Buying a used car can be a great way to get yourself a nice set of wheels for much cheaper than what you'd spend on a brand new car. Plus, when you opt for a used car, you don't have to worry about significant depreciation as soon as you drive it off the lot. Still, if you've got your eye on a pre-owned car, there are a few things you'll want to do before you commit to a deal, regardless of whether you're buying from a dealership or a private seller.
Take a Comprehensive Test Drive
Start by taking a test drive to get a feel for how the car drives and handles. This is an important part of any vehicle purchase, but it's especially important with a used car. When test driving a used car, make sure not to just take a trip around the block. You should take it for a longer spin on side streets, main roads, and freeways. While driving, be sure to turn off the radio and listen closely for any suspicious noises. You'll also want to check to make sure all the features work, such as power doors, locks, windows, and the like.
Check Out the Kelley Blue Book
The Kelley Blue Book is a reliable source that can help you get a better idea of the value of a used vehicle based on its make, model, mileage, and condition. This can help you go into negotiations with a little more confidence and will show the seller that you've done your research.
Have a Mechanic Take a Look
It's never a bad idea to have a trusted mechanic take a look at any used vehicle before you buy it. He or she may be able to detect issues that could steer you away from a bad deal or give you more negotiating power. Any reputable dealership or private seller who has nothing to hide should be happy to let you bring a mechanic out to look at the vehicle before you buy.
Get a Copy of the Vehicle History Report
Make sure the car hasn't been involved in any reported accidents by obtaining a copy of the vehicle history report. This can be done through a number of companies online, although a dealership should be able to provide you a copy upon request for a nominal fee. From there, you can move forward with your used car deal with greater confidence and peace of mind.