Buying a vehicle is expensive! Especially if it’s a new vehicle right off the lot. For that reason, many people choose to buy vehicles that are used. If you’re not careful, however, your used car buying experience could end in nightmares. In order to help you make a decision that doesn’t come back to haunt you, we’ve put together these 5 simple steps to buying a used car:
1. Decide What You’re Looking For – Before anything else, what exactly are you looking for? Is it something cheap and affordable, or are you looking for more of a long-term vehicle? Do you want a small car, a truck, or possibly a van? Are there certain features you are looking for in a vehicle, such as 4-wheel drive, a hatchback, or a stereo with a USB? In addition to deciding what you want in a car, decide exactly how much you’re willing to spend. It is important to define your budget, whether you plan to pay in cash or take out a loan. This will narrow down your options drastically and make the search much more manageable.
2. Do Your Homework – Once you know what to look for, it is time to do your homework. You never want to make a big purchase without having made an informed decision. Start by looking for cars online. Most used cars that are for sale will have online listings, whether that’s on the website of your local used car dealership or on nationwide sites such as cars.com or autotrader.com. Shop around (a lot), talk to others with experience in buying used cars, read reviews, compare prices, view the vehicle history reports, and come up with a list of 3-5 cars that you are seriously considering.
3. Go Check Them Out – Contact the seller and confirm the availability of the car. When you’re on the phone, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions – you may find things out about the car that you previously didn’t know – things that could change your mind. Arrange a time for the two of you to meet and look at the car. Take it for a test drive. Use your senses, well, 4 of your 5 senses (not taste – you don’t need to lick anything). How does everything look, both the interior and beneath the hood? While are driving, how does the car sound and feel? Are there any unusual smells? If everything still appears good, arrange to have it checked by a professional mechanic. We’d be happy to give you our expert opinion here at Plains Tire!
4. Make Your Decision – After you’ve driven a few different cars, and haven’t eliminated all of your options, it’s time to make a decision. Weigh the pros and cons of each vehicle, talk to a trusted friend or family member, take your time, and make your choice.
5. Negotiate -Some people hate negotiating, but when you’ve done all this work and research, you are likely to be able to get the car for less than what’s listed. Your initial offer should be less than the amount you’re willing to spend. Be reasonable and realistic. When both sides are happy, close the deal, do the paperwork, and enjoy your new vehicle.
These 5 steps may seem pretty simple, but following them will help you be extra careful in your decision to buy a used vehicle. If you end up needing any car maintenance or repair needs, you know where to go. Come see us at any of our 9 locations throughout Wyoming and we’ll take care of you.