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:
Do: 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-of-budget spending limits. When available, compare buying versus financing to see which is the better deal for you.
Don’t: Forget about “extra” costs.
When making a budget, it’s important to look beyond the sticker price. Don’t forget to include DMV fees, registration and title transfer charges, inspection costs, taxes, and the estimates for any necessary or upcoming repairs.
Do: 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.
Don’t: Be too hasty to leave a deposit.
Taking a test drive can be a thrilling experience—and it can be really tempting to put down a deposit on a dreamy ride, just in case.
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 make sure you’re working with a trustworthy, reputable seller, and read their policies closely before signing anything.
You should also familiarize yourself with the price points for the models you like and carefully consider your options—resist the pressure to put money down on the spot, even for a good deal.
Do: Have your mechanic take a look before cash changes hands
Once you find the car you want to purchase, have a trusted mechanic examine the vehicle before you sign any paperwork (or cut a check). 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. They’ll be able to flag any issues that may have been glossed over by the seller and give you an idea of what maintenance lies ahead.
It’s also a good idea to check the vehicle history report and look for anything that’s concerning.
Don’t: Forget about the paperwork.
Once you close the deal, get the agreement in writing, complete the necessary paperwork with the seller, and the DMV, 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.
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.