damage. Ask if the vehicle was involved in any accidents, no matter how minor. If the car has a bra on the front of it check underneath to make sure it is not hiding any flaws. When inspecting the car look for any rust or paint flaws. These might be signs of accident related defects.
By thoroughly inspecting the interior and exterior of the car you should be able to judge how the person took care of the car over the years. A clean interior will indicate the person took pride in the car and did not use it for a locker. If there are maps and food wrappers thrown about this could indicate that the car was driven hard and used as a catch-all for their trash.
Does the trunk have the spare tire and appear neat and clean? Again if it does not than that shows that the person might not have taken good care of the vehicle as a whole.Does the exterior look as if it has been regularly washed and waxed? Take a look at tires and see if they have a lot of brake dust on them or if they are clean as well. Those who keep the tires and rims clean are likely to take better care of the car overall.
If you see neglect on the inside or outside of the vehicle you should probably keep looking for a better taken care of vehicle. If the person does not even clean up the vehicle for people to view it you can guarantee they did not take proper care of the automobile when they were driving it around?
If you have decided that a particular vehicle is well maintained and will fulfill your needs before making an offer do a little research. Research what the vehicle is worth. There are many online sites that you can visit such as Edmunds or NADA that will tell you what a used car in a certain condition is worth. If the person is asking way too much or too little then you might want to walk away.
If the person is asking way to little in fact you might want to run away. It is hardly ever the case that the person does not know what their car is worth. It is more likely the car has hidden problems and the person just wants to get rid of it. If the person is asking around what the used car value is found to be from your research you can start to negotiate for the price that you want.
Remember when looking up book value to put in what options the car has. Things such as color and the mileage are important to figure out the true value of the vehicle. Also read reviews to see what previous owners of this type of car have to say about the reliability of it.
If you have done your research and inspected the used car thoroughly your negotiations should be able to be done confidently. You know what the vehicle is worth and what you should pay. Purchasing a used car can save you a substantial amount of money and still get you a reliable vehicle.