What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

It is time to buy another car, so the first questions you typically face include whether you will purchase your new vehicle from the new or the used car lots. You have been eyeing that beautiful new model vehicle, but you are also trying to justify the price. Although you are dying to buy that brand new beauty you opt for the used car option, thinking the value of your budget will go further in the resale market.


However, you have probably been down this road before and you know there are a few things you need to look at or keep in mind throughout your purchasing process. You need to be fully comfortable with the budget you set and hold firm to this budget. We all know that salesmen, particularly used car salesmen, have the reputation of talking their buyers in to spending more than they can afford to pad their own commissions. So know your budget and hold firm, or you could end up with buyer’s remorse.

An educated buyer is a happier buyer. So to make sure you get the best vehicle do your research. Ask yourself a few questions to pinpoint the best type of car for you and your family. Do you have a large family or kids in child seats? Are you active and need to haul either a lot of stuff, sporting equipment or pets? Are you single with no kids looking for a fun ride? Or are you trying to find the most efficient vehicle on the market to get the greatest gas mileage? No matter what your needs are understand them, and be smart on selecting the type of vehicle that best suits your lifestyle and needs.

Once you determine the type, begin your search on the specific vehicle. There are many excellent deals being sold by dealers and even private parties. But beware of the deal that seems too good to be true. More than likely, it is! Whenever possible try and get the specifics on the individual vehicle. If you can get the VIN number, you can do a search to see if the vehicle had been in any accidents, salvaged for any reason or even how regularly it was brought in for service.

All these things are vital to understanding how good this vehicle is. But in addition to the specific vehicle, you should research the pros and cons of the vehicles in general. Have there been any recalls? Are there any common complaints in the Internet or customer reviews? There could be some tell tale signs that a certain make and model might not be as good for you as you would like.

Make sure to test-drive several vehicles. Perhaps you found what looks to be the perfect vehicle at a dealer. If possible, test-drive a few others before driving the car you fell in love with. It will give you a good perspective on how your targeted vehicle performs if you have driven others of the same make and model. Listen for any odd sounds. Test the alignment, for example, is the car pulling off to one side or does it drive straight if you momentarily take your hands off the wheel? This test, by the way, is best performed in an open and empty parking lot.

Bottom line, research is key to making the right decision. And no matter what that salesman tells you, if something doesn’t feel right about the deal, move on!

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited has the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.


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