Purchasing a used car is likely one of the most exciting and expensive purchases you’ll ever make. How often do you get to spend thousands of dollars on a single item? Taking the time to carefully and measuredly decide which car or truck is right for you can make the difference between the best or worst decision of a lifetime. We have consulted our experts and came up with the following guide to finding the used car that’s perfect for you.
According to Edmunds.com certified pre-owned car sales are at an all-time high. The most important thing to consider before stepping foot on the used car lot is your budget. In this market knowing your limitations before you shop is everything. By carefully looking at your finances you can pinpoint the monthly payment that is right for you. Experts at interest.com recommend using the 20/4/10 rule which says you should:
- Make a down payment of at least 20%.
- Finance a car for no more than four years.
- And not let your total monthly vehicle expense exceed 10% of your gross income.
Once you have pinpointed your budget, determine the size of vehicle needed and which features are important to you. Make a list of vehicles fitting that description before setting out to do some research. In the digital age that we live in, it is easy to research vehicles if you know where to look. For safety guidelines check out Safercar.gov. The best information on gas mileage can be found at Fueleconomy.gov. And J.D. Power ratings are always a valuable source of vehicle insights and research.
Armed with a budget and specific vehicle in mind you are now prepared buy a vehicle from a reputable dealership. Make sure to allow ample time for visiting multiple dealerships to find the right used car or truck. Always ask for a test drive before making a final decision. Never buy a vehicle that has an illuminated warning light, performs strange during the test drive, or hasn’t been properly inspected.
Perhaps the most stressful part of the vehicle purchase is the final negotiation. Shopping in winter or towards the end of the sales quarter may make it easier to negotiate a good deal. However, the most valuable tool in your arsenal is preparation. Negotiate with a number in mind and be prepared to walk away if the dealership isn’t willing to come to an agreement on a reasonable price. Once you have come to an agreement and finalized the deal on the car you love, protect it and your wallet with a protection plan from CARS Protection Plus.