Six steps to buy the best used car


Buying a used car, one of the most nerve-racking things is negotiating the price. Most consumers do not have the habit of haggling on weekdays, but when you need to buy a car, you should be familiar with some industry rules first. Only in this way can you reach a fairer deal. The US media “Fiscal Times” (The Fiscal Times) and the used car information website provide consumers with step-by-step six-point advice.

1. Determine the budget to obtain financing

Before choosing a car, you need to know your budget first. Before looking for a second-hand car dealer, you should also know how to handle the installment payment. Auto dealers also usually offer loans, but you often lose bargaining power with this. If you know how much you can afford and where the loan will come from, once you find the car you like, you can come prepared.

It should be noted that paying cash is not very attractive to car dealers, and they often hope to get more interest rate benefits through installment payments.

For car purchase installments, the following materials are usually required: First, your credit history; if your credit is good enough, you also need to provide a driver’s license, insurance card, income proof (the last two pay stubs, last year’s tax bill, etc.), try your best to Detailed address proof information (such as phone bills, bank account records, mortgage records, etc).

2. Selected models

There are many ways to find the right car. You can compare “car reviews” from different sites, especially Consumer Reports, watch YouTube videos, or head to your local used car dealer to find out. If you go to a car dealership, don’t buy it yet, the comparison phase has just begun. At this stage, you want to consider the following metrics:

(1) What different configurations are available for your favorite model? If you are looking for a “Honda Accord”, you need to understand the difference in configuration between the Accord LX and EX.

(2) How many generations does this model have? Which are the best? Although manufacturers launch new models every year, major improvements are only made every few years. Know how many generations your car is, and make sure the manufacturer hasn’t made any bad tweaks to the engine. Care must also be taken to buy new cars that are introduced in the first year. It’s like buying a new Apple product, the most popular is often not the first generation.

(3) What is the most important thing in car maintenance and repair? You should know if your selected car is due for an overhaul after another 100,000 miles. Probably the last thing you want is to buy a car and spend a fortune to maintain it. You need to know what maintenance items you will face next, such as the timing belt (timing belt, water pump, clutch, brakes, etc.) and The maintenance cost of these components.

3. Research the market

Take the time to research and understand the market for your vehicle. Search by car model on different websites to get some idea of ​​the price. For example, if you are currently looking for a used Ford F150 in Los Angeles, consider the following questions:

(1) Are there many F-150S in the auto market?
(2) Are these vehicles unsalable or popular? If the market turnover is not fast, there will be more room for bargaining.
(3) How much is the price of this old car reduced with mileage? Are prices plummeting or relatively stable?

According to research, on average, a used car undergoes more than three price reductions before it is sold, for an average of $1,000 in total price reductions. Therefore, it is important to be patient.

Fourth, understand the car dealer

Once you’ve found a car that’s close to your budget, it’s time to reach out to a car dealer. A few things to keep in mind:

(1) What you see online may not be owned by the car dealership. It is possible that the low-priced car on the Internet has been sold in the past one or two days or someone has paid the deposit first, but the car dealer has not updated the network information in time. Therefore, you must call to confirm before going to the door.

(2) Is this car dealership a franchise or an independent dealer? The former is sold together with new and used vehicles, usually under the brand names of Ford, Honda, and Toyota. Such dealerships generally know the relevant models well, and only sell old cars of good quality. For example, if you buy a Honda Accord from a Honda franchise, the quality is generally safe. Franchise dealerships don’t gamble their reputations to sell cars of questionable quality.

(3) How does the car dealership charge? Almost every dealer’s charges are non-negotiable. Before you visit a dealership, be sure to call and ask about the dealership’s rates and compare the industry charges in your state. For new and used cars, the fees listed by the car dealership usually involve the following six categories: Documentation Fees, Dealer Prep Fees, Extended Warranty, Protection Fee, Advertising Advertising Fee, and Shipping Fee (Destination or Delivery Fee).

You need to find out what the various charges are, and find out whether the maintenance service provided by the car dealer is worth the service fee, and then ask the dealer to remove some unreasonable charges or services that you do not need, otherwise, you may will be greatly overrun. Of course, you will also need to pay the taxes required by your state.

(4) Can the car be negotiated? At present, more and more dealers implement the “Buy it Now” policy. So, in this regard, you should also call ahead to say hello.

(5) Are there any additional clauses in the car purchase contract that you have not noticed? While few dealers intentionally mislead customers, some still use tricks to make a profit. Make sure the prices they offer are real, with no added fine print. For example, some car dealerships only list the low prices they can get when buying from them with a loan.

5. Test drive the vehicle

Before talking to the dealership specifically, you’ll need to test drive the vehicle to make sure everything is in good working order. A vehicle’s history isn’t everything, nor can a Carfax or Autocheck inspection report reveal potential problems with a vehicle.

There are many doors in the used car industry, and it’s a good idea to bring a mechanic with you when buying a non-certified used car. Although they will cost you $100, they can help you determine whether a car’s performance is safe, reliable, and worth your money.

For old cars, whether the original owner knows how to maintain the car and drives carefully has a great impact on the condition of the car. Therefore, in addition to checking the parts, you may wish to pay attention to whether the interior and trunk of the car are clean and tidy; visit the original owner At home, check whether his garage is clean and orderly, and whether there are many oil stains on the ground. From these signs, we can see whether the original owner loves the car. 

6. Communication and bargaining

Before going to the car shop, I believe you have called to confirm the price. If the other party’s answer is that the price is negotiable, now is the time to negotiate specifically. The average seller will make a few hundred dollars in profit. The key to bargaining is to stand your ground and not exceed your budget. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know when the other party offers a good price. At that point, you can consider signing a contract.

In addition, choosing the right time to buy a car will also reduce the burden on your wallet.’s point of view is: in terms of a month, the end of the month is better for bargaining; in terms of a day, half an hour before closing time in the morning and evening is a good time to bargain when buying a car. The site also gives a report on the average price drop for used cars across the United States each month of the year.