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Smart steps for buying a perfect used car

Don't rush into buying a used vehicle. With so many lemons out there, it is necessary to perform a thorough research and background checks to become confident about the purchase. Below, you can find the most useful tips and moves that will prepare you for the purchase.

1. Evaluate, how much is the used car worth?

The factors that can affect the price of the car include but not limited to:

  • · Make
  • · Year of manufacture
  • · Odometer mileage
  • · Model
  • · Equipment
  • · Condition

2. Where to find the money

Now you know the price of the vehicle, you should know how to negotiate to make the price lower. For instance, cash buyers can get discounts.

  • · Start with finding out information about the credit score
  • · Get pre-approval from the bank
  • · Think you the monthly payment amount you can handle
  • · Knowing loan amounts, you can calculate monthly payments
  • · There are loan amount calculators that will help you make all calculations
  • · Getting an interest-only loan should be a priority

3. Calculate your insurance payments

Insurance costs can vary dramatically, so take time to make sure you can handle the payments before buying a used car. This information can completely change your mind. First, remove vehicles with unaffordable insurance costs. Note that the cheapest option is not the best one either. Different insurance companies offer different features, some of which you may need. In this case, it's worth it to pay a bit more. Anyway, it's important to keep insurance costs in mind while thinking whether to buy the vehicle or not. Try to compare the prices and features. Consider different options before buying the car.

Checking vehicle condition is a key part of buying a used car. Proper examination will shed light on issues that could be hidden otherwise and allow you to know what you may deal with as an owner.

Thorough check and test drive will either steer you away from the vehicle or make you confident about purchasing a perfect used car. You can also negotiate prices and get a discount if you find some small issues during the inspection.

1. Check that nicks and scrapes are in the proper condition

Visual check for dents and scratches is necessary, so invest some time into that. Uneven body lines, seam gaps and other small signs of damage indicate that the vehicle underwent some repairs and water can get through the holes, which makes it prone to the corrosion. Seams should be properly aligned. If something bothers you, ask for the explanation. You want to know if the car has ever been in major accidents and you can do it by performing a visual check. For instance, never buy a car with frame problems, simply because it's unsafe to drive.

2. Check the tire wear

The main aim of tire check is to make sure that the thread depth is good. These threads can tell you a lot about the car. For example, you'll have to change tires soon if threads are a quarter of an inch deep or less. It means you can at least negotiate prices with the seller. There are 4 digits on each tire, first two refer to the week of make, last two means year. For example, 1516 means the tire was made during the 15th week of 2016.

If the vehicle has new tires, ask the seller why they were replaced. Quality of the spare tire is also important, so check it too.

3. Check for odometer fraud

There are many cases when dishonest sellers try to increase the vehicle price by decreasing the odometer mileage. That's why you have to check the odometer gauge alignment and make sure everything is correct. Just slap the dashboard and listen: a properly installed odometer tightly fits into the spot and never jiggles. And if the odometer model is old, the numbers on it should be lined up.

But you can't do that with new digital odometers. However, there should be stickers inside the car that show a real mileage during the servicing time. Even those sellers who decrease mileages usually forget to remove all the stickers. Sometimes, odometers have to be repaired or replaced. If that's the case, there should also be a sticker that shows the following:

  • · Actual mileage before the repair
· When the new odometer was installed
  • · Actual mileage that is added while the odometer wasn't installed
  • Owner's manual can also be helpful for you. Among other records, it has information about the odometer. You should also check for missing pages. If the manual says that some service or repair has been done, call the service center to make sure it was really done.

    4. Check car fluids for leaks

    Examinations of fluids will tell you how the vehicle was taken care of. Each fluid has a proper color and a warning color, such as:

    • · Brake fluid should be reddish or yellow
    · Engine fluid should be yellow or brown
  • · Transmission fluid should only be reddish
  • · Coolant fluid is always lime green
  • · Power steering fluid is either clear or red
  • Batteries should also be checked for corrosion. If you see corrosion, you'll have to change the batteries and the car price should be lowered. Have a look at hoses and belts - they can also mean additional costs for you.

    5. Engine examination

    Test drive will allow you to examine the engine. Start the car. Check if the check engine lights are on. If yes, there are problems with the engine. Maybe, there are leaks underneath the car. Step on the gas and brake pedals at the same time. Press the accelerator while holding the break. If the engine stops working, it has problems.

    6. Make an interior inspection

    Everything should operate properly - radio is working, doors are closing and windows can be opened and closed. Check all buttons, wipers, signal lights, and cruise control. Check the back seat for molding and water lines. When the car was flooded, it's easy to eliminate marks on the outside, but much harder on the inside. If something doesn't work, get a discount or ask the seller to fix it.

    7. Wiring inspection

    All wires should be properly attached. Take a voltmeter and check the electricity flow.A grounding check is necessary to avoid problems in the future. If you're afraid of checking wires on your own, ask a professional mechanic to do everything for you.

    If the seller allows, having professionals with you is a good idea. Some sellers even agree to cover the costs. Just go to the nearby shop to get an opinion of a specialist.

    Those of you, who don't want to be taken for a ride, should carefully check the paperwork.

    1. Get the car title

    A car title means a paper document that contains owner and vehicle information and proves that the named person is a real owner of the vehicle. An owner has to have the possession of the title before transferring or selling the car. That makes the car title one of the most important documents that are necessary when buying a car. The title has information about:

    • · VIN number, year of make and other general information
    • · License plate number and state
    • · Gross weight, purchase amount, motor power, and other details that are needed for taxation calculation
    • · Basic owner details (name and address)
    • · Salvage, damage, rebuilt, and other information
    • · Lien holder information (if there is any)

    To get validation at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, the title number and owner's name are enough. With a VIN, you can check the used car's history. Vehicle's title helps check accidents, theft recovery, salvaging, and other background information of the vehicle.

    2. Find out if the car has a lien or not

    A car lien refers to a bank or a loan company that has rights on the vehicle in exchange for their help with paying for the vehicle. A car loan is an example. If the car is not lien-free, the title stays with the lender until the full amount is paid. In some states, it's allowed to write the owner's name, but the lien holder's name will also be in the document. When everything is paid, the lender sends the document, confirming that the lien is released. It proves that no money is owed and the lender has no rights on the vehicle anymore.

    3. Keep your tax records

    As you know, visitors and residents of each state have to pay tax on goods purchased. When you buy a used vehicle, you should also pay the tax. It can be you or the seller who should pay the tax, but you must get a copy of the receipt anyway. You will need it during the car registration process.

    4. Duplicate the "Certificate of registration"

    The Certificate of Registration is your proof that the vehicle is registered. In some states, it's required to have the copy of it to complete the car registration. You will get a new certificate once you're done with the process of registration.

    Unfortunately, everybody can meet a dishonest seller. To make sure the vehicle meets all requirements and to avoid fraud, get a Vehicle History report that gives you all necessary information about the vehicle. It includes air bag deployment, salvaging, flooding, theft recovery and other data. The report consists of comprehensive information from DMVs. .

    All VIN History is a high-quality service that quickly delivers the most detailed vehicle history report and saves you from buying a lemon.

    Download Used Car Buying Checklist