Are you a first-time buyer or recent graduate looking for a reliable car? Maybe you have bad credit, but need a new vehicle. Either way, your best bet is to look at low cost cars, which means you might need to buy a used car. While that could make you worry that you won’t get a good car, be assured that there are plenty of good pre owned cars out there. Here are some tips to help you find one.
Know the value.
Your first step to buying a used car should be to know the market value of the car you want before you visit the dealer. Try looking online at Kelly Blue Book. You can enter the make, model, year, mileage, features, and condition of a car to get the value. This will give you a good idea of what a car is worth and can help you to negotiate the best price. A used car that is priced at or below the amount you found online is probably a good deal.
Take a test drive.
If you’re looking at low cost cars, you should do more than drive them around the block. First, inspect the outside for any visible damage. Check that there is plenty of tread left on the tires. When you look under the hood, the engine shouldn’t look dirty or have leaks.
When you look inside the car, try out each seat to see if they’re comfortable. Test all of the windows, locks, levers, sound system, a/c, heat, and lights. Look for any stains or smells (like cigarette smoke). If you smell burning gas or oil or see smoke when the car’s running, there could be a serious problem with the car.
When you drive the car, make sure to take it out on the highway, accelerate, decelerate, and test the brakes multiple times. Make sure the car shifts smoothly. You shouldn’t hear any grinding, sputtering, knocking, or squeaking. A good engine will hum smoothly.
Get a mechanic to inspect it.
If you don’t notice anything when you inspect the vehicle, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong with it. You should hire your own mechanic to do a full inspection of any used vehicle you are considering buying. A mechanic probably knows more than you and has the tools to really check things out properly.
Find out the car’s history.
You can research a car’s history online with the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). If you see frequent repairs listed or the same problem appears over and over, the car may not be right for you. Keep in mind that a Carfax report can’t tell you everything. The National Highway Safety Administration says that approximately 10 million accidents go unreported each year.
Pay attention to the mileage.
When you’re looking at low cost cars, you should pay attention to the number of miles on the car and the age of it. On average, people put about 10,000-15,000 miles on a car each year. If you’re looking at a used car that’s only three years old, but it has 100,000 miles on it, that would be considered high mileage. The value will be less because of it. However, if the car is three years old and only has 10,000 miles, that would be considered low mileage, and the value will be higher.
Don’t get attached.
It’s not a good idea to get too attached to a used vehicle until you already own it. You need to make it through the inspections, negotiations, and financing. With a used vehicle, something can go wrong along the way, and you may have to start the process all over again. You also want to be able to negotiate the best price possible, which can be hard to do if you get your heart set on a certain car.
Buying a used car can be a difficult process if you’ve never done it before. If you’re a first time buyer or are looking at low cost cars for the first time, be sure to do your research, stick to your budget, and take your time. Try using some of these tips, and you will find yourself in a great vehicle in no time.
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