Things to Look For When Buying A Used Car

So you have decided that you want to purchase a vehicle. This is a big decision! Buying a used vehicle helps you get in a car and on the road without having to pay an exorbitant price. However, you must be cautious! Cars can turn into money pits very quickly. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a used car!

What Kind of Car Are you Looking For?

Narrowing down the vehicle you want is the first step in purchasing a vehicle. This all depends on the purpose of the vehicle you are buying. Is the car just for going to work and back? How big of a car do you need? Will you be going on long trips? These are just a few of the many questions you have to ask before picking out the car that is right for you! Here are a few tips on figuring out which car is right for you.

– Fuel Efficiency is very important to consider because getting a fuel-efficient car saves you money on gas and helps save the environment!

– Different styles of cars provide different driving experiences. While sedans are smaller, they are more mobile and easily maneuver in tight spaces. SUVs are bigger and more compact. They also provide for a more comfortable ride. Pick-Up trucks and vans are huge and hard to park, but they provide a ton of storage space.

– Cloth interiors are cheaper than leather, but collect dust and aren’t friendly to those with severe allergies. While leather is the more luxurious option, leather seats get uncomfortably hot when left in the sun and very cold when left outside in the winter.

Financing or Leasing

The biggest question you have to ask yourself before committing to a vehicle is if you want to finance the car or lease it. Financing the car means you put money down on the vehicle and pay off the vehicle over a set amount of months. This route is more expensive, but it’s your vehicle. You can drive it as much as you want, sell it when you want, and customize it.

Leasing a car means you essentially agree to driving the car for a set amount of months and then return the car. You can lease a certified pre-owned vehicle if it is less than four years old and has less than 48,000 miles on it. This is cheaper than financing considering you do not owe money much up front. The money due at leasing includes the following: an acquisition fee, a security deposit, a disposition fee, a down-payment (optional in many lease agreements), a documentation fee, first month’s payment, and the sales tax. You then pay a set price per month for the duration of the lease. With leasing, there is a limit to how many miles you can drive the car per year. Most leases allow 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. However you must pay for every mile you go over the limit. This route is cheaper and allows you to get a new car at the end of your agreement. Most leases include warranties that cover the car’s service.

Deciding on whether to lease or finance depends on what your needs are. If you don’t drive much and want to be in a new car every 2 to 3 years, leasing might be the way to go. If you drive a ton and want to own your vehicle for whatever reason, financing the car is your best bet.

Vehicle History and Mechanical Issues

It is always good to do a little research on the vehicle you’re interested in. Take the vehicles VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and run it on This website will give you the vehicle’s accident, liens, and recall history.

When checking the car out in person, check for the following: Rust, scratches or dents on the body, tire condition, leaks, oil discoloration, and cracked hoses under the hood. Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle ensures that the car has been serviced and inspected. The engines tend to be in good condition. However, many people purchase cars from a private owner. This is when you must be meticulous about the condition of the engine. It is smart to bring a mechanic with you when checking out a car you are serious about purchasing. Buying a used car to find out the engine is giving out is heart-breaking and expensive, so be careful!

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