Buying a car doesn't have to mean committing to payments on a brand new model. In fact, you can get a reliable, comfortable car from a used car dealer just as easily and for a fraction of the price. Shopping for a used car is different than looking for a new one, though. You've got more to be concerned about when looking at used cars because they already have some wear and tear. Here are a few things to consider to ensure that you end up with a reliable used car that fits your needs.
Understand Your Warranty Option
Most people understand that new cars come with a warranty, and that standard expectation often leads used car buyers to believe that they automatically have the same protections. The truth is, you need to make sure that you understand the warranty coverage offered for the car, if any. The best way to understand what kind of coverage you'll receive is to review the "As-Is" document. This paper indicates if the car is being sold as-is or with some warranty period.
- As-Is Sale: This means you're buying the car in the condition that you see it in with no implication of any warranty protections at all. Any repairs or mechanical problems are your responsibility to address.
- Warranty Coverage: If the warranty box is checked, that means that the used car dealer is providing some warranty protection for you. The document should clearly tell you how long the warranty is effective and what types of problems it covers.
Don't Underestimate the Value of Inspection
Vehicle history reports provide a great deal of information about the claim history and ownership records of a car, but they aren't as comprehensive as you might think. These reports are only as accurate as the insurance claim records and registration information. That means that any accidents that weren't reported to the insurance company may not show up on the history report.
Before you buy a used car, you should not only review this history report, but also talk with a local mechanic about a thorough inspection. Many used car dealers will even offer you a thorough inspection report if they offer some used car certifications. These certification programs typically require an extensive inspection for any signs of damage or wear, so you'll get a comprehensive report and know exactly what you're buying.
Remember that Auctions Aren't Everything
Many people shop used car auctions instead of visiting a used car dealer because of the belief that auctions will get you a better deal. Yes, some cars may be cheaper at a used car auction, but you're taking a bigger risk buying there. If you work with a used car dealer, you have the opportunity to inspect, test drive and question the car that you're shopping for. You don't get that much opportunity at an auction.
The best you can expect from a used car auction is the ability to look at the car visually. You won't typically get to hear the engine run, look at the car in detail or ask any questions about its history. That makes the auction a significant gamble. You're better off shopping with a used car dealer who will let you test drive the car instead.
If you're shopping for your first used car, these tips will help you ensure that you're getting the best car for your needs. For more information about used car shopping, check out sites like http://www.upicksave.com.