Guide to Buying a Used Car

There are lots of lovely shiny new motors all gleaming in the showrooms at santa monica fiat, but no matter what great offers and discounts they have not everybody can afford to buy new. That’s okay, they’ve got some great used cars too (check them out at OC Fiat) but some people are still wary when it comes to buying a used car.
Used cars are holding their prices more and more these days, particularly the smaller, fuel efficient vehicles and some buyers may find that they have a limited selection to choose from. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great deals available – just follow the following three strategies and you won’t go far wrong.

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Sorting Out The Money
• The first thing you’ve got to do is to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a new vehicle. Think about the re-sale value of your present car which you are selling, calculate how much additional cash you will need for a down payment and a realistic amount which you can afford on the monthlies. A maximum of 5 year loan is suggested by the USAA for cars.

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• Don’t forget to check out the insurance costs of cars you have on your radar. These will help you to determine the real cost of their ownership. Remember however that used cars will usually have lower premiums when it comes to things like collision and comprehensive cover.
• Seek out some low loan rates. You may be able to get a good financial package from the dealer but it always pays to check out the figures with banks and financial institutions too.
• Pre-approval is a necessity, that way you know exactly what you are up against when you start searching for the car of your dreams.
Finding The Right Car
• Make a list of the features which you particularly like, remembering things like cargo space, engine power and style.
• Remember to keep your options open and be flexible. You should have two or three models in mind which will suit both your needs and your pocket.
• Do a little research on your chosen market. Check out prices online at reputable car dealers as well as in motor magazines and even the local classifieds.

Due Diligence
• Make a thorough inspection of the car, and if you are not really experienced in cars then take someone with you who is. Inspect the model year, the mileage and tire tread to give you some idea about how long it will be before the motor will need maintenance or replacement parts.

Young woman watching car for sale --- Image by © Drew Myers/Corbis
Young woman watching car for sale — Image by © Drew Myers/Corbis

• Take a test drive, this is the only way you can really tell whether the car is performing correctly. Take it for a drive and see how it feels, whether it makes any unusual noises and if it handles as it should. This also gives you the opportunity to see if the vehicle is comfortable for you to drive.
• Check up on the history of the car. If you are buying your used car from a reputable dealer then this should all have been taken care of but it is incredibly important if you buy a used car from a private person. Make sure that the car has not been involved in any accidents etc.
And that’s just about all there is to it. If you have a mechanic friend then it’s a really good idea to take them along with you when you look over a used car before you part with any of your hard earned cash.