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Shopping for Used Cars? Here's What You Need to Know

If you're interested in saving money on the purchase of a vehicle, used cars are the way to go.

Part of this has to do with their lower cost when compared to new cars, but the other reason behind buying used is that a new vehicle's value depreciates considerably in the first year of ownership. While you likely aren't buying a car as an investment and instead consider it a necessity to get from one place to the next, the fact remains that nobody wants to lose a portion of the money they've spent on any high-priced item. When you're shopping for a used car, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Be smart about your used car loan

You might think that every car loan for your used vehicle is created equally since the amount of the loan is consistent from lender to lender; however, interest rates can make the total amount you pay over time much different. As a result, it's a good idea to compare used car loans online prior to making a purchase. This can help you calculate how much you'll be paying in the long run on any car you buy, which can help you make the right decision when choosing between lenders. Being smart about your car loan can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the price of your used vehicle.

Know what to look for during a test drive

Once you've found a vehicle that you're interested in, you'll want to give it a spin before making a purchase. During a test drive, there are a variety of things you'll want to test and inspect once you get behind the wheel. First and foremost, you want to make sure that you're comfortable in the car and can reach all of the necessary controls. If the car has Bluetooth connectivity, make sure your phone can connect to it, too. Drive the car offsite and park it in a public parking lot where you can walk around the vehicle and look for cosmetic damage, too. If you need a test drive checklist, this article from Forbes is a great starting point to help you know what you might miss.

Be ready to repair aspects of the car if it means a good deal

During your test drive, you may find some minor cosmetic issues or other problems that aren't dealbreakers—but they're annoying to deal with. If you know how to fix these issues, though, you may be able to get a better deal on your car purchase since other buyers might be unwilling to overlook these sorts of problems. Knowing where to buy the right headlight restoration kit could give you the tools you need to save money on your car by fixing the problem yourself. If you really want the best deal possible, being flexible about the condition of the car and knowing how to find kits that help you solve problems yourself can be a major money saver.

Negotiate — but not too aggressively

Everybody thinks they're a good negotiator, but when buying a used car, you may need to be a little more tactful. Car dealerships are used to people trying to bargain their way down thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and the last thing you want is to go toe to toe with a car salesman who won't have any patience for your shenanigans. By all means, be firm in your offer—especially if you already have a car loan to cover the purchase. But if the price of the car you're looking at is already a good deal, don't try to haggle the price down too much.

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Tags: Cars?, Here's, Know, Need, Shopping, Used, What, You, for, to


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