If you’re in the market for a pre-owned vehicle, you’re in luck — advances in engineering and manufacturing technology have resulted in cars that last far longer than their counterparts of the past. However, getting the best deal on a used car nonetheless requires that you do your due diligence. Here’s how to hedge your bets before making a final purchasing decision on your next pre-owned car.
Determine a Firm Price Range
Going to a dealership without a firm price range may increase your chances of ending up with a car that stretches your budget a little bit more than you’d like. Having your price range figured out before you go car shopping helps keep you from being tempted by something out of your price range, and it also provides the salesperson with the basic information necessary to guide you to the available stock that best suits your individual needs and preferences. You can research price ranges of various makes and models using the Kelly Blue Book on the Cars 911 website. It even gives you the option of determining prices by the condition of the vehicle.
When determining your price range, don’t forget to take into consideration any applicable out-of-pocket costs such as vehicle registration and insurance payments, as well as factor in the costs of having a trusted mechanic completely inspect the car prior to purchase.
Perform a Vehicle History Report
You should never purchase a car without first performing a vehicle history report. Each car has its own unique Vehicle Identification Number, (VIN), that can be used to trace the entire history of a used car, including service records, accident reports, all prior owners, liens that may be on the car and recalls. Services such as CARFAX and AutoCheck can provide you with a copy of any car’s VIN report. Always consider it a huge red flag if a dealership or private seller is reluctant to provide you with the VIN.
Take a Test Drive
If the vehicle history report checks out positive, the next step is a test drive — but don’t just drive the car around the block. Here’s how to take a test drive that matters:
Make sure everything works. Test the turn signals, brake lights, emergency flashers, and headlights. Inspect both the exterior and interior of the vehicle for signs of damage, and pay particular attention to the color of the paint on the panels — variations in color indicate that the vehicle may have been in a collision that the VIN report missed. Mismatched tires may also be a sign that the car was in a crash at some point.
Be sure to test the air conditioner and heater as well, and pay close attention to the overall driving experience. If something feels off about the car, it’s best to continue with your search.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at your convenience for more information on making the right used car purchase.
At Cars 911, we believe when you’re shopping for a pre-owned car, finding the car you want at a price you can afford is priority. Visit our lot to see all of our inventory available to you.