It’s safe to say that buying a used car if you have zero experience and skills for car shopping can turn out to be a disaster. You can end up with all kinds of problems, from a car with serious malfunctions to a fraud, where you lose your money and don’t get a car. We at Jiji want every future car owner to be satisfied with his purchase, which is why we’ve developed a couple of tips that will help you make a good decision when you’re buying a used car.
What can you afford?
The first step in the smart approach to buying a vehicle is knowing your budget. If you’re planning to buy a car with cash and have a certain amount of cash ready at hand, decide, whether it’s all you have or you can get more money from somewhere else. If you don’t have enough money for your dream car, you can either choose to save for some time, or take a loan from the bank. Whatever your financial strategy for buying the car is, knowing your budget for sure is crucial, because then you’ll look at cars in your price category and will save a lot of time.
Research the model
Most car buyers already have a shortlist of car makes and models they want, like Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord and Nissan Pathfinder. If you’ve already decided on a couple of models, give them a good online research, particularly if you’re looking for an older model that can already have a few defects. By thoroughly researching the model’s specs you won’t be surprised by anything and will know what to expect when it comes to viewing a particular car, including its features, fuel consumption, driving mechanics, etc.
Check the forums
It’s one thing to look for the official information on your preferred models, but talking to real people who already own your dream car can be very helpful. No one will tell you more about the advantages and drawbacks of a particular model than drivers who’ve already owned the same car for a couple of years. We all know that sellers don’t really like to disclose all the information about their cars, especially when it comes to defects or disadvantages, so you’ll either have to talk to other owners or be left to deal with the possible problems alone.
Avoid impulse buying
Inexperienced car owners often end up in a situation where they know exactly which car they want, but then they suddenly come upon a totally different model and change their decision completely. For example, you’re looking for a sensible sedan to travel to work or drive your family around, like Honda Civic or Volkswagen Passat, but then a stylish but slightly impractical car like Range Rover Vogue or Lexus RX catches your attention and suddenly you want to drop everything and go for those models. However, remember that impulse purchases often leave the buyer disappointed after some time passes, so to avoid disappointment stick to your original decision.
Use your own mechanic
Car viewing is an essential part of a used car buying process, but in case you don’t have enough experience with buying and viewing cars, you’re going to need help from a professional mechanic. A lot of sellers offer the help of their mechanics, but if you want a really fair and unbiased assessment of the car and its condition, bring your own help. It can be a professional mechanic you know and trust, or even your father or friend who has already bought and sold dozens of cars and knows exactly what a good car should look like.
Don’t skip the test drive
Even if the car you want to buy is the best looking and most excellent vehicle you’ve ever seen, only a thorough test drive can reveal whether this car is for you and whether it has some serious problems with its driving mechanics or other components. If a seller refuses to give the car out for the test drive, it should ring a bell for you that something isn’t quite right. Once you’re inside the car, first see how it feels – whether the seat and the wheel fit you. Then you can start driving, paying attention to whether the controls are understandable and responsive. Don’t just drive around the parking lot – your test drive should look and feel like your regular car travel, which means you need to go through the traffic, U-turns, stop lights, etc. See how well the car stops and starts. If something feels wrong, or if you can’t cope with controlling the car, it’s best to go look for other options.