Buying a car can be both fun and stressful. Is the price you’re paying fair? Is the vehicle a reliable one? Are there any issues you’re missing? Being an educated consumer is the best way to protect yourself. Here are a few things to do before buying a car,… especially if it’s a used car.
1 – Get Pre-approved
So many car buyers walk into dealerships without knowing what they qualify for in terms of purchase price, interest rate, and monthly payment. If you get pre-approved through a specific dealership, you might be obligated to buy from there to avoid getting your credit pulled again elsewhere. Additionally, some dealerships try to wear you down by prolonging the process. Avoid this altogether by getting pre-approved ahead of time through your bank. This way, you’ll walk in knowing exactly how much you want to spend and are not tied to any individual dealership.
2 – Request an Insurance Quote
Insurance is another important factor in your monthly payment. Premiums are related to the make and model of the car being purchased, so contact your insurance company for a quote. The price of the vehicle is not always indicative of rates. Theft and accident rates play a major role as well. Therefore, some inexpensive but popular vehicles can have high insurance rates.
3 – Check the CarFax Report
Never, ever buy a used car without reviewing the CarFax report. This is one of the most important things to do before buying a car. This report provides a history of ownership and accidents. If a car was in a major accident, there could be underlying problems that create long-term headaches. Also look for red flags like multiple owners selling after only a short period of time, salvage titles, or previous owners located in disaster areas.
4 – Check Market Values
When it comes to used cars, prices can vary greatly. Research prices before walking into a dealership. Otherwise, you may not realize a car is overpriced or, alternatively, a great deal. With so much information available on the Internet these days, you can easily find comparisons. Use this information to negotiate a fair price on a used vehicle from your local dealership.
5 – Take a Test Drive
Lastly, you should always take a test drive. Operate all of the systems in the car. Drive at varying speeds and on different roadways. Turn off the radio and listen closely for unusual sounds. Make a conscious effort to feel how it drives. If anything stands out as unusual, don’t buy the car! It’s common for dealerships to hide issues. Unless you’re an experienced mechanic, don’t accept any excuses or explanations from a car salesperson. Rely on your gut feeling or ask a mechanic to inspect a vehicle for you.
Summary of 5 Things to Do Before Buying a Car
Buying a car has its risks. By getting educated on the market and the buying experience, you can protect yourself and make smarter purchases. Start by getting a pre-approval before walking into any dealership. If you see a car you like, test drive it. Review the CarFax report for any red flags. Get an insurance quote to fully understand the cost of ownership. Check prices of similar cars online before agreeing to a purchase price. Doing all of these things ensures that you will purchase a quality vehicle at the right price,… and be less stressed about your experience as well. We hope these tips help make your next car purchase a little easier.