How to Get a Good Deal When Buying a Used Car

How to Get a Good Deal When Buying a Used Car

Most of us know what we want when it comes to our car: A long-lasting, highly reliable vehicle with good mileage and an excellent MPG. But when it comes time to upgrade your old ride and buy a new car, the whole process can feel overwhelming even if you know exactly what you want. When you walk into a used car dealership, you have to contend with a lot of different information and make a ton of choices. In the midst of all this, it can be hard to keep your priorities straight. But finding the best deal on a used car doesn’t have to be stressful or anxiety-inducing. By keeping your wits about you and putting your needs first, you can find a way to bring home the car of your dreams without any hassle. If you’re ready to buy a used car, here are a few tips before diving in.

Stick to Your Budget

Before you made up your mind to get a new car, you had a budget in mind of what you could or should pay. There’s no reason for this budget to change, no matter what happens once you get inside the dealership. If you have a specific model in mind and you know what you want to pay, stick to it. Used car dealers will often try to get you to make commitments you’re not looking to make, such as paying for extras or investing in a more expensive model. However, if you have a specific number in mind of what you’re willing to pay, don’t waver. You’ll be able to come from a strong position while negotiating, and you’ll be less likely to get distracted by other, flashier models that are available for a higher price range.

Ask About Financing Options

The initial price of a used car will be anywhere from half to two-thirds of its original value. Your monthly payments will be negotiable, based on your dealer and on what you can put down to start with. However, when figuring out what you want to pay, ask if there’s any way to use your good credit (if you have it) to get a lower per-month payment plan, or if there’s a refinancing option later. If you’re planning on paying your car with a loan, your dealer will set you up with a few options. Just like any loan, you’ll have the ability to change the per-month agreement later on down the line as long as your credit stays good and you keep on top of payments. Before signing on to an agreement, it helps to have a long-term plan of how, and when, you plan to pay the car off in full.

Shop Around

You might have come into the dealership with a very specific idea of what you want within a certain price range. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t allow yourself to be flexible when it comes to other options. While you should keep a base price in mind, you should go for a few test drives and check out a few different models before deciding on a car. Don’t get too caught up with what a vehicle looks like on paper. Allow yourself to take it out for a test drive, see how comfortable you are, listen to the sounds it makes to make sure nothing is off, and compare the models you’ve driven against each other before making your final decision.

Read the Fine Print


Read the Fine PrintChoosing the car that’s right for you isn’t as simple as walking in and striking a deal. Even if you know exactly what you want, you need to be aware of the exact terms of your purchase. After all, this is a vehicle you’re going to be driving for (hopefully) the next ten years or so. If you have any questions or concerns, this is the time to talk about them. For instance: Does your car come with a warranty? What happens if something goes wrong after you sign the contract? What is payment process like? What happens in the event of a recall? What if the dealership goes through a leadership change? Ask as many questions as you want before signing anything: You’ll be glad you did.

Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

Most importantly, you don’t want to settle for the first figure you’re offered. Even if the first quote you’re offered is less than you expected to pay, don’t settle. Used car dealers expect negotiation as part of the deal. As long as you keep your ask within a reasonable price range, you’ll be able to walk about of there with a great deal on a used car.

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