Used car sales have hit a record high in recent years.
While Americans are only buying about 14 million new cars annually, they’re purchasing more than 40 million used ones. It seems more and more people are discovering the many benefits of buying a used car.
If you’re willing to be patient and look around for exactly what you want, you can usually get a great deal on a used car and save yourself some money. But in order to do it, you need to learn how to get the best deal on a used car first.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the steps you’re going to need to take in order to find the best price on a used car. It’ll help you join all the other people who have sent used car sales skyrocketing.
Create a Budget for Your Used Car
The first thing you should do when you decide to start shopping around for a used car is create a budget for it. How much are you willing to spend on the used car you eventually buy?
Creating a budget for yourself will do two things:
- It’ll help you avoid getting yourself into a situation where you buy a used car that you can’t actually afford
- It’ll help you narrow down your search for a used car a lot quicker than you would be able to do it otherwise
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to take out a loan to pay for a used car or pay for a used car in cash. You should still have a budget in place and, more importantly, you should prepare yourself to stick to it.
Figure Out What Kind of Used Car You Want
At the same time that you’re creating a budget for your used car, you should also be thinking about what kind of used car you want.
Do you want a compact car? Is a pickup truck more your speed? Or have you already set your heart on an SUV?
Whatever the case, it’s good to be as specific as you can possibly be when figuring out what kind of used car you want. If you decide that you want, say, a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, it’ll allow you to focus on just Jeep Grand Cherokees and look for the best deal possible.
Research a Used Car to See How Durable It Is
Once you know what kind of used car you want to buy, do yourself a big favor and research it. Specifically, find out how durable the car is and how long it lasts for most people.
You could very well find the aforementioned Jeep Grand Cherokee for an amazing price. But if it has 200,000 miles on it, that should be a cause for concern since there’s a good chance it won’t last you very long when it has that much wear and tear on it.
If your research shows that the used car you want is known to start breaking down quicker than other cars, you might want to reconsider whether or not it’s the right car for you.
Start Looking Around for Your Preferred Used Car
At this point, you have a budget for your used car in mind. You also have your preferred used car picked out. And you’ve done your homework and made sure the car is going to last once you buy it.
It’s time to start looking around for your used car!
You can do this in a couple different ways: You can search for private sellers who are selling the used car you want, or you can head down to a used car dealership to see if they have the used car you want in stock.
You can also use a combination of both methods and search for your used car through private sellers and used car dealerships. It’ll increase your chances of finding the used car you want.
See if You Can Find the Used Car for the Right Price
Within a week or two, you should be able to find at least a few used cars out there that you like. But this is the hard part for a lot of people.
Remember the budget that you made earlier? You need to stick to it! Your goal throughout this entire process should be to find a used car for the right price.
As you get deeper and deeper into your search, you might be tempted to go over your budget if you find a used car you really like. But it’s extremely important for you to find a used car you really like…for the right price!
Test Drive a Used Car Once You Track It Down
Finding a used car you like that has the right price on it is important. But it’s also only half the battle.
After you’ve successfully found a used car that you’re interested in buying, the next step is to take the car for a test drive. Get behind the wheel and drive it around for a few miles to see how it feels.
This will give you a chance to see if there is anything wrong with the used car. It’ll also allow you to make sure that you like the way the car feels when you’re sitting in the front seat and driving it.
Inspect the Condition of the Used Car
If you like the way the used car drives, the next thing you’ll want to do is give it a thorough inspection.
Those who know a lot about cars can pop the hood on their own or get underneath of the car to give it a once over themselves. Those who don’t should think about calling on a mechanic to check out the used car they want to buy.
But whatever you do, don’t just take a seller’s word for it when they say the car is in good condition. There could be problems with the car that they didn’t even know existed.
Check the Used Car’s Vehicle History Report
Has the used car that you want to buy ever been involved in an accident?
The seller might say no. But who’s to say that someone who owned the car before the current owner didn’t get into an accident in it?
The only way to know whether or not a car was involved in an accident for sure is by obtaining a vehicle history report. It’ll give you all the information you need on the car and allow you to make an informed decision with regards to buying it.
Negotiate the Price of the Used Car
If everything so far checks out and you’re convinced that this used car is the one you want, it’ll be time for you to make an offer on it. The private seller or used car dealership will have a price listed for the car, but you can offer less than the posted price if you want.
That being said, you shouldn’t just pull a price out of thin air. Instead, you should do some research on the listed price and see if it feels fair or not. If you find that other cars just like it have sold for a lot less in your area, that might be reason enough to make a lower offer.
It might take you and the seller a little while to hash out the final price. But as long as you negotiate effectively, you should be able to get the car for a price that makes you comfortable. You want to walk away from the negotiating table feeling like you got a great deal on the car.
Pay for the Used Car and Drive It Home
Once you and the seller agree to a price for the used car, you’ll both need to sit down and fill out a bunch of paperwork. It will allow you to take legal ownership of the car.
After that, you can drive the used car home and start enjoying it. Just make sure you put a maintenance plan in place and take good care of it. Most used cars already have at least some wear and tear on them and need to be cared for properly to last a long time.
Knowing How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car Can Save You Big
When you know how to get the best deal on a used car, you’ll put yourself in a good position to actually do it.
Purchasing a used car from a private seller or a used car dealership can be an overwhelming experience for some people. But as long as educate yourself about the process beforehand, you shouldn’t have any trouble working your way through it.
At the end of it all, you’ll have a great used car for a great price. And you’ll feel good about the way things went when you were shopping around.
Check out our blog to learn some auto maintenance tips you can use on your used car.