If you’re in the market for a deal on used wheels, follow the steps below for a smoother ride!
Step 1: Crunch the numbers
How are you paying for your new car? If you’re paying cash, you already have a car budget in place. If you’re taking out an auto loan, we can help you get pre-approved before you shop so you know how much car you can afford.
Step 2: Create a target list
What make and model car do you want to buy? Check out Consumer Reports for reliability ratings on vehicles from the most recent model years. Aim to narrow your choices to three or four model cars.
Step 3: Research
Start researching prices and listings for your vehicles of choice. You can use one of our fantastic auto buying services to help you find the car you want. With both Autoland and AutoSmart, you can build the car you want, and they will help you find it for a good price. Once you find the car you want, we will help you finance it! Be sure to ask for a vehicle history report from Carfax so you can weed out cars with prior accidents or mechanical issues.
Step 4: If you're making the purchase from a private party or Dealer...
Contact the seller to verify the information you’ve learned about each car. And be sure to ask about any possible mechanical issues. If you’re working with a dealership, ask if the car is still in stock and for any information you couldn’t find on your own.
If everything checks out, set up an appointment for a test drive.
Step 5: Test drive
Pay attention to these details during your test-drive:
- Is there sufficient legroom?
- Is the ride smooth?
- How is the acceleration?
- Does the “check engine” light stay on?
- Do you have full visibility?
- Are the brakes working well?
- Do all the lights work?
Next, ask for the vehicle’s service records to determine if it’s current on scheduled maintenance.
Step 6: Have it inspected
Having your car inspected by a mechanic can save you loads of aggravation and lots of money down the line. If you use one of our auto buying services, they will ensure that the car has a full inspection prior to the sale.
Step 7: Negotiate
Make an opening offer based on the average price for your car and use all the information you’ve learned about your vehicle as bargaining chips. Be firm and you will end up with a fairly priced vehicle.
Step 8: Make it official
If you’re buying your car off a private-party seller, make sure the title and registration are officially transferred to you. If buying from a dealer, give careful thought to any extra protection that may be offered, and consider talking to us here at MCCU, as we can also help you pick the right loan and/or auto protection. Finally, read the contract carefully and make sure you have insurance before you drive off the lot.
Now, you’re all set to take your new car for its first spin!
Your Turn: Have you recently bought a used car? Share your best tips with us in the comments!
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