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How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car

Americans are buying more used cars than new ones, and this number is increasing as people try to save more money. However, the question in most people’s minds is, “could I be paying too much?” A car is a significant purchase, and the buying process can seem daunting. Many people don’t negotiate for most of their purchases, especially since you only buy a car once every few years. But you can save yourself an average of 15 percent on this purchase. Thus, it is a good idea to know how to find a good deal. Here are seven ideas on how to find the best deal on your used car purchase.

1. Do a Reconnaissance

The best new cars become the best used cars. So, do some investigation and determine which cars are renowned for dependability. Annually, Consumer Reports produces a list of the top and worst used cars. From such guides, you will find a perspective of the kind of vehicles to go after and those to avoid. Thus, before stepping into the dealership, have a list of the car models you would like to consider.

2. Get the Dealer to Name the First Price

Definitely, you don’t want to pay the price on the sticker. But where do you begin? An old negotiating adage says, “Whoever speaks first loses.” The reason is naming a figure defines the whole negotiation. But if you suggest a price, you cannot go any lower than that. Thus, try to get the dealer to set the price first. This way, you will discern you are not starting too high.

3. Mention a Reputable Pricing Guide

You need to mention the name of a respectable pricing guide such as Nadaguides.com or Edmunds.com. Dealers are used to this. Those who have been around from the times before the internet may miss the moments when clients were ignorant. However, some customers are still unaware, so ensure you make them know you have done your homework. This will catalyze the process.

4. Scout out Your Prospects

Examine your prospects during the day so that you can quickly identify depressions and bumps in the car’s exterior. Watch out for signs of wreckage. Any car in your consideration should sit properly, not slope to the front or back or tilt to one side. Run your hands over its body. Stand a few feet in front of the car and examine the major lines of the chassis, especially where the hood meets the body. These lines should be straight.

Cars that have been involved in an accident are usually painted to hide the repairs. Examine the seams, for instance where the doors meet the door rims. If you notice “bleed through,” it indicates a different original color. Checking under the trunk’s carpet will help you notice if the car has been repainted as you will see the original color in this hidden spot.

5. Check the Interior

Some people maintain their cars, and others don’t. If the interior is unblemished, then the mechanical condition is possibly the same. But if the car you are examining has a shabby interior, then probably it has not had an oil change for a long time. Also, take a keen look at the gas and brake pedals. Their state should match with the odometer readings. If it has a low mileage and but the pedals are frayed, probably the odometer has been rolled back. Push every button and knob, particularly the power items such as the sunroof and windows; tilt and move the seats; test the seatbelts; check the heater and air conditioning; test the radio and CD player, and ensure everything works as expected.

6. Test-drive It

A short ride around the block won’t work for you. Plan to take the car for an hour both on the highway and the street. Turn off the radio and listen to the car’s performance. Find out if the steering is comfortable and whether the ride is smooth. Check whether the car follows a straight line or drifts to one side when you keep your hands barely on the steering wheel. Also, check for noises at high speeds.

7. Separate the Transactions

When you are ready to conclude the deal, separate the transactions—the financing, trade-in, and the purchase. If you don’t do this, the dealer can cover a lower sales price by charging a higher interest rate or by giving you a lower trade-in value. So begin by negotiating the cost of the car. If you have a car you desire to trade-in, don’t mention it first until you have agreed on a sales price. Only then can you discuss the price of your trade-in. Then negotiate the final rate and get the agreement in writing.

Buying a car doesn’t need to be a huge hassle. Follow these tips and you will find yourself a great set of wheels while saving money and having a guarantee that the car will last.

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