5 Tips for Buying a Used Car from a Dealership

5 Tips for Buying a Used Car from a Dealership

Buying a used car can be difficult when you don’t know what you need to take into consideration before buying. Yes, you could buy new, but a shiny new car might not be in your budget. Thankfully, it has never been easier to find a reliable pre-owned car.

Follow these expert tips to help you through the process of buying a new car to ensure you end up with a quality car and not a lemon!

Set an Affordable Budget

Before going out to look at used cars, it is wise to set a budget. Yet it isn’t as simple as looking for a monthly payment that you think you can manage. While your monthly payment does need to be manageable, you need to include the cost of interest of your car loan, how much insurance will be for your new ride, and preventative maintenance costs.

Find a balance between the cost to buy and the cost to own. When you purchase an older vehicle, you can expect to pay a lower price, but the older the car, the more likely it will need repairs.

Fortunately, you can learn about repair costs, frequent problems, and the reliability of your specific vehicle with a vehicle history report from SureSale.

Consider a Certified Used Car

If you want peace of mind when purchasing a used car, look for a certified pre-owned vehicle. These cars have been inspected by dealers and must pass specific inspection requirements including:

  • Maximum mileage and age thresholds
  • Restriction of aftermarket add-ons
  • The condition of the transmission system

These requirements are determined by the vehicle manufacturer and will come with extended warranties when deemed a “certified” pre-owned vehicle. While you may pay a little more for a certified pre-owned car, you don’t have to worry about costly repairs a year or so down the road. With a certified pre-owned vehicle, you get reliability and value.

Get a Vehicle History Report

Say you’ve found the used car that you want to buy, and are ready to get started with your loan application. Stop there. Have you evaluated the car with a vehicle history report? A vehicle history report will tell you if the car you are planning to purchase is worth it, or if there are too many red flags to move forward.

To obtain a vehicle history report, you need the car’s VIN number or license plate number. So what’s in the vehicle history report? A vehicle history report can tell you whether the vehicle that you are looking at has been in an accident, has had any flood or fire damage, its title status, maintenance history, odometer readings, recalls, and much more.

While having a vehicle history report will help you make an informed decision, you should still get a detailed pre-purchase inspection done by an independent mechanic.

Get an Independent Mechanic to Inspect

Remember this: don’t pay anything for a new vehicle until you have had an independent mechanic out to inspect it. The only exception to this would be if you are purchasing a relatively new certified used car that comes with factory warranty coverage from a franchised new car dealership.

An independent mechanic works for you, not the seller. While it may cost you some money to get an inspection done, a mechanic can help find and highlight issues that may give you some bargaining power in your price negotiations. A good mechanic will not only find issues that aren’t apparent to most car shoppers; they’ll also be able to estimate how much the repairs would cost which could further help with your negotiations.

If the seller is resisting an inspection, just let them know: no inspection, no sale.

Weigh Age Against Price

Buying a used car can help you save money, and is all about finding a balance between its price and reliability. If the vehicle is too new, it will be more expensive; too old, and it could need extensive repairs. It is recommended that you buy a used car that is around three years old, as chances are it will be in good shape and cost up to 40 percent less than a new vehicle.

Be Sure with SureSale

When purchasing a new car, you need a certified vehicle history report so you can make the most informed purchase decision. At SureSale, we’ve helped thousands of car buyers navigate the jungle of used car buying and help alleviate their car buying concerns.

When browsing at the dealership, look for a SureSale sticker on the car and scan the QR code to view a SureSale vehicle quality report on your phone. Easy!

If it meets the SureSale quality standards, you know it’s a top-notch vehicle. Happy car buying!