Used Car Shopping Tips From a Car Salesman In Denver
Shopping for a used car can be somewhat stressful as there is now so much information out there. Ideally you want a car that’s been treated well by the previous owner. This is next to impossible to know because services such as carfax only give you so much information. Everyone has a different driving style so you’ll never know if the previous owner drove the car with respect or not unless you know them personally.
The thing is buying a used car is the best thing to do because it will save you thousands of dollars. Buying new is one of the worst investments you can make over your lifetime as you’ll lose money as soon as you sign the paper work. Here are the best tips when you go out on your used car buying search.
1. Research pays off. There is a lot of information out there which means you have no excuse to blow into a dealership and impulse buy a car unless you’ve just hit the lotto. Take your time when car shopping as you can really find out what you like or don’t like or which cars will cost more money to maintain or fix when they break down. Go check out Edmunds.com or cars.com, both of which have research tools that can help you narrow down your car search.
2. Ask around. Ask your friends or family. Find out if someone knows a car salesman or someone who works on cars. First hand experience is a good way to help you narrow down your search. Ask people why they love a Toyota or Honda and they will tell you. Similarly, if someone has had a bad experience they will tell you about that as well.
3. Be careful with Craigslist. Craigslist is a minefield and unless you are a minefield technician you should stay away. You can find good cars on craigslist but you’ll have to sift through a lot of garbage to find one. People dump cars on craigslist that are broken down or in the process of breaking down all the time. If you see a nice looking car that is thousands under book then something may be wrong. If you do decide to go check it out make sure you drive it for a long time before making a decision. I’ve also ran into cars where people don’t post any exterior or interior damage only to arrive and see that it has hundreds or thousands of dollars of damage.
4. Narrow down your search before you go out and look. If you know exactly what you’re looking for then salesman or saleswomen can’t pressure you into something you don’t want. Figure out what features are important to you and which ones may just be a waste of money. Not every new feature on a vehicle is life changing. WiFi is now in vehicles and that’s something I’m willing to pay for. If safety is important to you than you may have to sacrifice luxury.
5. Find out your budget. I don’t mean just your monthly payment. Cars are more than a monthly payment as you’ll have to pay insurance while also maintaining the vehicle. Planning for unforeseen breakdowns can go a long way in helping you manage your financing. A $250 a month car payment can easily turn into $500 a month if you include gas, maintenance and insurance.
6. Narrow down the most reliable models. Find the cars that last the longest and are the least to maintain. These cars will be less of a headache and often times have a higher resale value. Toyota or Honda is often the best way to go while Nissan’s and Subaru are also up there in reliability. Subaru has a cult like following and often times you’ll have to get on a waiting list to buy one.
7. Don’t ever take the first price given. This may seem obvious but often times if you’re in a rush you’ll end up doing so. You can avoid being in a rush through careful planning. Always ask for a lower price and have a set price in mind. If you can’t reach that amount it’s best to just walk away.
8. If you’re going to finance, put more money down. I know it seems more convenient to put less money down but the more you put down the less interest you pay. You pay interest on any loan you end up taking out. If you put a larger down payment you can save hundreds or thousands over the length of the loan. Putting more money down will lower your monthly payment which will make it easier to budget gas and other expenses that go into buying and maintaining a car.
9. Drive the car for a while. I mean a long long while. When a car heats up it may react differently then when the engine is slightly cold. Don’t be shy about driving the car around while also leaving it on whether it’s a private seller or a car dealer. Listen to the car and you may hear something inconsistent from when you originally started it. Make sure you drive it at different speeds. Pay attention to the acceleration and how it’s slows down and also gears down. Get a feel for how it shifts and if the transmission has been serviced. Check the oil, anti-freeze and any other fluids that go along with the car. Look underneath the car as it’ll give you a view you may not originally be familiar with.
10. Stick to your guns. Don’t let yourself get pushed around. A sales mans job is to sell you a car as quickly and smoothly as possible. It may not coincide with what you want or what your value is. He may not sell you the most expensive car but if he can sell you a car as fast as possible while moving on to the next customer he can earn higher commission for the month. Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and how to go about it.
11. Looks aren’t everything. Find out what it is you truly value and stick to that. If you value safety then you may have to sacrifice luxury. If you value longevity as well as reliability you may only have a choice of a few different types of cars. Buying a car until you figure out which one you like can be expensive. If you decide where you place value from the start you can save thousands in your search.