Buying a used car is a major purchase and commitment and it’s always best to be prepared. There are many different things you’ll need to consider, so it’s probably not the best idea to just go to the dealer’s lot one day and “see what happens”. One of the most important parts of the used car buying process is purchasing a car you can be sure is reliable and worth the price. With that in mind, here are three things to keep in mind:
Take a Look at Your Budget and See How Much You Can Afford
The old rule of thumb was that you should not spend more than twenty percent of your monthly pay on a car payment. However, times have changed; student loan payments and other installment loans are common among Millennials and other age groups, which means you may only be able to afford to use 10 or 15 percent of your monthly income on an auto payment. This, of course, will depend on the individual’s financial situation.
Also, remember that you’ll need to pay yearly costs of ownership, including insurance policy premiums, registration renewal fees, fueling costs, and more. If you’re looking to save on insurance or want a more convenient way to renew your car registration, visit eTags.com. Don’t leave these items out of the budget planning or you may find yourself car-poor.
Remember that a Used Car Will Have More Baggage
Many people love the new car smell but it’s something you will not get with a used car purchase. Every pre-owned car will have some wear-and-tear – even if it was delicately taken care of and is certified-preowned. Certified-preowned cars do come with a warranty and a manufacturer’s guarantee, so it might be advantageous to purchase one for peace of mind. Don’t make the mistake of over-paying for what may look and feel new as no car may can escape the depreciation effects of increased mileage, older model year, and more.
For example, a fuel pump typically lasts 80,000 miles. If the used car has 50,000 miles on it, this will be an expense to consider shortly down the road. Look for cars with clean vehicle history records as well as cars that have a history of reliability, so you’re not bogged down by too many repairs and maintenance costs.
Research the Car You Want and Bring a Mechanic
When you’re researching the type of car you want, consider your needs, including what you’re using the car for, the amount you can afford, safety and performance preferences, and more. When you have narrowed down the list of cars you want to a just one or two, look up their value online to get an idea of how much the cars are worth. That way, you have the necessary context for when it comes time to negotiate at the bargaining table. In addition to that, it might be a good idea to bring a mechanic with you or have the car pre-inspected beforehand to ensure there are no unwanted surprises after you have agreed to a deal.