For many people, the car we drive becomes an extension of our personality. Cars afford comfort, style, and convenience. They offer a fun ride, reliability, and safety despite varying weather conditions and road hazards. Buying a used car differs from buying a new car in that someone else has already owned, cared for, and driven the car before you. It’s important to do your homework before buying a used car as your mileage may vary from one dealership to the next.
If you are looking to purchase a used car, first review this six-point checklist before you even show up on the lot.
- Research cars online before visiting the dealer
Narrow down your list of potential cars to a few models that suit your lifestyle and budget. Check to see where you can find certified pre-owned cars as well as the widest variety of cars to check out and test drive, like Greeley CO local used cars. Give some thought to what makes each make and model of car a good fit for you and know what kind of fuel economy is essential in the car you’ll buy. Above all, know what you are able to responsibly afford for a payment!
- Check your credit score before you go
Take the time to discover where you stand financially and see what is realistic for your budget. Your credit score will determine the size of the loan you qualify for. While you’re at it, you might as well check in with your insurance company on the cars you’ve researched to see how the new set of wheels may impact your monthly or biannual bills.
- Think about your must-haves vs. your wants
Some elements of a car may be essential to your lifestyle, while others may simply be nice to have. For a family with children, a four-door SUV with ample cargo space to accommodate strollers and belongings may be a more comfortable choice than a compact car with limited trunk space. Likewise, a driver without a large family may find that the bigger considerations come with performance, fuel economy, and mileage, not to mention stereo system, navigation, and moon roof.
- Make a budget and stick to it
Before you even go to see a car in person, commit yourself to what you can afford and what you are willing to spend once everything is said and done. Remember, in addition to your budget to buy the car, you should also be aware of any costs for ongoing maintenance or upcoming repairs that may come due soon.
- Ask for the Vehicle History Report
Since someone else owned and drove the car before you, you may not be privy to any problems, previous repairs, modifications, or accidents that occurred with each vehicle. Before you agree to purchase the car, ask for a full disclosure in the form of a vehicle history report.
- Ask lots of questions!
The dealership will gladly answer any questions you have about the car. Think of everything you can possibly ask before deciding if this is the right car for you. Ask about the warranty, what’s covered, and whether the car has any unique features or requirements. Ask any questions that come to mind and remember that the dealership is there to help you find the right car for your needs.