101 Tips For Buying a Used Car

By: Auto City Fredericton   |   01 Feb 2019
driving down highway

When buying a used car it can be extremely difficult to make sure you are in a carthat is perfect for you in every way, including make model and price, here we have a 101 guide on making sure you get the best bang for your buck and leave the lot in the perfect and best car for you:

  1. Make sure you do not feel trapped and stuck due to lack of information you have when buying a used car.

  2. Always do extensive research. Doing the research for a used car will help you make a good decision and feel better about looking further for a vehicle.

  3. Educate yourself with the cars and get information about the current prices in your area. Take notes on everything and do not forget anything – if you are told any information it does not hurt to take a note pad and make notes, that way if there was something you didn’t understand when talking to a dealership or doing your research you can look into it after

  4. Do not take the car research for granted, even if you know which car make and model you want to buy. Even if you feel like you know everything you want always be careful and make sure you’ve found everything you need.

  5. Just use price to know if anything is in your range or not. But, not make the price be your only factor, a car may be below your budget which is great but is the car really what you want or is it suited for you. Better to be paying a few hundred more but be in the perfect vehicle.

  6. Go to manufacturer website, find reviews and what people are saying about it. Locate as much information as possible. reviews will give you a insight into other peoples experiences which will assist you in figuring out if its right for you.

  7. After you have found particular makes and models you want that seem right for you, look for prices that suit your budget.

  8. Search for the lowest price for the car that you are considering buying.

  9. You can use online sites to price your used car. go to multiple websites for your area and price the car and compare.

  10. Do not research only in your local area or province. You may find a cheaper price for a particular car somewhere else. It can benefit you.

  11. Always use credible sources for information. You may get stuck somewhere when buying a used car that isn’t what you were expecting.

  12. Do not be in the rush when doing research for the used car. Take your time to make a good deal.

  13. Do not just research for a car just for the sake of it. Do not wait for the weekend or any other time. Do it with enthusiasm, it is a big decision and purchase and if you hesitate and hold off, a good deal may disappear!

  14. Confirm your information with two or other sources. Collect as much credible information as possible because you are going to use that information later when negotiating for the car purchase.

  15. Always remember that the whole point of doing a used car research is to find your car at the lowest price.

  16. Pick the calculator and start getting what your income and expenses are. While calculating this you can see where you would be spending money and where you could cut back on things that are unnecessary therefore helping with your car budget and helping you do some money management! (it’s a win/win)

  17. You need to define how much you have and what you want to spend on a used car. The expensiveness of a car should not be the reason for buying the car, there may be other priorities.

  18. You can get a monthly loan if you are not getting enough to pay for the car. Your primary focus should be on monthly payments.

  19. You should follow the rule of not spending more than 15% of your monthly income on your loan payments. Consider other payments you make on monthly basis and make sure you can afford to live and safe while paying for your loan!

  20. Understand the full cost of buying a car. It can make a big difference in the shopping results. It will give you the confidence to negotiate confidently.

  21. There are initial costs that may include tax, registration and title fees, documentation fees, and other fees like this – so take these into consideration when looking at the cost of a vehicle as they aren’t included.

  22. Maintenance, car insurance, monthly payment, registration renewal and other costs like this can make a major difference so also take these into consideration when buying!

  23. Call your insurance company and get an estimate of premium that you have to pay. When financing a car you need full coverage on a vehicle so that can be a lot higher than other insurance!

  24. You need to get your car serviced regularly. It may not be daily, but you should get it serviced to maintain it well. Service can be once in a year.

  25. Do you want to park the car in a garage or a nearby parking area? What are the costs for parking? also the risks of parking it on the street or a garage, damage to the car.

  26. Assess your needs before making the purchase for a used car. What are your requirements for the purchase of this car? Do Are you buying it for the family, a cheap car or a sporty style car?

  27. Do you need to run it on highways for long journeys or small roads in your city? You should decide what you want to do. Is it a work Commute vehicle or just to run to the grocery store etc.

  28. What is better for you? A petrol or a diesel car? The fuel you choose can make a big difference when you choose to buy a used car.

  29. Do you need a large roomy car or just a small car for only a few peoples? Do you need to fix equipment into it or any other thing?

  30. Do you want to buy an eco-friendly car? A hybrid or electric car could be an option. It can make a major difference.

  31. Private parties are more often to sell and they can in a hurry to sell the car at a price that is lower. So, you can get a lower price when dealing with a private owner – however with most private owners on Kijiji or other selling sites they may not be able to finance a car with a loan therefore you would be paying the full amount – so again your financial standing has to be considered.

  32. A private owner may even sell the car at a lower price than your expectations. It may be due to not doing research when selling the car.However, it is to your advantage.

  33. The number of owners has a major factor when dealing with a private owner. Few number of previous owners mean car may be through less wear and tear.

  34. You can talk with a private owner more deeply about the car problems it may have. With some quick questions, you can get information about how the car has been through. It is important because maintenance history is a mystery many a time. but still be careful about what they tell you, inspect the car intensely and take someone who knows that they are looking for if you don’t

  35. You can get out of the hype of buying a great car when dealing with a private owner. You just get what you pay for. It is to your advantage because you do not expect something extraordinary.

  36. How many Kilometers on the odometer? Are the Kilometers on the car worth it, the more there is the more wear and tear on the vehicle.

  37. Ask the owner if he/she is the original owner of the car. You should ask questions about the car oil-changes and how often and maintenance habits.You should ask for the ownership history.

  38. Ask the owner for service records. Owner of the car should have at least some receipts of the car service. Beware when a seller has not any records. When buying a car, having records of any service done on a car helps you know if the car is in good shape but it shows responsibility for the vehicle and that it was looked after well.

  39. Ask the owner if you are allowed to take the vehicle for a test drive.  You should walk away if the answer of the owner is no. He is probably hiding something. Drive the car on different roads for a fitness or mechanical test – take someone else with you that can also look out for anything wrong with it and hear anything unusual.

  40. Ask the owner for the reason of car sale. It can have an impact on the purchase price. If the owner is going to buy a new car, he will probably try to get a good amount on his used car.

  41. Ask the owner about the involvement of the car in an accident. Has the car been involved in any accidents? Seller may not say anything, but if you look at car carefully you can get an idea of the car if it has been involved in any crash previously -look for any body work thats been done or paint chips and paint that don’t match up etc.

  42. Are you allowed to take the car to your mechanic for a test? It is better to test the car by your mechanic before you make the purchase – that way you get a piece of mind afterwards.

  43. You can have major benefits with dealers as they provide extended warranty on cars majority of the time (we have a lifetime engine warranty on all of our vehicles already and we offer extended warranty too!)

  44. Dealers allow you to choose in a large inventory of cars and do the best you can at the very time. You have a better chance of finding a used the car when dealing with a dealer due to huge inventory – and we try and find the best vehicle for you with multiple questions asked and different test drives to make sure it’s perfect.

  45. Dealership stands behind the car if you get into the problem within a short period of time.

  46. Dealers have to maintain their reputation, so you can expect high quality when dealing with a car dealer – we make sure you leave with nothing but the best vehicle possible, not just for reputation but to make sure you and your family and everyone in between is safe and happy!

  47. A dealership can provide you additional discounts if there is an issue with the vehicle. Small things like scratches etc. discounts can be made if you are a repeat customer!

  48. A dealership has major benefit of doing paperwork for you – we do everything, you just have to sign.

  49. You need to ask questions to the dealer before making the purchase – we answer honestly and with as much knowledge as we know!

  50. Ask the dealer about the previous owner of the car. You should be ready to get in touch with the car owner. If they bought it at an auction get all the details about it – we have car proofs on all of our vehicles which tells us any previous owners, any accidents, how much money has been invested in, any maintenance and you can read all of this information.

  51. Ask the dealer, how long a test drive you are allowed to take? See if dealer allows you to take the car for a test drive – we encourage test drives as it allows you to experience the car not just buy looking but feeling how it drives etc. you don’t typically buy clothes without trying them on previously … it’s the same idea.

  52. Ask for the car history report when dealing with a dealer. A bad dealer may be reluctant to provide it. But, a reputable dealer will provide it to you – we will always provide.

  53. always see what payment options a dealership has, paying cash in hand can be helpful and may offer discounts but getting a finance loan is where most people go and there is plenty of options there!

  54. Ask the dealer about the equipment you will be getting with the car. See what new equipment a dealer has to offer. Maybe you can get a set of new tires, or a timing belt can be a nice touch.

  55. Ask the dealer about the services dealership has performed since its purchase. This question will determine what value you can get for your purchase – we breakdown how much money was put into the vehicle after we have purchased it so it helps you out.

  56. Ask the dealer if you can trade-in the car? It can make it easier for you to do everything. Doing trade ins means that you can get a discount off your new vehicle but also means everything is done in one spot and no need to try and sell it after.

  57. Negotiate wisely. Obviously, you do not want to pay the sticker price. But, where to begin. Keep in mind that opening number can be a deciding factor in your purchase.

  58. Once you get a dollar figure you cannot go lower on it. It is why you cannot ask the seller to name the price first. This way you can make it sure you are not starting high.

  59. Show that you have done your homework and now you are ready to make your purchase. Thanks to the internet for many of these helpful guides and all the research you previously did.

  60. You should ask tough questions about the car. Try to get the salesman open about the price of the car.

  61. Leave the car lot if they are trying to get over you too much. If they are trying to show that they are in control you should be ready to leave the sales cubicle – you are the one in charge as you are the one pulling out your money, so make sure you feel that way.

  62. Be ready to leave the car lot. Never finalize a deal without leaving the car lot. Just tell the salesperson that price is not what you were expecting and you are going to see if you can find a better deal at somewhere else. Make it sure they have your cell phone when doing so because they will have to call you for giving you some other options.

  63. Do not get stuck on a single dealership. Always shop at more than one dealership. Make it sure dealers you choose to know about each other.

  64. Getting to a few dealerships will get you to the real price of the car that you want to purchase. It will also help you prevent paying too much for a car – you shopped around online, now shop around in person.

  65. You should provide a reason for the figure you are going to throw out. Do not speak after presenting that figure. Your goal should be the seller to accept or counter offer a figure.

  66. Never accept the first offer dealer makes to you. Offer them something that is lower than that.

  67. The timing of the purchase can have a major effect. You can get a good deal at the end of the month. Dealers may provide you something regarding that.

  68. You need to be careful when inspecting a car. Check the service history report. Are there any large gaps in service history records? Or accidents resulting more than 2000$ repair?

  69. Make it sure that car is on ground level before you start inspecting. You can get to see everything clearly by doing so.

  70. The paint job of the car is important to take a look at. Take into view any dents, scratches or rust spots. Clean the car so the paint can be visible. Run your finger along the edges. Look for any rust spots.

  71. The car trunk is important to take a look at. Make it sure it is still in good condition. If there is wear inside the car it may be an indication of the usage of the car.

  72. Tires of the car are important to check. Take a look at the car tires, they should be worn evenly and match. Aso look at the surface of the tire for feathering. Take a flashlight and look at the wheels for rust.

  73. Get under the car and check for the exhaust system and any under-body rust. Black spots on the exhaust system can indicate leaking. It is also a time to inspect the frame.

  74. Check the body area with a magnet. If you think it has been patched with a body area you can get to it. A magnet will not stick the area that is patched with body filter.

  75. Check all the lights if they are working. Make sure all light lenses and reflectors are intact and not cracked.

  76. Check the car hood for any indication of rust, damage or dents. If there are any it means the car has not been taken care properly.

  77. Check hoses and belts for any cracks. Look at radiator hoses they should not be soft.

  78. Check the engine for any sort of leaks or corrosion. Look at the engine block for any dark brown oil stains, this indicates that there are leaks in the gasket and could possibly lead to major problems in the future. Check the brake fluid to make sure it is not leaking.

  79. Pull the transmission dipstick, the fluid should be pink or red. It should smell or look burnt although and oil in the car may be dark. Make it sure it is full.

  80. The timing belt is an important part of the engine. You do not have to worry if the car is equipped with a steel timing chain.

  81. A musty, moldy and mildewy smell could indicate water leaks. Remove the floor mats and look for wet spots on the carpet.

  82. Some odours can be hard to get rid off. It is better to check another car if you do not like the smell – make sure it is a non smoking vehicle etc.

  83. Check all the seats with care and make sure everything is working fine and you can drive without any problem.

  84. Check the car air condition to make sure it is working fine. Switch it on and make sure it quickly blows cold.

  85. Check the heater by turning it on when the engine is running. Check how it gets and how quickly.

  86. You may like it or not but it is important to check sound system of the car. Check radio reception by turning on AM and FM. Try ejecting a CD if there is a CD player and check the bluetooth.

  87. Check car odometer for mileage. It is important to note because mileage indicates the age of the car – work out how many km it was driven every year it will show you how often it was driven and if it’s worth it.

  88. Use your nose as well as your ears. Check for any water entry signs.

  89. Do not forget to take the car to an independent mechanic that works in the field. The dealer should have no problems allowing you to do so.

  90. If a private seller is reluctant to allow you to inspect the car that is not a good sign.

  91. Always try to perform an inspection through a mechanic even if it costs you.

  92. Buying a used car without test driving is like diving into a river without knowing how deep it is. A thorough test driving is critical in the purchase decision.

  93. Test driving the car is necessary to make sure everything is working fine – listen for any funny sounds, smoke or weird smells.

  94. You should compare all the vehicles on the same day so you can make a better comparison – test drive one after the other.

  95. Self-driving a used car is important because a warranty is not provided along with it.

  96. Make a list of things that you need to take a look at during your test drive – this will help make sure you inspect everything and do everything you set out to do which in the long run is better for you.

  97. Before taking a test drive first thing you need to make sure is that you can sit comfortably in the car seat. Is there enough legroom for you and you are in a good position when gripping the steering wheel and reaching the brakes, is the chair comfy and not too stiff.

  98. Make it sure that all the functions of the car are working properly before you take a test drive. Check for any non-functioning features that you can use to negotiate the price.

  99. Start the car engine and listen for any weird sounds that feel unordinary. Not only engine, also focus on other parts of the car.

  100. Check for the excessive smoke when the car is running – this could be something simple but it could also cost you thousands in the long run.

  101. Take the car to an open parking lot and let go of the steering wheel if it pulls down on one side – make sure it doesn’t lean to one side or the other.

You are now ready to purchase your new vehicle, follow these steps, do your research, feel confident when shopping, and Don’t feel pressured when buying! Vehicles are expensive purchases so you need the PERFECT vehicle for you, your family and friends. 

If you have any questions and wish to speak with any one at Auto City Fredericton call us at 506-457-1798 and we can help get you in the best vehicle possible.

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