Exploring your used car options offers an excellent opportunity to find a fantastic deal on a quality vehicle. While this process can be exciting, it can also be challenging to know what to look for when searching for a used car. To make buying a used car easier on both your time and your wallet, we’ve put together a guide to help you navigate used car lots with confidence to find the right car for you.
Know Your Budget
You can narrow your search if you know what your budget looks like before you start shopping. A budget can save time and frustration by ensuring you avoid used cars that are above your price range. Start by figuring out how much money you make in a month and then subtract your monthly expenses. From there, decide on how much of the leftover money you’re comfortable using toward a monthly car payment. You can this use this number during your search to determine which car is best for you and your budget.
If you want to get ahead of the game, you can get a pre-approved financing offer before you head out to start shopping. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what type of loan you’re able to get.
Research the Model
Once you get an idea of what types of vehicles and specific models you’re interested in, sit down and research each model. It’s a good idea to take notes about which cars you like so that you can remember them later when you start your search. It’s also helpful to look for reviews of your desired make and model. You can find plenty of trusted sources that will tell you things like how well the model holds up over time and what the appropriate price range should be considering the used car’s mileage and model year.
Research the Car
Once you narrow down your search to a specific vehicle, you shouldn’t move forward until you get the vehicle’s history report. There are services available online that can help you do this. A thorough history report will show you how many owners the vehicle has been through, how many accidents it has been involved in, its maintenance history, and more. This can give you a better understanding of the vehicle’s current state so that you decide if it’s worth the price tag or worth driving at all.
Inspect the Vehicle
Even if you know little about cars, you should visually inspect both their exterior and interior carefully. Look for anything that seems off. It’s a good idea to go used car shopping on a sunny day so that you can see things such as slightly mismatched paint colors from part to part and uneven seams between panels. These can show that the vehicle was involved in a collision and was repaired poorly.
As for the interior, it’s important to look for damage to the upholstery, scratches, broken plastic parts, stains, and anything else would cause a negative driving experience for you or your passengers. A vehicle gets worn with use over time, but if the wear and tear seem extensive for how old the vehicle is, that’s something to consider before purchasing it.
Test Drive the Vehicle Every Time
Test driving a used car you’re considering buying should always be a step in the process. During a test drive, you’ll be able to tell a lot about the vehicle. The most essential thing it will tell you is that the vehicle runs properly. But while it’s running, you should listen, smell, and feel for anything that feels off.
If there’s an interesting sound coming from your engine, ask about it. Consider another car if the cabin has a funky smell to it that you can’t identify. Feel for anything off, such as lurching, steering issues, pedal resistance issues, etc. Remember that vehicle issues rarely fix themselves — anything that’s wrong with the car when you purchase it will either stick around or have to be replaced, raising the cost of your purchase.
On a more personal note, test driving will also give you a chance to see if the car is a good fit for you as a driver. Everyone has different preferences for how they would like to feel in their vehicle. You should take into consideration factors such as whether the seats are comfortable, how you like the way the controls feel, and whether the cabin feels like a place you want to spend time in.
Stick to Dealerships
You can find some great deals with private used car sellers, but the huge amount of trust that goes into the transaction turns many wary drivers away. If you want to feel safer with your options and eventual purchase, we suggest sticking to dealership lots when you shop for your used car.
One of the reasons you can trust dealerships more confidently than private sellers is that a good dealership will have technicians who inspect every model put onto the lot. The used cars at dealerships are maintained and properly taken care of while they wait for their next owner. Some dealerships even offer certified pre-owned vehicles, which are used vehicles that meet specific safety and quality standards defined by the manufacturer.
Dealerships can also help make the legal process smoother. For example, they can help you take care of title transfers, register your vehicle, and more. You may also be able to take advantage of additional warranty opportunities if you choose to go through a dealership for your used or pre-owned car.
If you think you’re ready to put these tips into practice in the Lewisville, Texas, area, you can visit Huffines CJDR Lewisville to start your search for your next used car. Our trustworthy and knowledgeable staff make the used car-buying experience stress-free and easy. Check out our inventory of used and pre-owned models today to get started.