If you’re shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. You want to choose a car that is in good condition, with a solid amount of mileage, little to no mechanical damage, and safe operation.
You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a car that looks nice from the outside, but breaks down a few days later. Many consumers, unfortunately, run into this issue – and more often than not, it occurs because of a lack of prior research and feeling pressured to make a purchase on the spot.
Making an informed decision is key to finding the best used vehicle for your dollar. Coming into the sale equipped with proper research will make a world of difference during the purchasing process. Don’t rush into buying your next car – here are seven things you need to do before you finalize a pre-owned purchase.
#1: Know Your Budget
Before you begin your pre-owned car search, you need to know how much money you are willing to spend on the vehicle. By setting a clear budget beforehand, you can avoid a pushy salesperson swindling you into a purchase that you don’t want to make that sets you thousands of dollars over your budget.
By setting your budget, you can also narrow down your used car search significantly. There are lots of cars out on the market right now, and the number of choices can be seriously overwhelming. Knowing your price range can help you identify the types of cars you can purchase without stretching your wallet.
When you budget for your pre-owned vehicle, remember that you will likely need to pay for more than the car itself. You should also budget for a vehicle inspection, any small repairs, licensing and insurance costs, and emissions inspections.
#2: Understand Your Financing Options
Once you know how much money you want to spend on your vehicle, think about how you will obtain that money. Will you pay the car in full with cash, or do you need a little extra support to invest in your next vehicle? Consider the financing options available to you, such as auto loans.
Red Mountain Funding offers flexible financing options for pre-owned vehicles for people who struggle getting a loan from another source, even if you have bad credit. With our financing program, you can purchase your used vehicle with a small down payment of $500 or $1,000.
If you meet any of the following criteria, we encourage you to apply for one of our loans:
- A dealership or lender has turned down your financing request.
- You have had a banking or checking account for several years.
- You have a small down payment available to make toward your used vehicle.
- You have a history of making your monthly mortgage or rent payments on time.
- You are employed and have a steady source of income.
#3: Know What Kind Of Vehicle You Want
Before you begin your vehicle search, think about what kind of car you want to purchase. This will help you avoid purchasing a vehicle that does not fit your wants and needs. In addition, you do not want to purchase a car for a road trip only to find out that it has very poor fuel efficiency.
Consider the following questions before you start looking at vehicles on the market:
- How many seats do you need for the vehicle?
- What is your optimal fuel efficiency range for the vehicle?
- Do you have any specific makes or models in mind for your vehicle?
- Do you want a small car or a large car?
- Do you need any special features, such as a great sound system or additional safety mechanisms?
#4: Research The Vehicle’s History
Before you make a final purchase, make sure to run a Carfax report or a similar vehicle history report to get a clear picture of the state of the vehicle. You will be able to gain information about the car’s accident history or any other potentially concerning events. If you are buying your vehicle from a private seller, you can run this report yourself.
#5: Take The Vehicle Out For A Test Drive
Do not make a final purchase on a pre-owned vehicle without taking it for a test drive first. Not only does this give you a good idea of how the car operates, but it allows you to understand how comfortable you feel driving the vehicle. Drive the car in a variety of environments, such as on the highway, on residential roads, and up and down hills. If you notice any issues with the vehicle or you do not feel comfortable driving it, find another car.
#6: Get A Vehicle Inspection
Purchasing a pre-owned car can be a very economical way to find your next vehicle, but it also comes with a set of risks. You want to make sure that everything in the vehicle is in working order and completely safe before you buy. Invest in an inspection from a trustworthy mechanic to make sure that the car is in working order.
The mechanic will run some basic tests on your vehicle, such as checking the engine and transmission, as well as a basic visual check. You should always have an inspection before making a purchase, even if the seller insists that you do not need one. It is much better to be sure that there are no mechanical defects than to find one later!
#7: Prepare To Say No
Not all sales situations will end with you loving the vehicle. More often than not, you will look at multiple vehicles before you find the one right for you. You should not jump into a purchase if you’re not completely comfortable with the vehicle – be ready to shop around and remember that you have the right to say no to a sale.
Are you looking for a reliable pre-owned car in the Mesa, Arizona area? Red Mountain Funding can help. We provide flexible financing for pre-owned vehicles so that you don’t have to deal with a dealership. Contact us today to learn more about our vehicles and your financing options.
I’m a kid at heart disguised as an auto researcher and business owner. I’ve always enjoyed providing insight in the form of reviews (anime, video games, autos, etc.) When I’m not researching, I’m spending time with my family, driving my Dodge Challenger, riding my motorcycle, and finding new entrepreneurial pursuits.