For many first-time car buyers, a pre-owned vehicle is often the best option since it offers several benefits.
For one, used cars are more affordable, yet still come with different financing options. Because of this, you will be able to own a car without breaking the bank or falling into debt in the long run.
Additionally, when you buy a used car, you will lose less money through depreciation. And as long as you do your research well and buy a certified pre-owned car, you will own a decent or even impressive set of wheels — one that can give you many years of good service.
Purchasing the Perfect Used Car
If you will be buying a used car for the first time, avoiding the common traps of purchasing one will allow you to own a vehicle you can rely on and be proud of.
Below are the top five mistakes you have to know and avoid when buying your first pre-owned car:
1. Not knowing what car you can afford
Buying your first car can be really exciting. But the last thing you want to happen when you start shopping is to get all psyched about buying a particular car and finding out later on that you can’t afford it.
To manage your expectations and avoid being disappointed early on in your car-shopping venture, evaluate your finances beforehand. Make the necessary computations to find out how much you can afford for the down payment and the monthly fees. Take the time to check your credit score as well.
Once you figure out your budget, stick with it. And if money is tight, you have to look at cars 10 to 20 percent lower than your budget. This is because there are still a few costs on top of the purchase itself.
2. Buying a pre-owned car from any dealer
Used car dealers are abundant in any city. As such, your chance of getting a good vehicle is really high.
Narrow down your list of possible dealers to buy from by checking the reputation of the dealers in your area. Look them up on online review sites such as Yelp and Google.
Once you have a list of reputable dealers with good quality used vehicles, visit them and check their inventory. Get as many details as you can about the vehicles you are interested in, including financing options.
By being diligent throughout the car-shopping process, you will get a car that meets your needs and budget.
3. Looking for the wrong car
Buying a sports car when you have three kids is an option you shouldn’t even consider. And if you’re single and don’t go on a lot of group travels, cross out minivans from your possible choices.
Before you start shopping, consider your needs and lifestyle first. Think about what you will normally use the car for and how often you will use it. Consider how many people will ride it in regularly as well.
When you know what you need from your car first, you will avoid making an impulse purchase based on what you want instead of what you need.
4. Not taking the car for a test drive
Buying a car without taking it out for a test drive is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Even if you don’t know a lot of things about cars, taking a vehicle for a test drive will tell you a lot about its engine, roadworthiness, etc. During the test drive, you will also know if you like how the car handles. Lastly, you will also have a good idea of whether or not the car is right for you.
If you skip this important part of the car purchasing process, you may end up buying a vehicle that will give you lots of headaches in the future.
5. Not checking the vehicle history report
Once you have found a pre-owned car you are happy with and can afford, before actually buying it, take a few minutes to run a vehicle history report.
Find a website that will allow you to read the history of a vehicle when you input the VIN. The report includes details about any prior accidents the vehicle was involved in, problems with the car, and the number of previous owners. You can look at the vehicle’s service history as well.
If the car has a bad record, regardless of how much you like it and how much repair and improvement it has gone through, for your safety and peace of mind, it is best to look at another vehicle.
Even if your budget is tight, you can still own a good quality car if you purchase a pre-owned one. And even if it isn’t brand new, it can certainly be a great car as long as you devote the right amount of time and effort looking after it.
Mahesh Rohra is the Director of Arabian Automobiles LLC – AW Rostamani Automotive Group, a trailblazer in the automotive fraternity with a legacy of over 50 years. AUTOTRUST by AW