Deciding whether to buy a new or used car is a difficult decision. Do you splurge on a new car with all the latest bells and whistles? Or save some cash and buy a used car,which may need expensive repairs in the near future? No matter what, you’ll be better off if you do your homework on the vehicle of your choice–especially when it comes to purchasing a used car.
Used cars offer many benefits, including lower price and insurance rates, and none of the fees associated with new cars. However, unlike new cars, sellers are not required to repair any unaddressed recall issues in used cars. According to Carfax, nearly 1 in 5 cars on the road have unfixed recall issues.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to consumers to help them learn about the history of the vehicle they’re interested in buying. Follow these tips to make sure you’re not buying a lemon:
- Research the vehicle’s history: If you’re buying from an individual, ask to see any paperwork regarding the vehicle’s repair history. If you’re working with a dealership, get in touch with the vehicle’s manufacturer for information on recalls if the dealership can’t provide you with adequate information.
- Check on any recalls at the government’s Safer car website. All you need is the vehicle’s VIN number.
- Make use of Carfax’s vehicle history reports to learn more about any car you’re considering buying.
When buying a used car, however, it’s important to get the facts. While the GROW AMERICA Act is working toward creating laws that will better protect buyers of used cars, those laws are not here yet. It’s up to you as a buyer to do the necessary research to ensure your safety.
Choosing a Used Car
One of the hardest things to figure out when buying a used car is which one to buy. Fortunately, you can get a used car with many of the most popular features today if you shop around. Most people choose a used car to save money, but there are a few other things to think about as well.
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Choose a Year Range
While it is possible to get a used car that is the current model year, you will likely get a car that is an earlier model year. If this is the case, make sure that you stay within a certain year range. If there is a specific feature that you want, then you have to stay within the years that made that feature available. For example, many of the latest driver-assist features are only five years old while cruise control has been around for more than a decade.
If you are not tied to a specific feature and you don’t want a classic car, then try to stay within a four-year window. Cars can change significantly within a few years. The shorter the window, the more updated the designs and safety features will be.
Decide What You Need
Getting a used car is often a compromise on price, but it is easy to compromise too much on the price. This will likely lead to you getting a car that doesn’t fit your needs. You have to decide what you need before looking for a car since it will guide the entire process. For example, if you have a family of seven, then you need an SUV or a van. Nothing else will have the seating that you need, so no price will make that car valuable enough to get.
Steps to Buying a Used Car
Buying a used car is a process and you need to follow all of the steps in order to protect yourself. Unlike new cars, there is a higher chance that you will end up with car problems. Here is what you should do when buying a new car:
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Outline Your Requirements
Start by outlining your requirements for this new car. Identify the features that you need, like seating and performance specifications. You can include on that list features that you want, but make sure that you identify the features that are mandatory. When you begin your search, eliminate any car that does not fit your requirements.
Do Your Research
Don’t buy the first used car that you see. Instead, shop around to see what is available. Check several places that you think you can trust. That way, you’ll get a good idea of what is available, what meets your needs, and what prices you can expect. When you find a car that you like and that meets your needs, then research if further. Find out if there are any problems that you can expect with that model, and look up prices for comparable options.
Check the VIN Number and Car History
Every car has a unique ID number called a VIN number. It is usually visible on the back of the dashboard from the front window. If you like the car, write down the VIN number and do your research on it. See if you can find any history for the vehicle, like previous owners, accident records, and repair records. You can use services like Carfax to make your search much easier.
Negotiate with the Owner or Dealer
Have a conversation with the dealer about the price of the vehicle. You can negotiate the price down or for extra services or accessories for the vehicle. Not every dealer will be willing to negotiate on used vehicles, but it is always worth a try since negotiating could save you thousands of dollars.
Make Your Final Decision
When you are happy with the vehicle and the price, make your final decision. It can be stressful to decide, but you will need to make a decision soon. Remember that even though it is a used car, you are still protected by lemon laws and other protections. If you really don’t like the car, then you can always sell it again or see if the dealer will take it back.