My Garage

Tips for Buying a Used Car the Smart Way

Tips for Buying a Used Car the Smart Way

Buying a used car is a major investment, and it's important for your financial well-being to get it right. Follow these tips and you'll be on the road to buying a used car in the smartest way.


Decide on Your Budget


Driving your dream car isn't worth breaking your budget over. Before starting to view your used car options, decide on exactly how much you can afford to spend. This usually means setting your maximum monthly repayment on used car financing at a level that doesn't leave you struggling for cash at the end of each month. Although everyone's circumstances are different, in general aim to spend no more than 10% of your monthly take-home pay on finance repayments.


Arrange Used Car Financing


Next, apply for used car financing using a no-obligation service that doesn't commit you to accept the offered deal. When you get approval in principle you'll know exactly what your monthly repayments will allow you to spend on a car.


List Your Needs


It's easy to fall in love with a car at the dealership and make an impulse buy that doesn't fully match your needs. Avoid this risk by drawing up a list of what you're looking for in a car, and also the added extras you don't need but would bump up the cost. Do you need a spacious SUV that's great for family driving in the city, or is raw performance on the highway more important? Decide on your must-haves and red lines first, and you'll be much less likely to be swayed by a shiny but unsuitable car at the showroom.


Visit the Dealership


Next, visit our used car dealership and view the vehicles on sale. Check each one against your budget and your list of requirements, and don't be tempted to stray outside the models and features you've decided on.


Test Drive the Car


Once you've found the car that best meets your shortlist requirements, take it for a test drive to get a feel for how you'll enjoy owning it in the long term. Be sure to drive in the same conditions you'll usually use the car in, whether that's slow-moving city traffic or cruising down the highway.


Listen out for any strange noises that might indicate a mechanical problem. Check that the brakes and steering both respond as they should, and also check that the air conditioning and other electronic features are all fully working.


If you find anything you're at all unsure about, think carefully about whether to go ahead with the purchase, or you may come to regret your enthusiasm.


Agree on the Deal


Finally, it's time to do the paperwork to complete the deal. If you're buying with used car finance, don't be tempted to add on extra features or options that you don't really need, such as an extended warranty or a prepaid service agreement. While these can be valuable features, adding the cost to your loan will bump up the amount of interest you pay overall.

Buying a used car needn't be risky or expensive. Taking care of the process and following these tips will make sure you're happy with your purchase and can enjoy years of trouble-free driving.

Categories: General