6 Tips for Buying A Used Car

6 tips for buying a used car

6 Quick Tips to Think About When Purchasing a Used Car

You’ve been considering this purchase for a while now, and the time has come where the rubber meets the road. Given vehicles are a rapidly depreciating asset, you figured a used vehicle would be your best bet, as you aren’t interested in having a large portion of your new car’s value dissipate into thin air as you drive it off the lot. As you gear up for the big day of purchasing a used car, keep the following 6 tips for buying a used car in mind to help you extract the most value for your money!

In Preparation of Purchase Day

1. Research, research, and once you feel you’ve researched enough, do more.

You can never have enough knowledge of your potential vehicle or dealership:

  • Although you want to be armed with an adequate amount of knowledge regarding the type of vehicle you’re looking for – make sure to not get fixated on a specific make, model or feature. Since you’re shopping for a ‘used’ car, these are likely some of the tools you will use to negotiate, and if you’re blinded by any one car or feature, you may let a good deal run right past you.
  • Make sure to utilize tools such as Carfax and Kelley Blue Book to try and triangulate a value range that matches the type of vehicle you are looking for.

2. Remember to not limit your visit to one dealership, or one personal seller.

Just as you used online tools to triangulate a value range, your trips to an actual dealership will supplement this information.

Purchase Day(s)

3. Make sure that the they actually own the vehicle they are attempting to sale.

This can seem obvious, but it is very important. You can achieve this by examining the title and the respective seller’s ID.

4. When purchasing from a dealership or private seller, be diligent about keeping a paper trail.

Whether you’re buying the vehicle ‘as-is,’ under ‘warranty’ or maybe under negotiated terms unique to your circumstances; ensure that everything is spelled out clearly in a contract. Private sellers and dealerships alike could promise you the world, including repairs, but if you do not have it in writing, it makes it easier for them to faulter on those promises.

5. Buying a used car bears inherent risk. The upfront research mitigates some of this risk.

That said, you must also recognize that there could be bad actors in the equation as well. As such, pay close attention to not just your interaction with the private seller, or salesman at the dealership, but the environment also. If you’re speaking to a salesman that’s pushy or trying to play waiting games to drive up your anxiety, in efforts to coerce you into making a purchase, feel free to leave. Do not neglect your gut feeling. You want a private seller or dealership that takes pride in their business, has taken pride in their car, and cares that you’re a happy customer. It’s actually in the best interest of the selling party as often times, they are the first person you call should something breakdown within weeks of your purchase.

Post Purchase Day

6. Within days of purchasing your vehicle, make sure to drive it as much as possible.

In addition, have your neighborhood mechanic check under the hood and drive it as well. The days, and even weeks after a purchase are key because should something go wrong with the vehicle, you may want to return it outright, or simply have the seller or dealership cover the repair costs for whatever has gone wrong.

Purchasing a vehicle is an exciting experience. However, if you’re not prepared it could be quite stressful. Unfortunately, that stress can bleed far beyond your experience at the dealership and carry on for the entirety of your ownership of the vehicle. Needless to say that the heavy lifting done in the beginning of the purchase process regarding research, test driving and getting 3rd party advice (neighborhood mechanic) can save you time, money and a lot of headaches for the years to come as you whiz your new, used car around the city. That’s why you should remember those 6 tips for buying a used car.

All that said, tips for buying a used car is more art than science, so keep an open mind, trust your gut and preparation, and make a decision that you’re confident in and happy with. Best of luck, and don’t forget to make sure you’re properly insured prior to driving your new vehicle off the lot! EINSURANCE.com is always at your hand when you want to compare car insurance quotes from many carriers for free.

About Dale Williams

Dale Q. Williams, MBA, is a well-respected financial executive whose experience spans from insurance to investment banking. Dale has first hand underwriting experience through working for one of the largest U.S. based insurance carriers, and advisory experience from working for several bulge-bracket and middle-market investment banks. Dale also received his MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in finance and accounting.