Buying a Used Car: Everything You Need to Know

Buying a used car is like hunting for treasure – there is probably a deal on a car out there that meets all your requirements and fits your budget. You just need to know how to shop and where to look.

Choosing to buy a pre-owned car instead of a new one is also a wise financial choice. By purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, you’ll save money on registration, insurance, taxes, and your car won’t lose its value as soon as it’s driven off the lot.

Now is also the best time to buy a used car – due to advancing technology, they have never been more reliable. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some to rack up more than 100,000 miles on the clock without giving any trouble.

This guide will walk you through the process, from choosing a car to the extras offered by used car warranty companies.

Choosing a Used Car

Deciding which car to buy will depend on your budget. You can either pay for it in cash or take out a loan. If you decide to finance your vehicle, you can use an auto loan calculator to determine how much you can afford for car payments every month. When deciding on your car budget, try to stick to a figure that’s less than 20% of your monthly income.

Once you’ve determined how much you can spend on a car, you can start researching vehicles to decide which one suits your needs. Think about what you’ll be using the vehicle for and what your priorities are. For instance, if it will be a family car, you may prioritize features like safety features and size.

Making a list of your priorities will help you narrow down your search. You can use a tool like Car Finder to find a few options that meet your criteria.

When you decide what car you’re looking for, look up what the market price should be in the Kelley Blue Book. You’ll need to look it up by the year, make, and model. Generally, annual mileage is around 12,000 on a used car. If the mileage is more or less than 12,000 miles, the price is adjusted.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

When deciding on which car to buy, you should consider models that are better known for their reliability. You can check a model’s dependability rating on sites such as Consumer Reports.

Another factor to consider is the total cost of ownership, which takes into account how much the car will cost initially, how much maintenance will cost over time, and how much it will depreciate. You can look at websites like Kelley Blue Book’s Five-Year Cost to Own and Consumer Reports’ Cost of Vehicle Ownership.

Before purchasing any used car, you should ask your mechanic to conduct a thorough inspection.

Negotiating and Closing the Deal

Although everyone dreads negotiating with the seller, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience if you’ve done your research and know what the car is worth. After you’ve closed the seal and before you drive the car off the lot, make sure it has been added to your insurance policy.

If you’re buying your car from a dealership, you will have the option to purchase extra services and products, such as an extended car warranty. An extended auto warranty is an excellent way to get peace of mind if your car breaks down unexpectedly and you can’t afford expensive repairs.

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