5 Essential Steps to Take Before Buying a Used Car

buying used car checklist

Buying isn’t just about finding the right car and ensuring you can afford it. Consider getting preapproved for financing and ensure your monthly payments will be at most 10% of your take-home pay. Set your budget before you start shopping, and use everything you’ve learned to make a strong case for why the seller should lower their asking price.

Get Preapproved for Financing

It’s no secret that used cars Kingston prices have increased in recent years. However, you can still find a reliable ride at an affordable price. It takes extra preparation. Before shopping for a vehicle, apply for preapproval with your lender of choice. This will give you a clear idea of what vehicles fall within your budget and how much you can afford to pay each month. It’s also an excellent way to avoid dealership markups and upsells such as gap policies, warranties, and other insurance products. It can even help you avoid paying a higher interest rate on your loan, saving you hundreds in the long run.

Check the Car’s History

Before you even step inside a used car, take a moment to make a checklist of essential features. This can help you narrow your search and find the best options. Then, ask about the vehicle’s history. It would be best to ask how many owners the car has had and why they’re selling it. For example, if used for ridesharing, it may have more wear and tear than a personal car. It’s also helpful to ask whether the seller has maintenance receipts available. These can tell you when the car was serviced and by whom.

Take the Car for a Test Drive

Whether buying from a dealer or a private seller, taking the car for a test drive is a good idea. It’s an excellent opportunity to feel how comfortable the seats are and see if you can easily fit in the back seat for longer trips. While testing the car, leave the stereo system off so you can listen to how the engine sounds. Hearing squeaks, rattles, or whines could be a sign of problems with the vehicle’s mechanical condition. Also, listen to how the transmission shifts gears and check that the brakes work correctly. And remember to drive the vehicle over rough road surfaces to see how it handles those conditions. These tips will help you make an intelligent choice regarding your next used car.

Ask for a Warranty

Purchasing a used vehicle can feel intimidating, but it’s an easy process with the right tools. In addition to a Vehicle History Report, test drive, and pre-purchase inspection by a licensed mechanic, it’s essential to ask for a warranty from the seller. Car dealers are required to post a Buyers Guide for each used car, and unless there’s a written contract between you and the dealer that says otherwise, implied warranties will stand in place of any conflicting provisions in your purchase agreement. Private sellers can’t provide a buyer’s guide, but some are willing to pay for the service of an AutoCheck or Carfax report so you can learn more about the vehicle’s history. Also, ask if the seller has kept records of their maintenance.

Make the Offer

Whether buying from a private seller or at a dealership, it’s essential to enter the car-buying process knowing how much the vehicle you’re interested in is worth. This will help you determine a fair price to offer and let you know if the dealer is giving you a good deal. When negotiating with car salespeople, it’s essential to confidently make an opening offer and counteroffer as you would in any other situation. To do so, you should research the model you’re interested in ahead of time to see what other similar vehicles are selling for, and then go into the negotiation with a clear plan of your max price. It’s also helpful to be aware of extra fees, such as VIN etching or reconditioning fees, so that you can question them and ensure you’re paying a fair price.

Daniel Maynard

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