12 Step Program for Buying a Used Car
Identify what you want before going to a dealership.
Since your choices may be limited by what you can afford, determine your monthly
costs before you do anything. Make a list of expenses to own the car including
insurance, maintenance, gas, and other associated costs. Does it fit into your
With A Brand Name You Can Trust
Choose a brand name dealer that
offers quality certified used cars and backs their products with either a service
contract or warranty. Many people fear having a bad experience at a dealership.
While many indignities still prevail in some dealerships most brand name dealers
usually recognize the importance of treating customers with respect. Its
your responsibility to find a dealer that will treat you with the respect you
Trust your instincts and apply the years of shopping
experience and research skills you've honed from other purchases to the sale of
a car. You don't need to know how an engine ticks to buy a car. Trust your instincts
about the salesperson and dealership.
Be Prepared To Walk Away
Have the car checked out by a reputable
mechanic. A reputable dealer will have no problem with you bringing in your own
mechanic to check out the car. They may not let you take it off the lot to do
so but most will let you bring someone to the lot. If they dont, assume
something is wrong and walk away no matter how much you love the car.
Shop Around — Be Picky!
Once you identify what you want and can
afford, locate the dealers who carry the product. Make a list of questions like
the year of the car? Keep in mind that the higher the mileage the more worn the
car and its parts. Has it undergone any structural repairs? Has it ever been in
an accident? Are they willing to show you its historical maintenance records?
Don't' rush into anything — even if you think you've found the car of your dreams.
It For A Test Drive
Never buy a car without taking it for a test
drive. If they say no then walk away. Reputable dealers will allow you to go for
a test drive and will accompany you to answer questions. Take the vehicle for
a test drive on a route you normally take to work, for example, to get a good
feel of how it will handle over the roads you drive every day. One of the tricks
of used-car test drives is that sales people often choose a route that is quite
smooth making the car feel perfectly fine. So dont settle for a test drive
around the block.
7. All Sales Final — Take Your Time
In most used car cases, if
you buy from a private party or a no-name corner dealership, you own it and all
its problems, once you leave. So take your time before making a commitment. Hint:
Returned leased vehicles make excellent buys as they have low mileage and dealerships
usually inspect them bumper-to-bumper in preparation for sale. They often come
with warranties too.
8. Finding the Right Retailer — Build A Relationship
a friendly relationship with your dealer that you trust so when you return for
maintenance you'll feel confident about it. Building a positive long-term relationship
is to the dealers advantage too. Happy customers recommend their dealership
to friends and family. They don't want unhappy customers who will bad mouth the
9. Seek Out Salespeople Who Don't Use High Pressure Sales Tactics
If a salesperson is using high pressure sales tactics, your red flag should go
up. Today's quality brand name cars practically sell themselves. Sales people
that use high pressure usually have another agenda. Walk away. If you're not in
control, getting your questions answered, and feeling comfortable, then this is
not the place to make your sale.
10. Search the Net for Information
The Internet is a beautiful thing.
You can do all your research at home. Just search the web for things like how
to inspect a used car, auto reviews, leased vehicle sales, etc. Most importantly,
do a vehicle identification number check (VIN check). There are several online
services that will provide a complete history of the vehicle for a small fee.
11. Never Settle & Exercise Your Right To Change Your Mind
your money! Do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do. You're the
one who has to live with this car. Never accept any deal that's a final sale.
Be sure the door is left open to bring the car back in for maintenance and repairs.
Dont settle for anything less than what you really want unless it's a compromise
you can live with. Explore their warranties, and research extended warranties.
Check out their service department.
12. Read the Fine Print!
And always, and we
do stress always, read the fine print before signing anything and what you don't
understand, ask someone who is knowledgeable about contracts.
Also Visit - 20 Questions to ask when buying a used car.
RTM's Used Car Buying Article Archive - Click here.