3 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Used Car

Posted Monday, May 15, 2017

Car shopping is always exciting, but it can also be complicated, especially when it comes to buying a used vehicle. Used cars for sale are more affordable and can offer many benefits, but it's important to do your research and ask all necessary questions. It's easy to get so caught up in the car that you neglect to figure out all of the technical details. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when buying used cars for sale.

Mistake: Shopping based solely on monthly payments.

When people think about buying a new car, they often consider what the monthly payments will be. Most banks will not give you a loan for a car older than 4 or 5 years, so considering monthly payments is always good, but it shouldn't be the only factor to base your decision on. A longer payment period actually means that you'll end up paying back more money overall. Compound interest may make higher monthly payments the best option for you since you'll be able to pay back the principle in less time. Also, keep in mind the difference between a lease payment and a car payment. A leased car will have to be returned at the end of the contract, but if you purchased your used car, you can trade it or sell it anytime you wish.

Mistake: Skipping the test drive

An estimated 20% of used car buyers don't take the opportunity to test drive the car before buying it. Considering that new car buyers test drive an average of seven cars before buying one, used car buyers should be doing the exact same thing. Used cars being purchased without a test drive can lead to the buyer having a serious case of buyer's remorse. That's why it's imperative to test drive your used car before buying it. If something is seriously wrong, you'll know right away.

Mistake: Negotiating in person instead of over the phone or through email

If you're buying from a used car dealership, the main goal of the salesperson will be to get you on dealership property. Once you're already there, you're much more likely to drive off with the car you're interested in because it's easier for the salesperson to sell it face-to-face. To prepare for this, make sure you've done all of your research at home, and always negotiate over the phone or by email to avoid the high pressure of face-to-face negotiations.