Dos and Don’ts of Buying Used Cars

Buying a used car can be tricky. Whether you’re buying from a dealership, private seller, or even a friend, here are a few tips to help you navigate the process:

1) Set your budget… and stick to it

As with any big purchase, it’s important to know how much you can spend. Set a range for what you can realistically afford, knowing what a decent car will cost and your top spending limits. Don’t forget to include costs like registration and title fees, inspection cost, taxes, and any necessary repairs. When available, compare buying versus financing to see which is the better deal for you.

2) Have your mechanic take a look before cash changes hands

Before you sign the paperwork or cut a check, have a trusted mechanic examine the vehicle. Ask them to look for any underlying issues, estimate the cost of necessary repairs, and advise on any repairs that will need to be made soon after purchase.

It’s also a good idea to check the vehicle history report and look for any red flags.

3) Take the car for a test drive

Unless you’re buying a fixer upper, or a vehicle with known repairs that would make it undrivable, request a test drive. This way you’ll be able to see, hear, and feel problems for the vehicle, and gauge how comfortable you are driving it.

4) Don’t be too hasty to leave a deposit

Federal and state laws give consumers an automatic “cooling off period” for some types of purchases, but car sales are not among them. That means once you sign a car purchase agreement for a nonrefundable deposit, you could be stuck in a tough spot. And with some dealerships demanding deposits of up to $1,000, or more in some cases, that’s a lot of money to risk losing. Do some homework before you go shopping to find a trustworthy, reputable seller. Familiarize yourself with price points for the models you like and carefully consider your options, so you don’t feel pressured to put money down on the spot.

5) Don’t forget about the paperwork

Once you close the deal, get the agreement in writing. Complete the necessary paperwork with the DMV as well, and make sure to take care of any taxes and fees. Be sure to read any contracts or agreements before signing, so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

At V&F

V&F Auto Sales has been serving the Western Mass community since 1988. We strive to provide our customers with top quality, affordable vehicle inventory and convenient financing options. View a complete list of our inventory on our website, or visit us at 7 Harding St, Agawam, MA 01001.

Written by Nicole Palange

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