Last week we shared some tips for when you're buying a new car, courtesy of Kurt over at Big Island Toyota. This week, Juan Barrientos from DeLuz Chevrolet is sharing some tips with us on what to do when shopping for a used vehicle!
1. There are many different avenues to search.
Looking for a used vehicle can sometimes be easy since there are so many different places to look. An internet search can yield multiple results and help you find the exact vehicle you’re looking for. However, be aware that when buying from someone with an online listing, pictures could not be current and descriptions may not be accurate.
2. Do your research.
When you find the vehicle you want to buy, check it out. Carfax and AutoCheck are good places to start to see the history of the vehicle you are interested in. You’ll see information such as an accident history, open recalls, mileage discrepancies and service records. However, the history and information you find may not tell the whole story. Things could pop up later after you purchase the vehicle, so be sure to do your research. For example, look up the year, make and model of the vehicle to see if there is a common problem out there that other owners of those vehicle seem to have.
You may also want to look into buying from a reputable dealership, which is easier than many people think. When dealers take in a used vehicle, they put money into reconditioning it before putting it up for sale. If you’re interested in the vehicle, you can ask for records of what was done to it.
3. Have it checked out.
When you find the vehicle you want to purchase, have it checked out. Have your mechanic look it over because just test driving it doesn’t give you the full picture of any potential problems for the vehicle. You’re not able to see under the vehicle or look into the motor – this is where your mechanic comes in. It’s important to remember that there is no crystal ball telling you that nothing is wrong with the vehicle or that no problems will ever pop up. However, by having a mechanic look over it, there is a better chance of something not happening or of knowing a potential problem before making the decision to purchase.
4. Used car pricing is not regulated.
You’ll see prices on used vehicles vary widely from private owners and dealers. You may see a 2003 vehicle with an outrageous asking price, but that is just the seller trying to get the most out of their vehicle. You have the option to negotiate and get to (or close to) the price you want. You must be realistic though. If you have a $20k budget for your next vehicle, you don’t want to look at a $35k vehicle because it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to negotiate the price down that much. Be realistic when making your offer and start off by first looking at vehicles that you can comfortably afford.
5. Think about what you need.
The last advice I can give is to make sure you take a moment to step back and think about what you really need. Many of us want a lot honestly when it comes to our next vehicle, but what we want may not be what we realistically need. It can be hard to separate the two when many of us want the coolest and the best. I once had a man that really wanted a 2 door Celica and he went ahead and bought it. Two months later after his wife had a baby, oh yeah I forgot to mention his wife was pregnant at the time of purchase, they figured out that they needed a 4 door car for their growing family.
Be sure to make the right decision that you’ll be happy with now and in the future. It’s your purchase, not anyone else’s so you’ll want to be sure you feel good about your decision.
Mahalo Juan for your tips!