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Summarized Guide To Used Vehicle Shopping

Part I - Choosing The Vehicle That's Right For You.

First Considerations:
-Automatic or manual shift? Automatic is best in traffic — a stick is more fun.
-Two-door, four-door, SUV or station wagon?
-Two-wheel, four-wheel or all-wheel drive?
-Safety considerations: Do you want a car with ABS, side airbags, traction control or stability control?
-Size: How much passenger/cargo space do you need?
-Gas mileage: the larger the engine, the higher the fuel costs.

Determine your needs:
Consider how you will feel about this car a year from now, two years from now. Will your family be growing? Shrinking? Will this car suit you as well in the future as it does now? Or are you thinking of electric vehicle? If so you may want to know how to buy used electric cars either online or offline at your local dealer, or even from the private seller.


Part II - Test Drive Basics

 +Before you drive the car, walk around it for an overall visual inspection. Crouch next to the front bumper and sight along the sides of the car. Make sure there are no ripples in the door panels that might indicate it has been in an accident. Also, look for uneven gaps between the doors and along the hood. Look underneath for evidence of fluid leaks such as coolant (greenish), oil (black), transmission fluid (pink) or gasoline (easily identified by the smell).
 Test all the lights, controls, heater, air conditioner and the sound system. Open the hood and make sure there are no leaks or sprays on the underside of the hood lining that would indicate a burst hose or fluid leak. With the engine running, listen for noises that might indicate a mechanical problem such as knocking, ticking, hissing or whining.

  • Acceleration from a stop

  • Turn off the radio, Listen to the engine

  • Passing acceleration (Does it downshift quickly and smoothly?)

  • Braking

  • Cornering

  • If sunroof or moon roof equipped check around to inspect for water leakage

Part III - Negotiating A Price

 Opening Moves:
Whether you are buying a used car from a dealer or a private party, let them know you have the cash in hand (or financing arranged) to make a deal on the spot. Preface your offer with a statement like, "I'm ready to make a deal now, I can give you cash"!

How to price a used car:
The foundation of successful negotiation is information. This is particularly true when buying a used car. There might be body damage or added aftermarket accessories. In these cases, you have to use your own common sense about arriving at the right prices. Certainly, it will depend largely on how much you want the car, what you are willing to pay and how motivated the seller is.

Negotiating with dealers:

Dealers have lots of experience negotiating. Therefore, buying a used car from a dealer or a private party will be two very different experiences. But there is one overriding similarity -- they both want to sell the car. In fact, the incentive to sell the car might be greater to the dealer than to the private party owner.


Part IV - Payment Options

Monthly payment: If you are going to take out a loan, how much can you afford to pay each month?

Down Payment: How much cash can you put down to reduce your monthly payments?

Payment options:
Cash. Money talks — and you-know-what walks.

Financing through a bank or credit union. We highly recommend this route.

Financing through the dealer. This can work for some people depending on their credit scores. Also, by prearranging financing through an independent source, the dealer may sometimes offer to beat the rate with a low-interest loan.


Part V - Closing The Deal

 When you reach an agreement on the purchase price of a used car, you may be tempted to think you're home free. In fact, there are several crucial steps that need to be done correctly, or all your hard work up to this point could be for naught.

Finally, you should inspect the car before you take possession of it. If any work is required, and has been promised by the dealer, get it in writing in what is known as a "Due Bill." Make sure the temporary registration has been put in the proper place and -- you're finally on your way.


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