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Ultimate Guide: How to Purchase a Used Car

Need a new ride but don’t want to spend a whole lot of money? You could get a great deal by purchasing a used car. But, buying a good used car takes a lot more time and effort than buying a new car since you’ll need to do thorough research to ensure the car is in good condition. Here, we take you through the steps you’ll need to follow to buy a used car. 

Set a Budget

The first thing you need to do is decide how much you want to spend on the car. Even if you are getting a loan, you’ll need to ensure that the monthly payments are affordable. Keep in mind that the older the car is, the lower the price will be. However, you’ll also likely need to spend a lot more on repairs and maintenance, so make sure to take that into account as well. 

Researching Cars

Next, you can start researching cars that fit your budget and lifestyle. For instance, if you have a small family, you could make do with a hatchback or sedan. If you have a family of 6, on the other hand, you may need to get an SUV. When you buy a used car, you’ll also need to check for things like low mileage, history of regular servicing, and lack of major crash damage. Don’t worry, you don’t have to physically visit car lots to do this. You can check car listings online or call the car lot/dealership to inquire about their used cars.

Line Up Financing

Most car buyers don’t spare a minute to think about loans and financing until they’ve zeroed in on a car. Doing this gives the dealer the power to quote you a higher-than-average interest rate. So, before you start visiting car dealerships, line up your financing first. Applying for pre-approval for a loan from a bank will tell you how much you can borrow and what interest you’ll need to pay. So, make sure to do this. 

Inspect and Test Drive the Car

Now that you know how much you can borrow, you can visit dealerships, car lots, and private sellers, to physically inspect the car. When you do this, make sure to look at the interior and exterior for any major damages. If the car appears to be in good condition, you can take it for a test drive. During the test drive, it’s best that you vary the speed and drive for at least 20 minutes to get an idea of how well the car drives. 

Negotiate for a Better Deal with the Dealership

If you are buying your used car from a dealership, it’s a good idea to negotiate for a lower rate. Since you already have a loan offer from a lender, the dealership will more than likely offer you a competitive rate as well.