How do I know the real value of a car ? How can I tell if a car is in decent shape ? What should I look for during a test drive ? If you have ever considered buying a used vehicle, you have probably pondered all these questions and more. There are a seemingly endless number of factors to consider when shopping for a used car . Take the time to thoroughly research and evaluate anything that catches your eye. Keep the following advice in mind and you’ll be pounding the car lot pavement in no time!
Know what you’re looking for
What will be the primary use of your new set of wheels? A baby buggy with plenty of space for car seats, diaper bags and strollers? Something sleek and sporty for enjoying the ride? Or a fuel sipper to make your daily commute to work as fuel-efficient as possible? Are you going to be driving mostly on the highway or on country roads? Whatever your criteria are, defining them well in advance will help you narrow your search. For example, air conditioning and audio ports may be less crucial if you simply need a reliable set of wheels.
It pays to pay for an expert’s advice
Like any major purchase, evaluating the car’s condition before putting any money down is a crucial step in your search. To get an accurate idea of what state it’s in, ask your mechanic to inspect the underside. Sure, you may be able to apply makeup or trim your beard looking at your reflection in the body paint. But this doesn’t tell you what’s under the hood, which is where all the important parts are. You could save hundreds of dollars by ensuring that the car you’re hoping to buy doesn’t need any major repairs. Furthermore, you’ll get a better idea of whether the car is actually worth the seller’s asking price.
Take it for a spin
When getting behind the wheel, be sure to pay attention to any strange noises. Likewise, excessive vibrations during operation are a telltale sign that something needs fixing. (Again, this is where your mechanic comes in!). Test out the acceleration capacity, brakes and controls such as the air conditioning, heating and mirrors. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check that the windows work (yes, all of them!)! Take note of any defects—you’ll want to mention them when bargaining as they’ll help you negotiate a reasonable price.
Look down the road….
Car ownership involves many major expenses long after the keys are handed over. Insurance is a continuous expense for every car owner, however the cost will depend on your age, province of residence, etc. Shop around for an affordable policy that offers the services you’re looking for. For instance, some offer first accident forgiveness or claim service guarantees. Adding your new car to any existing policy is a great way to save, as many providers offer multi-vehicle discounts. Also, think about how long you plan on owning the car. If you’ll only have it for a few years, its condition might be less important than if you are planning on owning it for a longer period. On the other hand, a car in better shape will be easier to re-sell.
Think you have finally found the vehicle of your dreams? Ready to bargain? To avoid being gouged, check the average market value for the make and model of the car you’re interested in. Additionally, get a CarProof report to ensure you’re not buying a car that is registered as collateral.