Owning a car gives you the flexibility to get to school or work on your terms, without having to wait for a bus or train. If money is tight for you right now, your options might seem limited. However, buying a used vehicle could be a great way to get the wheels you need without making a huge commitment. On average, a pre-owned car or truck costs about half as much as a new model. The depreciation you’ll experience is much gentler, too, meaning you’ll potentially get more for it if you turn around and sell it to someone else later.
However, it’s crucial that you do your homework before setting foot on a used car lot. It’s easy to get confused by all your options and end up buying something that could cost you more than you were expecting.
How to Prepare for Buying a Used Car
If you want to get the most from your car-buying experience now and in the future, it’s important to be prepared. Before you go shopping, do some research about what type of vehicle you need and how much you should expect to spend. You’ll want to find out which makes and models are best-suited for your needs.
Once you identify a vehicle that fits your criteria, you should be prepared to find out as much as you can about it. A test drive is one of the best ways to check it out, but you also should be ready to ask the dealer or seller some questions. Find out whether the car is under warranty, how many owners it has had and when it was last serviced, among other questions.
If you know what you’re doing under the hood, make sure to check out the engine. If not, you should be able to have it examined by a trusted mechanic. If it’s available, reading through the car’s repair history can also give you a better idea of its overall condition.
A used car or truck can save you money when you need transportation, but only if you approach your purchase with a plan. For more tips you can use when shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, take a look at the accompanying resource.
Infographic created by JDBNOW