If you’re in the market for a new car and you’ve made the decision to buy a used one, there are many things to consider before finalizing the purchase.
Buying a used car can be overwhelming and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve shared some great tips to consider when you are thinking about purchasing a used vehicle.
Seven Tips to Consider Before You Buy a Used Car
#1 Who Should You Buy From?
When it comes to buying a used car, you can buy from a private seller or a dealership. If you purchase from a dealer, you are purchasing from a licenced seller and they can offer you more assurances than a private seller.
If you do buy from a private seller, it’s important to do your research. For example, you’ll want to be sure that the car has never experienced flood damage.
#2 Know Your Budget
It’s extremely important to know what your budget is before you buy a used car. You should consider what’s financially viable, how much insurance will be, potential taxes, and build in some short-term maintenance costs estimates.
Remember, just because you can afford to pay a certain amount doesn’t mean you should. Consider your needs before making any purchasing decisions.
#3 Make a List and Research Car Prices
Once you have your budget established you can start doing research on cars within your price range and what they are actually worth. Canadian Black Book is a useful tool you may want to try because it shows cost estimates and it’s free.
#4 Contact the Seller
Whether you’re buying a used car from a private seller or dealership, here are some questions to ask:
- Why are you selling?
- What is the car’s ownership history?
- Has the car been involved in any accidents?
- Did the car have regular oil changes and other maintenance?
- Has anything been repaired, replaced, or modified?
#5 Double Check the Car’s History
It’s important to know the car’s history and unfortunately, you cannot necessarily rely only on the seller’s word. Request the vehicle’s VIN so you can obtain a history report (through CARFAX). The vehicle history report will provide you with a lot of useful information and will verify if the seller was honest.
#6 Inspection and Test Drive
Once you book a time to test drive the car, do an inspection, and look for the following red flags:
- Mismatched paint anywhere on the car – could be covering up previous damage
- Upholstery tears
- Warped frame – indicates the car was involved in a major accident
- Uneven tire tread – could mean more problems in the wheel alignment
- Leaks or discoloured fluids
It may even be worth your while to invest in a third-party inspection before you purchase a used car.
From the research you have done you should walk into a negotiation confident and prepared. The most important things to remember going into negotiation are:
- Don’t be afraid to counter-offer
- Give yourself time to make your decision
- Be ready to walk away