Whether you’re buying from a dealership, a private seller, or even a friend, buying a pre-owned vehicle can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you navigate process:
Know your financing options.
As with any big purchase, it’s important to know your spending limits and financing options.
If you’re planning to pay cash, do some research beforehand so you know how much you’ll need to save. It’s also important to be diligent about your budget once you start shopping–don’t forget to include the fees for your registration, title, inspections, taxes, and any necessary repairs in your estimates.
You should also consider financing options like a dealership loan or a bank loan, which can supplement your budget and allow you to buy a nicer vehicle with greater longevity. Read more about financing options.
Ask for the vehicle history.
It’s always a good idea to check the vehicle history report. Most dealerships with pre-owned vehicles will provide one for you but, if they don’t, you should ask for one. Read it thoroughly and look for any red flags.
Get a mechanic under the hood.
Once you find the vehicle you want, you should always have a trusted mechanic take a look at the engine to make sure there aren’t any underlying issues that were missed on the report. Every pre-owned vehicle has its challenges and it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Our team examines every car before it hits our lot to analyze its condition and try to preemptively take care of maintenance and repairs knowing that a car sells better when it runs more efficiently.
Not all used car sales teams are that thorough, but most reputable dealerships will at least check for major repairs and make a note of any mileage-based services. that need to be performed. If you’re not unsure about the car’s condition, or if you’re purchasing a car from a family member or friend, ask your mechanic to check the car out before you buy it.
Take the car for a test drive.
You should always test drive a pre-owned vehicle unless you’re buying a fixer-upper that’s completely undrivable. Once you’re behind the wheel, you’ll be able to feel out any problems that gave you pause and gauge how comfortable you are driving the car on a daily basis.
Tackle the paperwork.
One of the most common things people forget to include in their budget are the fees that come with buying a car. Once you get the agreement in writing and submit your payment, you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork with the DMV. You’ll also need to take care of any taxes and fees, which can vary pretty widely depending on the state where you plan to register the car in and the state in which you bought the car.
Keep in mind that car sales don’t require a “cooling off” period, even for pre-owned vehicles– in most cases, they’re binding agreements as soon as the ink dries. That means you could still be liable for certain fees if you back out of the sale, in addition to losing your deposit.
So, what’s the bottom line? Do your homework before you go shopping, and 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. And be sure to carefully read any contracts or agreements before signing, so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to.
V&F Auto Sales has been serving the Western Mass community since 1988. We strive to provide our customers with top quality, affordable inventory of pre-owned vehicles and convenient financing options. View a complete list of our inventory on our website, or visit us at 7 Harding St, Agawam, MA 01001.