Strategies for Buying a Good Used Car


Buying a used vehicle can be a gamble. Consumers can minimize the risk of buying a previously enjoyed vehicle. If you are financing one formula states that car payments should not exceed 20% of your monthly income. Consider a cheaper car than you can afford. The difference in price can be set aside for unexpected operating costs. The extra money can be helpful if your used conveyance has no warranty or a very limited warranty. Avoid financing through a dealer. Banks and other lending institutions usually charge lower rates. If the dealer offers zero-percent financing, you may not qualify for it. Zero-percent financing may cost you money in the long term.

The Search

Online vehicle finding services can simplify your search. Just for example enter something like used Lexus gs 350 new york ny as your search criteria. Enter a few other details and voilà a list of Lexus GS 350s in your area. Newspaper classifieds provides a list of private sellers and dealers offering the vehicle you are looking for. Visit an enthusiast website dedicated to the make of car or truck you are considering. You might even save a little on a private sale. Two fans of the same auto manufacturer might be inclined to cut each other a break. Car auctions are another option. Before attending an auction make sure a dealer’s license is not required to bid.

Educate Yourself

Take time to learn the pros and cons of a vehicle you are considering. Automotive fan blogs are a means of consulting with folks who are knowledgeable about the vehicle you are contemplating. A vehicle history report will show if the vehicle’s odometer is accurate. Damage the vehicle sustained as the result of flood or accidents, the number of prior owners, maintenance history, and if the car or truck has ever been declared totaled will be reflected in the report. One-hundred-percent accuracy is not guaranteed with a vehicle history report. Reports range in price from $10-$100 and some are free. Still, they are a means to hedge-your-bet when buying a used vehicle.

Dealer v. Private Seller

One advantage dealers offer over a private seller is a dealer handles all the paperwork and trips to the DMV. Price wise you might be able to negotiate a better purchase price with a private seller. A dealership might offer a warranty, but private sellers usually don’t resort to high-pressure sales tactics.

Consult a Mechanic

A reputable dealer shouldn’t object to a potential buyer taking a car or truck to a mechanic of the buyer’s choice for a pre-purchase inspection. A private seller may be accommodating and meet you at the garage. The inspection will uncover current problems and pending issues. The average cost of the inspection is $100.00 and is borne by the prospective buyer. That $100 investment can save you thousands by warning you off of a lemon.