Tips on Buying a Used Car

So you're in the market for a dependable used car? The most important thing about purchasing anything is to do your homework first. Visit the internet and do some extensive research on trusted auto websites. Learn all you can about used vehicles. Benefit from other peoples' positive, and negative, experiences. This step will save you, and your family, a lot of trouble down the road. Car fuel economy is one of the most important considerations. Also jot down some of the features you can and can't live without.

Once you have a list of 3 or 4 car models take the time to grab the calculator and work out your monthly budget. How much can you realistically afford for a reliable used vehicle? It's easy to get carried away and purchase a car with extra features you don't really need, so figure out what is really important to you. Perhaps allow yourself a small mark-up in case there is an automobile you just can't pass up. But keep in mind you still have to get the best value you can to maintain your other practical day-to-day expenditures. Don't get carried away and buy something you can't afford.

Before you visit any dealerships phone them first. Ask them about available deals and/or incentives. A simple telephone conversation will reveal a lot about the attitude of the dealership. And yes - your friends and neighbours are sure to have more than enough input about local car dealers. Which ones are most reputable? Are they a BBB Accredited Used Car Dealership?

Next step - a visit to the dealership with your list of 3 or 4 models of your choice. Go in the daytime so you can see the overall shape of the car. Check out the mileage on the cars that interest you. Is the automobile clean? Was it pre-owned by a smoker? Are the tires good? Stay away from a car that looks as if it has been in a serious collision and be sure to ask if the car has had any major repairs; i.e. a valve job, transmission rebuild or engine overhaul. Make sure your dealer offers a guarantee of some kind to back you up in case you discover hidden faults later.

Now it's time to take the car for a test drive. Don't rush! When you take the car out, if possible, drive the route and speed you normally do. After the test drive, if available, ask for the vehicle history report and also ask if any service history is available.

Once you feel comfortable with your vehicle choice, start negotiating. If you have a car you want to trade-in, be firm with the terms and how much you, the buyer, can afford. Don't feel pressured to overload your budget. Don't purchase a car until you are certain it meets all your requirements. You may at this point want an independent inspection on the vehicle prior to finalizing the deal.

Once the payment and paperwork is complete, and you have purchased car insurance, it's time to relax and begin enjoying your new purchase: the best used car your budget can afford. Get out on the road and show your car off to your friends and neighbours. Be sure to tell them about the dealership that went the extra mile to keep your budget and road safety in mind.

Questions and Answers About Used Cars

Below are questions that many new shoppers for a used car ask with answers from Howie Mace of the Car Corral in Victoria, BC.

Are used cars under warranty? Yes. Some vehicles have a balance of factory warranty remaining, if not, a warranty can be purchased for any year make or model for up to 4 years!

Are used cars overpriced? The market always dictates prices. And by market I mean in our area. You can’t compare our vehicles to say, Quebec or Ontario cars. Local BC vehicles always pull a premium over cars from eastern provinces.

Are used cars cheaper at the end of the year? Not particularly; sometimes a price adjustment is made, however the market determines price.

Are used cars taxed? Yes 12% sales taxes (BC)

Which used cars are good? Typically Japanese Imports, however I find all newer cars are very well built. A lot depends on history and overall condition.

Are used cars better than new? You can save a lot of money purchasing a near new pre-owned car, even one with warranty remaining.

How to finance used cars? Most dealerships will have a finance office that acts as an agent for a multitude of lenders for all credit types. Apply at the dealership for ease of approval. We have this service at the Car Corral.

How to compare used cars? Research the internet for various models then visit local dealerships that have what you are interested in. Test drive as many vehicles as possible to find the right one.

How are used cars valued? Age, mileage, history, current condition all play factors in pricing vehicles. There are no two used cars the same, which is why there is a high and low range on a certain year make and model of each car.