Used Car Buying Guide

With a less than booming economy, used car sales have increased. A recent report on MSN reported nearly 40 million being purchased last year alone. There are plenty of options too, so how do you go about picking the right one?

Choosing a Car

Test drives and perusing lots at night to avoid over zealous salesmen is all fun and games. But when it comes to actually settling on a car…make sure you know what it is you need, not what you want. Sports cars are great if you’re single, but if you’re married that’s a different story. They aren’t going to get anyone to soccer practice or help you move into the new house. Keep your lifestyle–family, recreation, and driving habits–in mind for starters.

Research

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a type of vehicle–SUV, truck, van, sedan, etc.–dig a little deeper than gas mileage and features. Check Kelley Blue Book for approximate values of the vehicle in question. This will help in determining which dealer/seller to go with and in negotiating a final price.

All used cars are required to have a Buyers Guide that will contain information in regards to warranty, inspection, and some well-known problems associated with each vehicle. If this isn’t explicitly offered, go ahead and ask your dealer or salesman for a copy.

Dealerships and sellers can easily tell you about all the perks that come with each vehicle, so turn to consumers for the hard truth. Consumer reviews will abound with common mechanical and performance issues. Knowing what’s in store could save you a ton of money in the future. Now that you know just what you’ve gotten yourself in to, don’t be a stick in the mud.

Be Flexible

Setting your hopes and sights on one car could be a huge mistake. While cars like the Ford Focus and Toyota Camry are still in high demand, new and used, they also carry a higher price tag. Don’t be quick to shun other cars within the same class. Less popular makes and models, such as the Chevy Malibu or Mazada 6, are equally reliable vehicles and aren’t likely to put as big a hole in your wallet.

Car shopping is portrayed as this exciting, fun event. In reality, it’s usually a lot more overwhelming and daunting than we want it to be. Knowing the facts before you dive into your latest investment will make it worth the ride.

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