5 Used Car Buying Tips To Save You Cash


If you can’t afford to buy a brand new car, buying a new-to-you car, or a used car as they are more commonly called, is the next best thing. When you buy a used car you have two different options, #1 buy from a car dealer and #2 buy from a private seller. Although buying a used car from a dealer and a private seller will be two very different experiences there are many similarities between the two. This article will provide you with some used car buying tips to help you save some cash and make sure you don’t end up with a lemon.

Tip #1 – Searching for a Used Car

There are many options to help you search for that used car that is right for you, from print classifieds to internet classifieds and used car sites. The internet makes searching for and comparing cars easy and it will also help you to do a little research on the vehicle you are planning on buying. If saving money is your biggest concern you should try to remain flexible in your search, this includes being flexible on the make, model, and even location of the vehicle. It may even be worth the trip to purchase a vehicle that is located outside of your city limits.

Tip #2 – Communicating with the Seller

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to potential vehicles that you would like to purchase, your next task is to inquire about the condition of the car. Whether you are using email or speaking to the seller directly the following questions will help you get a better idea on the condition of the car:

1) Ask them why they are selling the vehicle.
2) Get them to describe the condition of the car.
3) Find out if it has ever been in an accident.
4) Inquire about mechanical and maintenance records and ask them to have them available for you when you come to see the car.
5) And finally find out if they have any objections to you taking the car to a private mechanic for your own inspection.

You also want to ask about any details that were not included in the original ad, like the mileage.

Tip #3 – Viewing the Vehicle

Once you have gotten all the information and narrowed down your list to vehicles that seem to be a good deal your next step is to set up a time to actually go see the vehicle. Don’t feel bad about asking someone to come with you, if they have a better understanding of cars than you do they may help you to avoid a potential money pit. Some viewing tips are as follows:

1) Always set up a time to see the vehicle during the day, it will help you to spot any obvious flaws.
2) As mentioned bring along a friend as a second set of eyes to ensure there is nothing wrong with the used car.
3) Take your time with your examination, as this is a crucial step you don’t want to rush and overlook anything.
4) Look at all the bodylines, do the hood, trunk, and doors line up with the rest of the car? If they don’t this could be a sign that the car was in an accident.
5) Also look for signs of repainting by checking for over spray in the trunk and the engine compartment. Again this can be a clear sign that the car has had some bodywork after an accident.
6) Look for rust both on the undercarriage and inside the car and trunk. Rust on the inside on bolts and other metal fasteners can be a sign that the car has had some flood damage.
7) Do the ole’ tire kick, well not really, but you should look at the tread wear pattern on the tires. Uneven wear could be a sign of a suspension problem. 
8) Check that all the power options work, including windows, locks, trunk, lights, etc.
9) Turn on the air conditioning to make it is working in proper order. Also check the heater and defroster.
10) Check the oil and while you are looking in the engine compartment look for any signs of leaks.

Tip # 4 – The Test Drive

If the vehicle has passed your rigorous visual inspection it is now time to take that puppy out for a test drive and see what it can do. It’s not a bad idea to take the seller along with you so you can ask about any unexpected noises that pop up while you are on your test drive. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when you are on your test drive:

1) In a vehicle with an automatic transmission look for signs of slippage. When you accelerate, there should not be any hesitation between the engine’s acceleration and the car’s. If there is, it is a sure sign of transmission wear.
2) Test the brakes, both regular and ABS. The car should stop straight and quickly, without pulling to one side and without any vibration.

Tip #5 – Negotiating

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, when it comes to buying a used car from a car dealer and a private seller they are two very different experiences. This is most apparent when it comes to negotiating, as car dealers have a lot of experience when it comes to negotiating and most individuals do not. Here are a few tips to help you with negotiating:1) Since the price of a used car is based entirely on its condition, mileage, reliability, performance and popularity having done your research before hand will give you some inside knowledge that you can use to your advantage.
2) Try to remain positive and confident and if you need some handholding bring along a friend for moral support.
3) If you think you will need some financial help, speak to your bank first and see what kind of rates you can get. This will give you a little extra negotiating room with the dealer.
4) And finally make your opening offer low, but one that is still in the ballpark. For those that are not comfortable with negotiating a price for a used car, today many car dealers are now offering a Value Pricing System where the pricing for vehicles are fixed. In a Value Pricing System dealers have already dropped the selling price so negotiations are not necessary.  One final tip, you should always remember to read the fine print before signing anything. If you don’t fully understand any of the terms and conditions make sure you ask someone who is knowledgeable about contracts to explain it to you.


Source by Corey Rozon