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Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car

Buying a new vehicle is a big decision and with so many dealerships and vehicles available how does a consumer go about choosing the right vehicle and the right car dealership to make a deal with?  We put together a Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car 2015 to help you with your next vehicle purchase.

Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car 2015

Research and Review Car Dealers in your area:

The first thing you should always do before even looking at each dealership is finding out who the reputable car dealerships are.  This is doubly important if your looking at Buy Here Pay Here dealerships because often times you not only buy the car from them you finance it there as well so you will be dealing with them on a personal level for a couple years while you make payments.  Checking each car dealerships Google Reviews or Facebook Reviews is crucial.  Learn as much as you can from other peoples experiences with that dealership before deciding which dealerships to visit.

Search the Car Dealers Website:

Now that you figured out which car dealerships are most reputable the next step is looking at their website.  Each dealership has a special niche they try and cover in the used car market.  Some deal with newer cars, some older cars, some with expensive cars, and some with lower priced vehicles.  Figure out what your car budget and credit score is then see which car dealers are in that range you are willing to spend.  From each car dealerships website you should be able to determine not only the year, make, model, and mileages of each vehicle but usually the more reputable dealers will post their prices, down payments, and car history such as Carfax or AutoCheck.

Look at the Vehicle History / Consumer Reports:

Once you find the best car dealers to work with and reviewed their inventory, now it’s time to take a closer look at the vehicles they have that you like.  Companies like Carfax and Autocheck both provide excellent vehicle history information.  This information can tell you if there have been any recorded accidents, how serious any previous accidents were (airbags deployed, minor collisions, total loss, etc.), how many previous owners, open recalls, what state the car has been in for most of its life, and any service at major dealerships or auto repair shops that has been done.  The next step after looking at the vehicle history is searching consumer reports about different makes and model’s of cars.  Particular years of vehicles had issues so you want to know what your getting into.  A favorite free site we use frequently is CarComplaints.com.  Its a very helpful quick tool that gives you a vast amount of knowledge about each vehicle.

Research Car Prices:

After you narrow down your selection it’s time to do some research on pricing. KBB (Kelley Blue Book) is probably the most widely used consumer tool on the market to help consumers understand a fair market value for new and used vehicles.  Banks and finance companies still tend to prefer NADA values but both are very suitable for researching new and used car prices.  Mobile apps are also available for KBB and NADA.

Schedule an appointment at the Dealership:

You found the right dealer, you found the right car, now it’s time to schedule an appointment to check it out.  Contact the car dealership and make sure the vehicle you are looking at is still in stock and available.  Usually you can do that through email but you may prefer to call as well if you are looking for an immediate response.  Occasionally some dealers have stuff listed that they sold and either forgot or haven’t gotten around to deleting it offline.

Visit the car dealership:

They got the car you want and you scheduled an appointment now its time to take a visit to the car dealership.  Before looking at the car I recommend going inside and meeting whoever you are working with.  Paying careful attention to the people who you are going to be giving your hard earned money to…  What was their attitude? How were you greeted? How happy are the other employees you saw to be working there?  Everything looks good so lets check out the car.   Again all this is especially important when dealing with a Buy Here Pay Here car dealership because you’ll be working with them one on one for the next several months.

Test Drive the Used Car:

Take the car(s) you like the most for a drive.  We recommend you pick your top 2 or 3 cars and test them out.  You’ll know right away which one you like the most after you drive them, but that way it gives you a variety to think about.  On the test drive try and go on a route that allows you to get it up to a highway speed of at least 55 or 60 mph.  This way you can feel the used car shift through all the gears, make sure the tires are in proper balance, that the A/C and heat work, lights, horn, cruise, windows.  Check it all out.  Once you return from driving a used car the next thing is walking around it inspecting any damage, dents, paint chipping, and tires.  Its a terrible thing to have to spend all that money for a new car and then have to pay a bunch more in new tires.  Ask if there has been any services already performed or are you going to have to do the first service as well. Next pop the hood.  Inspect the engine compartment carefully looking for any fluid leaks above and below the car and see if there are any funny smells or burning smells after the test drive once the engine is warmed up.  Discuss any issues with the dealers and see if there is anything that can be worked out either in the price or the car dealership fixing repair issues noticed.

Finalize the Deal:

If everything checks out to this point, then it’s time to finalize the deal.  Most of the time you can get the best deal by going through your own personal bank or credit union.  Not only do they make sure the numbers are fair for both sides they also usually offer the best rates.  That might not always be the case as some brand new cars come with interest free financing for so many months if your credit score is high enough to qualify.  Get all the numbers together watch for dealers fees, admin fees, or service fees then visit your local bank or credit union for financing.

Hopefully this Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car 2015 will help you with your next vehicle purchase.  Until then we look forward to assisting you any way we can so questions or comments please email us at phil@pwuc.com.

Thanks for reading,

Philip Nassoiy

phil@pwuc.com

Paul West Used Cars

3320 N Main Street

Gainesville, FL

Helpful articles regarding Buying a Used Car:

Confessions of a Car Salesman

10 Steps to Buying a Used Car

10 STEPS TO BUYING A USED CAR

Advice on Car Buying

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