Not all of us afford a shiny new car. For many Americans, buying a used car is their only chance to get a ride. However, there are many sharks in the water and you should avoid being scammed. Check the following tips for buying a used car:
1. Analyze how much you can afford spending for a car. Be realistic about how much you can afford for buying a car and insuring it. Do not forget to research your state’s minimum coverage requirements. If you’re taking out a loan to pay for your car, your car payment shouldn’t be more than 20 percent of your take-home pay. If you’re sticking to a tight budget, you may want to spend even less.
2. Make a list with used car models that interest you. You need to spend a lot of time researching for used car. If you find a good deal, make sure to spend some hours identifying the car’s weak points and if the model was recalled by manufacturer. Also check for typical repair costs and maintenance costs. Keep in mind that used cars usually require periodic maintenance and parts replacement.
3. Look for local used car auctions and sales. Finding used cars in your area is pretty advantageous. First of all, it gives you the opportunity to inspect the car and notice if there are important defects.
4. Use the internet to help you detect the car models you want. There are many websites and forums you can use to track local used cars marketplaces or even talk with owners of used cars. They can tell you more about the car and its history.
5. Get a vehicle history report before buying. You should always ask for a history report from the owner or the dealership. In this way you will know if the car has a bad history. If so, you should better choose another vehicle.
6. Inspect the car closely, preferably with your mechanic nearby. Bring your own specialist when inspecting the car. Look for the following signs:
• Paint overspray
• Stickers that show higher mileage than on the odometer
• Work orders for repairs that show higher mileage than on the odometer
• A hood or trunk that doesn’t close right
• Shimmy in the steering wheel when driving
• Unevenly worn tire thread
• Car is out of alignment
• Title brands noted on the title, such as “salvage,” “junk,” “flood,” or “rebuilt”
• Silt or rust in crevices, the trunk, under carpeting
• Electrical glitches
• Musty smell, mold or mildew