The price of new cars have gone up recently due to added safety features and technology perks that are now becoming standard. Because of that, more folks are giving used cars a second look for the next vehicle purchase. Most dealerships offer used cars as part of their inventory but you can also find a wide selection from rental car companies and with private sales. If you’re thinking about a used car, then you’ll want to ask these five questions and get good answers:
How used is used?
Cars are being designed to go past the 100,000 mile mark and beyond. With regular maintenance, you can certainly extend the life of your car to those big mileage numbers. However, if you’re already starting out over 100,000 miles, then you might be limiting yourself. Plus, there is no guarantee that the previous owner took great care with that car. Try to look for cars around the 50,000 mile range. A little below or a little higher can be a sweet spot for a used car.
Did you check Carfax?
Before the Internet, you just had to trust the seller when they said the car was never in an accident. Thanks to Carfax there will be no “surprises.” This is a paid service that essentially runs a background check on any car based on their VIN number. That search can reveal how many owners have been a part of this car and if it has been deemed a “salvage” or not. It should also report all the accidents but major and minor.
Is your budget flexible?
When buying from a private seller, you’ll be expected to pay a lump sum at the time of the deal. Obviously, you’ll know how much you can afford before going into the deal and there will always be some “wiggle room” to negotiate a lower price. You can also finance a used car in the same way you would with a used car. That means either going through the dealership or being pre-approved. This will mean monthly payments can insurance that you’ll have to factor into your personal budget. As with any major purchase, don’t spend more than you can afford.
Is it certified pre-owned from a dealer?
A certified pre-owned or CPO car is a used car but with “elevated” status. When a dealer offers a CPO, they are often cars that are coming off a lease. This will usually mean the car was very well maintained. If there are some issues, then the dealer will probably fix them before they put it up for sale. The dealers will also offer a new warranty which is like resetting the clock on the car. Everything starts from the miles that are on the car going forward. CPOs are probably the closest you’ll come to a new car but at a used car price.
Is it a private sale?
A private sale works best if you actually know the seller. If you’re also looking for a special ride, then you might only find one through a private seller or collector. That might mean going on a car treasure hunt, which can be fun. The thing to remember with a private sale is that they will be “as is.” That means once you make the deal and get the title transferred in your name, anything that goes wrong with the car will be your problem. That is why you should always get a private sale car checked out by your mechanic. If the seller doesn’t want to go through that hassle, then walk away. Chances are that they are hiding something.