According to Auto Remarketing, 38.3 million used vehicles were sold in the United States in 2015. If you are in the market for a used car for the first time, chances are your friends and family are giving you a lot of advice. Unfortunately, the majority of these well-meaning individuals are probably not telling you about the potential issues many first-time used car buyers overlook. Here are three common mistakes that novice used car buyers often make, and what you can do to avoid making them yourself:
Concentrating Too Much on the Monthly Payment
Purchasing a used vehicle is a huge decision for many reasons. One of the biggest is the fact that you will need to pay for this vehicle month after month. However, before you get too wrapped up in the monthly payment, remember that for many car salesman, getting you to focus on that number distracts you from the other expenses of owning that car.
For example, in addition to the monthly payment, you must also consider the cost of ownership. This can include any potential repairs and the cost of gas. Also, many salesmen will extend the payments over four, five or even six years to get that monthly payment down. The longer you are paying for your vehicle, the more time you will be paying for the cost of gas and potential repairs.
Instead of negotiating based upon the monthly payment alone, work with the dealership to lower the purchase price, instead. Once the purchase price is negotiated, you can go ahead and talk about monthly payments, your vehicle's trade-in value and the financing options available.
Skipping the Vehicle History Report
You've found the used vehicle that fits all your needs, and the price seems too good to be true. However, before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to research the vehicle's history. You might find out that there is a good reason why the vehicle's price is that reasonable.
The fastest and most reliable way to learn about a used vehicle's history is to order a free VIN history report. Basically, this report will tell you everything you need to know about the used car's past, including:
- Accident history
- True odometer reading
- The vehicle's past owners
- Any liens that are still on the vehicle
If you order this report, you will have concrete evidence of the vehicle's past, which will allow you to dispute any claims made by the current owner. Ordering a vehicle history report is one of the most inexpensive and reliable ways to ensure you get a fair deal on a used car.
Relying On the Dealership to Provide You with Financing Options
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes that many used car buyers make is allowing the dealership to provide them with their only financing options. Most dealership have a network of banks they typically work with. Instead of limiting yourself to these banks, look for financing options on your own.
For example, many credit unions will often provide great deals on used car loans. If you have a bank that you have worked with in the past, ask them about their used vehicle financing options. Take your approval letter with you to the dealership and ask them to beat the terms of that loan. Even if the dealership's banks are able to provide you with a better offer, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are getting an amazing deal!
From paying too much attention to the monthly payment to solely relying on the dealership to provide you with financing options, there are several common mistakes that first time used car buyers should avoid.