You want to spend less for the next vehicle you choose to buy, which means you’re going to buy a used car as the one you want to drive for the next several years.
There are several factors to consider when you’re ready for the next car. You need to know that you can afford the vehicle, it will meet your needs, and its one that will last. Here are some helpful hints for your used car buying experience:
What Price Can You Afford
When looking at your budget, it’s important to make sure you don’t spend more than twenty percent of your take-home pay on a vehicle. If you have a tight budget that doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room, that number might be even less. Once you calculate this number, you can start to build a list of cars in your area that could be right for you.
Visit the Dealership You Choose
After you’ve located the used car you want to drive, you need to visit the dealership where you’ll be able to ask for a copy of the vehicle history report and learn more about what the car has been through. Take the car out for a drive and make sure you spend some time testing all the features and qualities it has to offer so that you can learn more about whether or not it should be the right used car for you.
Test Drive Questions
Ask yourself or the dealer these questions during your test drive:
- Is it easy to get in and out of the car without stooping or banging your head?
- Is there enough headroom, hip room, and legroom? Remember to see how these feel in the back seat, too.
- Is the driving position comfortable? Do you sit too low, too high or just right in the car? Can you tilt or telescope the steering wheel for a better fit?
- Are the seats comfortable? Are they easily adjustable? Is there a lumbar support adjustment for the driver? How about the front-seat passenger?
- Do you see a lit “check engine” light? If so, get that problem checked out before buying.
- How is the visibility? Check the rearview mirror and the side mirrors. Look for potential blind spots.
- Use your nose. Do you smell gas, burning oil, or anything amiss?
- Check out the tires. How old are they? Is there enough tread left?
- How are the brakes? Are they doing the job of stopping the car? Do they squeak?
- Pop the hood. You don’t have to know a lot about cars to see if something looks wrong. If something is leaking, steaming or covered in oil, it’s time to ask questions.
- Does the air-conditioning blow cold? Do headlights, brake lights and turn indicators work? Test them to be sure.
Inspect, Negotiate, and Close the Deal
If you’re happy with the test drive, take the car to be inspected to let a professional tell you if there’s something wrong with the vehicle. If everything looks good, negotiate and close a great deal so that you get the financing you need and then, just enjoy the drive.