On an average, the price of car drops by as much 30%-40% in the very first year since its purchase. While this means bad news for people looking to sell their cars, it is quite the contrary for prospective buyers of used cars. By buying a used car, you will save money not only on the cost of the car but also on the insurance. Having said as much, looking for a used car is no child’s play as there are a number of factors that need to be considered. As a buyer, you will need to do your homework before and during the actual process of buying a used car.
Here is a step by step guide for buying a used car:
1. Choose the car you want according to your budget
Before you even start searching for a car, you must have a clear idea of a few things including your priorities, your expectation from a car and your budget. Be very sure of what you are looking for in a car – are your demands purely utilitarian or are you considering additional features or appearance etc. Depending on such concerns, narrow down your choice to 2-3 cars. At times, you might need to make some compromises according to your budget. It is important to understand that the most popular cars are usually more expensive than others which might offer the very same features. If you are willing to consider different options, you might find a better deal for yourself.
2. Gather information about the used car
Once you have narrowed down your options, you must try and gather all the information you can including details about warranty, safety and standard features. Also look for photos and reviews. You can use online resources like ISeeCars’s review section to get a compilation of professional reviews. It is imperative that you run a history check on the used car you want to buy. Using the VIN or the Vehicle Identification Number of the car, you can access complete vehicle history reports through websites like AutoCheck.com. In some cases, people roll back the odometer rating through a process known as clocking to impress prospective buyers. Alternatively, some cars are written off by insurance companies and people try to sell these off by getting some superficial repairs. A vehicle history check will alert you of any suspicious activities.
A vehicle history check becomes all the more relevant if you are buying an uncertified used car without any warranty provided by the original manufacturer. A certified used car, on the other hand, is deemed fit for sale by the manufacturers themselves and sometimes, it even comes with a factory warranty. Finally, check the car for any signs of visible damage and be sure to take a lengthy test drive, to ensure you are comfortable with all aspects of driving the car. Even ask family or friends to join you in the test drive; it’s that important!
3. Get the documents in order
Buying a used car involves a lot of paperwork, right from inspecting the original certificates to making new ones to indicate transfer of ownership. To begin with, you must ensure that the car is completely debt free by checking all documents related to financing. After this has been done, you will have to sign documents stating the transfer of ownership and the registration of the car in a new state or province, if necessary. As the golden rule goes, never drive a car without proper insurance. Soon after the transfer has been completed, a representative from an insurance agency will contact you regarding the car’s insurance. He or she will offer a variety of extended warranty options and you can choose according to your needs. Finally, a contract will be prepared which will contain details including the cost of the car, the registration fee, the license fee etc. Read through this document carefully before you sign it. This should be the final step before you get to hit the road with your new car.
4. Drive home in your ‘New-Used’ Vehicle!