You might be dreaming of buying a new car, but after going through your finances, have discovered that you can hardly afford it. A second-hand car is the right option in such a situation and, as you’ll see, it is actually quite feasible for most individuals. When you consider that a new car will depreciate by up to 40% within the first year, buying a used car really makes sense. If you go about this crucial decision carefully, you’ll save your hard-earned money and still get a great car.
Don’t buy salvage
Once you have decided that you’ll buy a used car, always remember that while it could appear to be in tip-top condition, there’s always the possibility that it is actually a write off, also known as a “lemon”. Some sellers roll the vehicle’s odometer back to make the vehicle appear newer than it is. This illegal practice results in the car being purchased for a higher price. You can avoid this potential pitfall by obtaining the vehicle’s history. Regardless of the vehicle’s physical condition, you must refrain from buying a vehicle with a negative report or from a dealer with poor reviews.
Decide how much you’ll spend
If you are buying a used car because of financial constraints, make sure that you don’t make a bad situation worse by opting for a car you cannot afford. If you’ll be making monthly payments for several years, you need to make sure that the payments do not end up messing up your budget and your lifestyle. To avoid a disruption in your lifestyle, make sure that your payments for the car will not exceed 20% of your net pay.
Obtain the vehicle’s service history
Before parting with your money, you should obtain the records showing that the vehicle has been serviced on a regular basis as instructed by the manufacturer. If the vehicle has been on the road for several years and there are no service records, you should find out from the seller why this is the case, but this would be a good reason to call off the deal. Service records will also pinpoint any persistent problem that the vehicle has and this will help you decide if it’s something you can afford to live with.
Conduct a physical inspection
However great the car might look online, you can never tell its true condition without inspecting its physical condition. While you could use a trusted mechanic, if you decide to do the inspection yourself, do not do it when it is raining or without adequate lighting.