Top Tips for Buying a Used Car
For most consumers, after their rent or mortgage costs, auto loan and car payments are the next most substantial expensive in many household budgets, even for a used car.
While you are making your decision about the size of car, type and model of used car you want to buy, also consider the following pointers:
USED CAR TIPS
TIP 1: Check out big chains: There are a number of newer used-car chain stores that can make it easier to find what you are looking for. It is possible to choose a model that is only 3 years old and save up to 30% to 40% compared to buying a new car.
TIP 2: Research prices of the models you are interested in: Two great websites are Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. They are both free and feature new and used car prices for virtually every make, model and year. Also look at Autotrader.com and Cars.com so see classified ads for used cars, mostly from dealers within 100 miles or less of your ZIP code.
TIP 3: Check the odometer: One of the key checks to undertake in a used car is to thoroughly inspect the odometer to make sure that it has not been tampered with. The odometer can tell you if the car has indeed travelled the mileage it displays and that the car hasn’t been in any major accidents. Sites such as Carfax and Autocheck can track down the history of the vehicle you are considering by its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This is usually found on a metal plate inside of the windshield. According to Carfax, about 1 in 10 vehicles will show anomalies, so it is worth checking.
TIP 4: Get the car professionally checked by a mechanic: After checking these important stages, the next step is to have the car checked by your own mechanic. Note that many used-car dealers do not allow independent inspections, so may apply more if you are buying from an individual.
OVERALL COSTS FOR A CAR
TIP 5: Overall costs: It is advisable to spend no more than 10% – 15% of your total monthly budget on all of the associated costs for the car. Include maintenance charges for oil replacements, changes, windshield wipers, tires or batteries.
TIP 6: Don’t forget insurance: Car insurance costs can add an additional 5 – 8% of the purchase price of a vehicle. In some U.S. states and for some models of car, insurance costs can be as high as 12%. Newer cars are more expensive to insure. Choosing a late-model used car can be a good way to cut the insurance costs.
TIP 7: Be sure to satisfy State Registration: All new and used cars require state registration. The fees for this are typically between $50 – $125 dollars.
TIP 8: Check the car safety records: Another effective way to decrease insurance costs before you buy your car is to check into models that have excellent safety records and low theft rates. Federal crash test results can be viewed at www.safercar.gov. The site is run by the Highway Loss Data Institute (sponsored by the auto insurance industry) and it can display the various rankings for injury for vehicles and shows the models that are stolen the most and the least. Bear in mind that these are factors that will also drive insurance costs up and down as well as determining the overall safety of your car.
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