Automobile dealers say buying a used car is more risky than buying a new one. A used car may have some hidden faults, may have been poorly maintained by its previous owner or may have been involved in an accident in the past. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy that used car. Here experts from wisebread.com give insight on key issues car buyers should raise.
Have I done my research?
There are volumes of information online about specific automobile makes and models. If you have a particular car in mind, check out sites like Edmunds.com or kbb.com for expert and consumer reviews that include safety features, performance, dependability, fuel economy, etc. Pay close attention to the qualities that matter most for you and your family.
• How much can I really afford?
Determine how much you can afford for your new set of wheels. Remember to factor in license fees; and any immediate upgrades the car may need, such as new tires. Whether you’re paying cash or financing, err on the side of a conservative estimate and always leave room for contingencies.
•What best suits my lifestyle?
A great value is always tempting, but don’t lose sight of what fits your lifestyle.
Will you be transporting precious cargo (people, or stuff)?
Do you have older parents or in-laws who may need a car that sits a bit higher and is easier to get in and out of?
Do you have a small business that might benefit from a mini-van or small truck?
Explore all the available options and find what suits you best now, with an eye toward the future.
•What will the maintenance and repair costs average?
Many people focus only on the upfront costs of buying a used car and don’t really consider the unplanned or recurring costs. No car runs perfectly all the time, so factor in repair expenses as you shop for what you can afford.
What are the repair cost averages in your area for foreign and domestic models?
Would finding a regular mechanic for a non-domestic car require a long commute?
Also, earlier model cars typically have fewer frills and creature comforts, but that means fewer high-tech engineering features under the hood that can be expensive to maintain, repair, and replace. Take a comprehensive look at the total cost of ownership and decide what works best for you and your resources.
•Is the dealership reputable?
If you’re buying from a dealership, a bit of research can go a long way. Do some online search to see what customers are saying about their experiences with a particular used car dealership.
What has the post-buy customer experience been like?
How has the business responded to customer complaints and helped to resolve issues?
Are there any pending legal issues with the business?
Are customers willing to refer friends and family?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’re in the driver’s seat and in a much better position to make the right choice. Remember, a bit of due diligence and strategy ahead of time will help ensure that your new car is a perfect fit now and still a great value when you decide to sell it later. Drive safe!