7 Must-Know Tips for Buying a Used Car
Owning a vehicle makes life much easier; you can get around freely, not worry about public transport operation schedules, and just drive around to clear your head when you want to. While most of us dream about that fresh car smell that comes with a completely new car, many cannot afford to purchase a new vehicle.
Luckily, the used car industry is thriving, so you can get your hands on a previously owned vehicle in great mechanical condition. If you are thinking about purchasing a new car, whether from a private seller or a dealership, there are a few things you should first consider, with a VIN check being one of the most important things on the list.
7 Tips for Buying a Used Car
Before getting to the nitty-gritty and finalizing paperwork, you should use the following tips for buying a used car that will help you make the best decision:
1. Set a realistic budget
Yes, this may seem like a basic tip for buying a car, but there is a lot more to owning a car than just buying it. When setting a budget for buying a used car, you should take into account all the monthly and yearly expenses that a vehicle brings with it; the cost of gas, the car's mileage, the cost of repairs, the cost of spare parts, maintenance, and more. Also, you should check and see whether there is a repair shop near your home that is certified to repair the type of vehicle that you purchased to make sure you won't have to pay extra for transport and remote repairs.
2. Look for year-old cars
Year-old cars are practically new, but they cost 25% less than new cars! After a year, cars will usually have 10,000 on the odometer, which lowers the vehicle's value. Aside from the significant reduction in cost, a year-old car will likely be in a better mechanical condition compared to older vehicles, so it is a win-win situation.
3. Define your requirements from your vehicle
Before purchasing a car, you should consider the following and think about which vehicle best suits your needs:
- Long or short drives – will you be taking long drives frequently? Or will most of your drives be close to home?
- Your basic needs – do you need a car for your entire family? or will something small be more suitable for your routine?
- Extra space – will you be needing room in your car for equipment or various items that will take up space? If so, you should consider buying a car with a large trunk
4. Do market research
You can find used cars in independent used car lots, new car dealerships, used car retailers, and online, where private sellers list their vehicles for sale. When you decide which car you want to purchase, compare prices of the make and model in the various used-car vendors you find, and don't be afraid to haggle when necessary.
5. Contact prospective sellers
When you set your sights on a particular car from a particular owner, you can save yourself time and money by contacting them before going to check the vehicle. During your talk, ask the following questions:
- Are you the first owner of the vehicle?
- Do you have the car's title? Is the title clear? (meaning there are no liens on the vehicle)
- Do you have available service records?
- Do you have additional information that didn't appear in the ad?
- Will you be willing to have the car inspected by a mechanic?
The answers to these questions will not only help you learn more about the vehicle but also about the seller and whether you can trust him/her.
6. Take the car for a test drive
A test drive is key when purchasing a used car; when you take the car on the road, you can learn things that do not appear in ads; whether the car's breaks work properly, whether the vehicle is aligned, whether the car has enough power, how it behaves in the corner turns, and how it operates mechanically.
7. Check the vehicle history report
This is important, maybe the most important part of buying a used car; when checking a car's history, you will get a detailed report of the vehicle's history. This check, also known as a VIN (vehicle identification check) will provide you with vital information about the car's history, including:
Accidents the car was involved in that were reported to the insurance company
- Whether the car has a clean title
- The true distance the vehicle drove (some people/car dealerships) set the odometer to show a false number, and a VIN check will show the true distance)
- Whether the car was maintained in a timely manner
Online VIN Check – The Quick and Easy Way to Check a Vehicle's History
You can perform a VIN check with a licensed mechanic, which will cost you, especially if you need to check several vehicle histories. To save yourself time and money, you can perform an online VIN check with ProPeopleSearch.com. To perform the VIN search, enter the 17-digit VIN of a vehicle into the ProPeopleSearch VIN check directory, and within minutes you will receive a full report of the vehicle's history.
While the VIN check is not a substitute for a complete mechanical check, it will help you find out more about a used car's history and decide whether a mechanical inspection is necessary or whether you should search for a different car. Whatever you decide, make sure you follow the tips for buying a used car and most importantly – drive safe.