If you are in the market for a used car, you should plan ahead to ensure you get the best deal. I recently purchased a used car and although I thought I had everything together, I missed a few important details that could have saved me money.
Used Car Shopping; Pick Your Car First
Don’t go to the dealership ready to buy without knowing which car you want. Visit dealerships and do research on-line several weeks before you are ready to buy. I thought I wanted a Jetta but after researching, I realized the Corolla would get better gas mileage. I checked out the inside of several possible car options in advance so I knew which car would work best. Pick your car first so you know exactly what you can afford and what will best fit your needs. If you are a foreigner and don’t understand the Australian English well, then you can get help from Australian ABC translation.
Used Car Shopping; Check Out Kelley’s Blue Book
Research the estimated cost of the vehicle you want along with similar model and years. You may find during your research that you want an LE but then you find a great priced SE at the dealership. Print out several different model year and style price comparisons. Do not depend on the dealer to tell you the blue book value. In purchasing my car from Oxmoor Toyota, the salesman printed out the blue book for a higher end model than the one he was trying to sell me.
Used Car Shopping; Ask for A Carfax
A Carfax history report is a good way to find out a little more about the car you are planning to buy. Most reputable dealers will offer you the Carfax history report no questions asked, if they won’t then you should walk away. A Carfax history report includes information such as: accident information, title information, service records, and number of owners. I have asked for a Carfax on every vehicle I have purchased. Look over it and make sure there is nothing that gives you a bad feeling about the vehicle you intend to purchase.
Used Car Shopping; Consider Your Financing Options
If you have good or better credit, it may be in your best interest to get financing before you go shopping. Check with your bank and see what options are available to you before you shop. We were able to get a pre-approved loan from Capital One for one of our vehicles. Having pre-approved credit let us know in advance what our interest rate would be and we had better bargaining power since Capital One basically gave us a blank check.
Used Car Shopping; Stick to The Bottom Line
Don’t let the dealer ask you how much can you afford. If you tell them $400, you will surely walk away with a payment at $400 or higher and you will probably not get the best deal. First, bargain down the price, then ask them the interest rate they intend to give you. Do not let the dealer work their “magic” or you will end up getting a bad interest rate or higher price. Work off how much the car costs, not how much you can afford in payments. You can also negotiate a better interest rate, don’t let them convince you that your credit is the sole determiner of your interest rate.