Buying a used car can save a lot of money and is often a smart decision for car buyers. However, there are always risks involved in buying a used vehicle, especially if the history of the car isn’t clear. Before buying a used car, there are some simple ways to make sure the purchase is a good one that won’t be regretted down the line. These tips from InsuranceHotline.com make buying used safer and easier.
Used car buying can be a great experience – or a very stressful one. Follow a few easy tips to make sure the purchase is a good investment. Used cars are usually sold with an "as-is" caveat; there is no real recourse if the car turns out to have problems. There are some ways, however, to check on that possibility before buying a used car. InsuranceHotline.com explains what to look for when buying a used car.
Full Cost of Ownership
Buyers typically look for the usual items when buying a car – style, performance and gas mileage. It’s important to look at the big picture and include car maintenance and insurance coverage in the cost of owning the car. For example, imported cars may cost more to maintain than domestic cars. And the same goes for insurance. "The type of car you drive may impact your car insurance rate" says Tammy Ezer of InsuranceHotline.com. "It's important to know how much insurance will cost before purchasing the car."
Before deciding to buy a used car, compare car insurance quotes on the potential cars to help make the right decision.
Vehicle History Reports
A vehicle history report is a great way to get a look into a car’s past. Listed on the report are important things like:
- any accidents that were reported
- maintenance done by the dealership
- how many owners a car has had
- liens on the car
This can tell a potential buyer a lot about where a car has been and what sort of care it has had. It also gives warnings about potential problems with the engine or major damage sustained in an accident.
Most used car dealers will be happy to provide a vehicle history report on any car they have for sale at no charge. Simply ask to see it and in most cases they’ll print it off right away. When buying a used car from a private party, it is still possible to obtain a copy, although there is likely to be a charge for getting it. Some sellers may be willing to obtain the report, but in other cases car buyers will find themselves responsible for the cost.
Having an inspection done is the best way to know exactly what a used car has to offer – or to hide. Most dealers or mechanics will perform the inspection for a flat fee, and the buyer will usually be responsible for paying it. Don’t make the assumption that because the car is being sold by a dealer it has been thoroughly inspected. Most dealerships do perform some sort of inspection, but it may not be as thorough and things can be missed.
A pre-purchase inspection is good best peace of mind a used car buyer can purchase, as it will disclose damage that might not be in the vehicle history report. This is usually from accidents that were not reported to insurance companies for whatever reason – often because they were single vehicle and the owner opted to pay for the repairs rather than risk the higher insurance rates.
It will also reveal and mechanical problems or damage that has not be properly repaired; these are things that can cost a lot of money when they’re discovered too late. They can also make a vehicle unsafe and result in an accident.
Smart Used Car Shopping
Since it does cost to have a pre-purchase inspection done, it’s usually not worth it until the choices have been narrowed down to a very serious selection. Use vehicle history reports and research on each vehicle to choose the car that is of most interest, and then have the inspection done as a final step.
Used cars have already lost the depreciation value that comes right after buying new, so they are a great way to save money. Shopping wisely means that money savings won’t be lost due to something unknown about the car. And when shopping for that used car, it is a good idea to also shop for car insurance quotes to avoid any surprises.