One of the biggest financial purchasing decisions you will ever make is buying a car, even if it’s a used car. Buying a secondhand car can be a good decision, as they’re cheaper than new cars, but the buying process is not quite the same or simple. There are various factors like the car’s history, its current condition, and the purchase price that need to be taken into consideration. The savings from buying a used car can be worth it if you’re prepared to do a bit of homework.
We’ve come up with this used car buying guide to give you the information you need to know and guide you through the process of your used car buying journey.
Set a Budget
Everyone’s financial situation will be different, but it’s important to first work out your budget. It will help in the choosing of cars once you have figured out how much you can afford. Having that number in mind will also help prevent you from overspending, which can be tempting to do when you see the choices on the car market. This includes factoring possible repair or maintenance costs into your budget, especially when it comes to looking at older cars.
Do You Need Finance
Sometimes you just don’t have the funds to buy your ideal used car up front, and that’s okay. In situations like this, you will need to take out a loan. There are car loans available specifically for purchasing used cars.
There are two options for getting finance. The first is to go out and find a loan yourself (preferably a pre-approved one). The other option is to get finance through a dealer when you buy a used car from them, as this is a service that many dealers provide.
Choose the Right Car for You
Before you start shopping for your used car, you need to work out what you are looking for. It’s a good idea to think about your lifestyle and what you will be using the car for. Then narrow down the list of makes and models that have all the features you need but still fit within your budget.
Be prepared to be a bit flexible with the features you need (or be prepared to increase your budget) because when buying a used car, factors such as the age of the car, its mileage and condition have to be taken into account.
If you are truly stuck, try contacting a dealer like Perth City Skoda. They have experience dealing with a great range of different used cars and may be able to help you make a choice or at least give you some options to begin with.
Who Should You Buy From? Dealer vs. Private Sale
Now you worked out what you’re looking for, it’s time to start the actual search. And the options here are to buy from a dealer and/or a private seller. There are pros and cons to buying from each, like the fact that it is true that buying from a dealer will be more expensive, but they also offer services that private sellers don’t, and buying from a private seller also comes with potentially greater risk.
What to do when you’ve found a car
Check the paperwork and history
Try to get as much detailed history about the car as possible, including ownership history, any damage or accidents, and service history. Ensure the registration papers and number plates match the records. Conducting a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check will make sure that there are no nasty surprises attached to the vehicle, such as money still owed on the car, the car being stolen, or written off.
Check that they have all the paperwork and details like the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the car and license papers match up.
Inspecting the car
Inspecting a used car in good condition may require a keen eye. Look out for any defects, rust, signs of repairs to damage, or excessive wear and tear. It’s always a good idea to get it independently checked out by a trusted mechanic or a place that offers pre-purchase inspections if you are not confident about inspecting the car yourself.
You Must Do a Test Drive
Never buy a used car without taking it out for a test drive. See if there’s enough power and how it handles as you weave through traffic, and that gear changes are smooth and not clunky. It’s also a good time to check out systems like the radio, air conditioning/heating, and to hear for any unusual sounds whilst driving. Test driving is the best and only way to see if you like the feel of driving the car as much as seeing if there’s anything strange or mechanically wrong.
Always negotiate on price
If you’re happy with everything and ready to buy, the last thing to do before signing on the dotted line is to agree on the price. There’s always room for negotiation, especially in a private sale. Use any problems that were found during the inspection to drive down the offer, and research the market value beforehand to ensure you’re getting the best price.
Drive Home a Bargain: Explore Used Cars at Perth City SKODA
If you’re in the market for a used car in Perth, Perth City Skoda always has a wide range of used vehicles of all shapes and sizes (and not just SKODA vehicles). We can also guide you through car insurance options to ensure your new purchase is well protected. Give us a call at (08) 9415 0779 to see how we can help you find a reliable used car!