If you are in the market for a new set of wheels, there are some compelling reasons to choose a quality late model used car over a brand new one. When you buy a great used car, you can trade that high car payment for a much lower one, and if you bargain hard enough, you might not need a loan at all.
A used car will also depreciate far less quickly than a brand new one, so you could enjoy a higher resale value down the line. And since your monthly car payment is probably one of your biggest ongoing expenses, buying used will free up cash for other essentials.
How Do I Know I Am Getting a Bargain?
Buying a late model used car makes a lot of sense, but how do you know you are getting a great bargain and not being taken for a ride? There are plenty of great used cars on the market, but there are lots of lemons as well.
Among the dangers used car buyers face are title problems. A problem with the title could turn your great bargain into a real headache, so it is important to know what to look for. An “R” on the title, for instance, means the vehicle has been reconstructed, often after a serious crash in which the car, truck or SUV was declared a total loss. And while some reconstructed vehicles are safe to drive, others are risky. You should always check the title for these kinds of designations, and insist on seeing the title before any money changes hands.
Get a Vehicle History Report
Checking the title is important, but so is pulling a vehicle history report. Always insist on a full vehicle history report on any car you buy, and do not settle for less.
When you receive the vehicle history report, go over it with a fine toothed comb. The vehicle report should detail any accidents the vehicle was involved in, as well as any repairs resulting from the crash. The vehicle history report should also provide you with a list of everyone who has owned the car before you – watch out for frequent ownership changes that could indicate the vehicle may be a lemon.
Making sure the vehicle you buy has a clean title is very important, both for your driving safety and the future resale value. A vehicle with a clean title will be easier to sell, and safer to drive, so always insist on a title check and a full history report before you buy.