Spring is right around the corner, and with that comes tax refund season! This is the perfect time to start thinking about buying a used or certified pre-owned vehicle with your tax refund. We’ve put together these 10 tips for buying a new car (or new used car) to help guide you in your process.
10 Tips For Buying A New Used Car
- Choose the right car: Think about how you’ll be using this vehicle: do you need AWD to go on ski trips in the winter? Or perhaps you’ll be doing a lot of commuting so you’re looking for fuel-efficiency. Making a clear list of your needs and prioritizing these will help you narrow down your new car search.
- Decide on a budget: How much do you want to spend on your new used car? How much do you want to pay for it?
- Find a seller: Buying a new used car is a big decision, so we recommend researching who is selling the vehicle. Check the reviews of certified pre-owned vehicle sellers, or having a conversation with the private seller you are considering before you decide to move forward. If you don’t trust the seller, don’t be afraid to walk away from the sale; there are plenty of reputable places where you can find some incredible deals on new used cars.
- Do your research: There are a lot of great internet resources that allow you to learn more about your desired vehicle’s value before you decide to purchase it. Kelly’s Blue Book is a great place to start, as well as any consumer boards (like Consumer Reports) that will give you an idea of any issues, reliability, or other ownership costs to look out for on a specific make or model.
- Do some pricing: If you have a specific car in mind, this is also a great time to do some research on pricing for that particular vehicle. The online resources mentioned in #3 are also great resources to give you an idea of what sort of budget range you’ll likely pay.
- Check the vehicle history report: Using the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) you can learn about the car’s history (i.e. has it been in an accident?) Carfax is a great tool to use for this step.
- Go on a test drive: You definitely don’t want to skip this step! This will give you an idea of how the car responds to you as a driver — so make sure to take it on the highway, down side streets, and any areas where turning or cornering is easy to do.
- Request a pre-purchase inspection: We always recommend having a reliable expert (Ahem, for example, Walt’s Auto Service) inspect the vehicle before a purchase is made. We’ll be able to alert you to any issues the car has that either the seller didn’t know (or failed to disclose). We’ll also be able to identify any issues under the hood that may give you a reason to walk away from the deal (or possibly provide leverage to negotiating a lower purchase price).
- Negotiate the best price: Once you have done your research, understand the vehicle’s history, done your test drive and inspection, you’re ready to negotiate! Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price if there is work that needs to be done on the vehicle. Remember you have a budget and make sure the price you request is well within that.
- Complete the transaction: Whether you’re purchasing from a certified used car lot or a private seller, this step requires more than just a handshake. Make sure that all the paperwork is in order and filed correctly including title information, warranties, and any other documents relating to the purchase of the vehicle.
As we mentioned, the team at Walt’s Auto Service are always available to offer an assessment of the car before you buy it, as well as provide system cleaning or any other services the vehicle needs once you’ve made the purchase. Just contact us and we look forward to assisting you in buying your new used car!