Buying a used car is an excellent way to get a great car at a significantly lower price than if you were to buy brand new. Furthermore, when you buy used, you generally have a little more room to negotiate with the seller. Before you head down to your local pre-owned car dealership, however, there are some common mistakes worth avoiding.
Rushing the Test Drive
Definitely test drive any vehicle you're thinking about buying, and take your time with the test drive! It's not enough to just cruise around side streets for a few minutes; get the car on the freeway and see how it accelerates. Take it through some winding roads to get a feel for the handling. Keep the radio down so you can listen carefully to how the car runs. A test drive is so important, yet many buyers will rush through it or not be as observant as they should!
Foregoing an Inspection
Most pre-owned dealerships will allow you to have an inspection done on a car before you buy. This way, you can make sure there are no underlying problems that will cost you money down the road. You should be prepared to shell out a couple hundred dollars for this inspection. Another option would be to buy a certified pre-owned car, which means the vehicle will have already passed the inspection and be ready for the road!
Not Getting an Approval Letter
Walking into the dealership with an approval letter from your lender is a great way to ensure you're taken seriously. Dealerships see these letters the same way they see cash or a check, so they'll know you're serious about buying. This also gives you a chance to shop around for the best interest rates and loan terms before you find the car you want to buy.
Only Looking at the Monthly Payment
Finally, when looking at the numbers on your used car, be sure to look past the monthly payment and at other important figures, such as the interest rate and loan term. After all, while a longer loan term may give you a lower monthly payment, it also means you'll be paying more in interest over the life of the loan.
Being careful to avoid these common used car mistakes as you shop around will help you get a great car at a fair price while making the process more enjoyable!