The last year was big on financial uncertainty, mass layoffs among a global economic slowdown and the world is still recovering from it. Despite a recession, automakers still reported over 14 million new sales, which suggest that although many financial experts frequently extolling the benefits of a used car, many people still seem to avoid it.
While there’s nothing like, say, a new Toyota Camry, buying a used one can save you more money than you might think. Why do you think thousands of people spend time crafting classifieds on used car websites? The answer is because people spend a lot of their time hunting for that perfect vehicle on pages looking for a used Nissan Altima or, maybe, a used Toyota Camry. And why not? It’s a decision that can save you quite a bit of money.
When done correctly, buying used can be a financial hack for life. Millions of people do so every year, which is why the used car market is as big as the new car market. If you avoid the mistakes, buying a Nissan Altima for sale or Toyota Camry for sale can successfully save you money for a car you love. With that in mind, here are three pointers to keep in mind that will not only help you save money, but also avoid buying a lemon too:
Do your homework
Whether buying new or used, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the smell of rubber and steel around you. Even if you are just browsing, you can be a target for an on-point sales pitch; before you know it, you’re driving out with a car you didn’t want or need. This can very well happen if you do not ask yourselves the right questions.
Even before you set foot into a dealership, you need to meditate on your needs and then do your homework. For example, do you need lots of room for a family or a vehicle that can carry sporting equipment or art supplies? Or are you looking for a smaller car because the city where you live has limited parking? Then again, maybe you’re looking for the very best set of wheels you can get for your budget.
Once you figure out what you really want, you’ve only completed half the job. You then need to narrow down the car model you desire. After you are done pondering upon your wants, needs, and desires, reliability and budget, make your way to the various reputed online resources designed specifically for this purpose for further research.
Consumer Reports, RepairPal, and Kelly Blue Book are reputed websites and services where you can find independent vehicle reports, reliability expectations, annual repair costs, comparison between the various model years, and even the competition which might have better ratings.
Test-drive the car
Of course, you should never blindly trust the online car reports — actually drive the car to see if the car really suits your needs. The test drive will also give you an idea of how it will perform once it is a part of your commute.
Pay full attention to how the car behaves; it’s strongly recommended that you drive with the radio switched off so that you can listen to any noises. If you feel any issues with the handling, lights, and performance issues, bring it to the notice of the seller immediately. If you are not a mechanically sound person, you can get some external help.
Have it inspected by a mechanic
This is an underrated step many people ignore; you can actually have the car inspected by a mechanic prior to purchasing. Not everything gets reported in the listing accurately; some minor problems might get completely missed or even hidden by the seller in hopes of a faster sell-off.
Any reputable dealership will actually allow you to get it to a mechanic for a “pre-purchase inspection“. This step is crucial so that you do not end up with a lemon as mentioned before. A sound mechanic will be able to give you a report if the vehicle is actually as good as it looks.
This should cost you anywhere from $50 to $100 but it typically comes with a safety and maintenance components report; if not, ask for a written report from the mechanic summarizing all his findings. This actually also gets you an upper hand when negotiating the price. Private sellers will reduce the overall cost of the car and in the case of dealerships, they will handle the repairs.
You should remember that friends and family will not always have the right answers, though what they say might be in good faith, it’s always a good idea to listen to the experts and do your due diligence in researching a car. Remember, just because one feels that it is a great deal does not make it one. When you have reputable online services like Consumer Reports and RepairPal, it doesn’t makes little sense to rely on word-of-mouth.
Way too many spend their money in a used car without actually carrying out the necessary research or getting the car checked from a reliable third-party source. They only find out later that the car needs major repairs which will drain more money out of your pocket.
You don’t have to be an auto expert. Yes, buying a used car might be intimidating at first, but with a little due diligence, you can always get a lot of car for your money.
Photo Credit: stock photo