Is it time to buy a car? You probably know that there is usually a right and a wrong way to go about purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. Your first step is to find one of the best used car dealers in the area. Ask around for recommendations from friends and family, visit a few, and look online.
Your next steps are:
- Determining a budget that includes your current bills, vehicle cost, fuel, insurance, repair, maintenance fees, and financing.
- Deciding exactly what you would like to have in a vehicle. Think about the passenger room, size, fuel economy, cargo room, etc. Find two to three cars that meet these criteria and research them.
- Look at the value of your choices on KBB (Kelley Blue Book) and view comparable prices at dealers nearby.
- When you go to a dealership, ask for a copy of the vehicle history report on the auto that interests you and then look it over carefully.
- Inspect everything about the car. This includes the body, the trunk/bed, the undercarriage, tires, under the hood, etc. An inspection by a mechanic of your choice can be quite helpful if you can afford this option.
- Conduct a test drive in a variety of road conditions – the interstate, in a neighborhood, the city, in inclement weather, heavy traffic, etc. to discover how the vehicle handles and to learn if you are comfortable driving it.
- Try to negotiate the price (and financing) with the sales staff at the dealership. Your online research about pricing can help you in this area.