The Ultimate Guide on How to Choose a Used Car


Are you looking to buy a used car, but aren't quite sure how to go about doing it?
Buying a used car is a great decision, as it can save you tons of money. However, you need to make sure you go about it the right way. Otherwise, you could end up with a lemon. 

So, how do you go about buying a used car?

Check out this guide to discover everything you need to know about how to choose a used car. 


Figure Out Your Budget 

When buying a used car, the very first thing you need to do is figure out your budget. While buying a used car is almost always cheaper than buying a new car, you have to keep in mind that there are other fees to worry about besides the initial price tag. 

In addition to paying for the car itself, you'll also have to pay for licensing fees, taxes, and insurance. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn't spend more than 20% of your annual salary on a new car, especially if you have other bills and financial responsibilities to worry about. 

You also need to figure out whether you want to take a loan out for the car or pay in cash. If you don't want to dig into your savings to pay for the car, then taking out a loan is usually a good idea. But, keep in mind that loans come with interest rates, so you'll end up paying more in the long run. 

It's also important to keep in mind that a used car is going to require a bit more maintenance than a used car, so you'll also need to factor this into your budget. 

Do Your Research

Once you've determined your budget, it's time to start researching vehicles. Typically, it's best to begin your research online. 

To start your research, think about what's most important to you when buying a used car. For example, if price is the main objective, then start by Googling, "cheapest vehicle make and models". If you want a car that's environmentally-friendly, then you can start out by Googling, "Most eco-conscious cars". 

Once you have a list going of several different makes and models, you can check if your local dealership is selling this type of car in a used version. You can also check with private sellers in your area.

Inspect the Interior and Exterior

Once you have a list of several cars you like, it's time to check them out in person. When checking out a car in person, you want to take your time inspecting the interior and the exterior. 

Here's what you should look for:

Check for scratches, dents, and rust on the exterior

Make sure the body panels line up evenly (uneven panels may indicate that the car was in an accident and repaired poorly)

Open and close the doors, hood, and trunk to see how easily they move

Check for paint overspray on the side of the trunk, hood, and doors, and make sure the color of the car matches on all parts

Look for wear and tear on the seats and upholstery

Note the smell of the car — if it's musty, check the floor mats and carpet for signs of water damage
 
Check to see if the engine is dirty, a dirty engine can be a sign of poor maintenance

It's very important that you inspect the vehicle carefully inch-by-inch. While a lot of issues on this list aren't deal-breakers, pointing out problems with the car can help you negotiate a better price. 

Take the Car for a Test Drive

After you've inspected the car, it's time to take it for a test drive. This will not only help you determine the condition of the car, but it'll also help you decide whether or not the car is a good fit for you. 

When you turn on the car, make sure all the lights on the dashboard turn on. If they do not all light up, then make sure this issue is inspected. 

When starting the engine, you should listen for any clicking or tapping sounds, as these may indicate a problem. Keep your eyes and ears peeled throughout the test drive, and if you can, drive the car on different types of roads. 

Also, make sure the brakes work properly and make note of any unusual noises or issues. 

Consider the Mileage

Another very important thing you need to take into consideration when buying a used car is the mileage. 

It's important to keep in mind that high mileage doesn't automatically mean the car is in bad shape, just as low mileage doesn't mean there aren't any issues. So, what's good mileage for a used car?

Unfortunately, there's not really a simple answer to this question. We encourage you to click here to find out more about car mileage and how it affects the vehicle. 

Have a Mechanic Inspect It

In addition to doing a thorough inspection on your own, you should also have a mechanic take a look at the car before buying it. 

Most auto boy shops perform pre-purchase inspections. These inspections are well worth the price, as they can save you from buying a car with major issues. 

After the inspection is complete, you can feel better knowing the car is in sound shape. 

Check Out the Vehicle History Report 

Last but not least, make sure you ask for a copy of the vehicle history report. 
A vehicle history report can reveal a lot about a car. This report will tell you about ownership history, title problems, previous accidents, and service points. 

You can purchase the vehicle history report online by entering the VIN (vehicle identification number) or license plate number. 

How to Choose a Used Car: Are You Ready to Buy? 

Now that you know how to choose a used car, it's time to put these tips into action. Before you know it, you'll be cruising down the road in your "new" vehicle. 

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more car-related news and tips.



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