Buying a second hand car can be a last resort or a smart way to save money. Whatever your reason may be for purchasing a used car, there are some important things to know to ensure that you get the best performing car for your money.
Whether referred to as a used car, second hand car or pre-owned vehicle, the car you are contemplating buying has previously been owned by someone else. That is where the similarities end, however, as these vehicles pop up for sale in an entire range of conditions, for different prices, and under varying circumstances. Each used vehicle needs to be critically examined and assessed in order to determine if it is a smart buy or a money sucking purchase.
Before settling on a car it is crucial to do some research. Take some time to think about what the car will be used for, the size you need, how much trunk space you will need, what your budget is, and any other considerations. It is also a good idea to read up about any particular makes or models that you are considering so you are aware of specific mechanical problems, recalls or other associated issues.
To save in the long run, calculate ahead of time the total cost of the car. The total cost includes more than just the price tag – it includes all the additional associated costs of having the car such as insurance, fuel, maintenance costs. Look into the car’s fuel consumption, servicing and repair bills. Even if you buy a used car for a great price, if the maintenance or fuel expenses are going to be extremely costly, in the long run you may not be saving as much money as you thought you would.
Also, a common mistake that potential used car buyers make is that of assuming that because the car is only a few years old and because it is of a quality make or model, they do not need to worry too much about repair or maintenance costs. However, even a high quality car that is only a year or two old will eventually exhibit problems that will end up costing you a whole lot more than you anticipated if the previous owner did not properly maintain the car. Have the car inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to buying it to make sure that the lower price tag of a used car won’t be cancelled out by expensive repairs.
Finally, to avoid a major disadvantage of buying a used car – the lack of warranty – consider buying car that is only a year or two old old. If the car is coming off a lease it has probably been well maintained and may still be under factory warranty. You will be getting a relatively new car for a used car price, and still getting the benefit of the warranty.