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Finding your used dream car

For a lot of people, buying used is the way to go. Most of us have heard about the depreciation of a new vehicle as soon as you drive it off the lot.


So if you decide that a used vehicle is the better option, you can find a sound used vehicle and save thousands of dollars in the process.


Where do you start looking?


A good way to begin developing preferences is to look around the road to see if anything moves you. What are your neighbors driving? What are your coworkers driving? What have you seen on the highway or around town that appeals to you?


If you aren’t tuned in to what’s on the road, no worries. Visit sites like www.consumerguide.com/find-used-car-review/, http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/used/ and www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/index.htm to read the used car reviews to get some practical information on what fits your needs best. If maintenance costs are important to you also visit sites like http://www.edmunds.com/tco.html.


Once you have selected a handful of vehicles you are interested in from different makes, models and price brackets, look online to see each vehicle’s value. You can use sites like www.nadaguides.com/, www.KBB.com, www.Edmunds.com and www.AutoTrader.com to determine if the vehicle you like is right for you. (You can find the average price of buying from a dealership or another person.)


You may be surprised to find that a make and model you like and thought was out of your price range does fit your preliminary budget. For example, you may be able to buy a luxury brand that is 3 or 4 years old with low mileage and a clean vehicle history.


Once you find the desirable make, model, year and approximate mileage, visit the prominent used car shopping sites and find an appraisal site near you. (These sites include www.cars.com, www.autotrader.com and www.ebaymotors.com.) Many of the appraisal sites mentioned above also have used vehicle listings.


When you are shopping online, make sure you run a vehicle history report to answer the following questions:

  • Has the vehicle been in an accident?
  • How many owners has it had?
  • Does it have any major title brands?
  • What is the vehicle’s score?

AutoCheck® has the patented AutoCheck confidence score, which helps you evaluate a vehicle’s past with one easy-to-understand number. It’s like a credit score for cars, allowing you to compare a number of vehicles to see which has the highest score and why.


Once you find several dealerships or private sellers in your area with the vehicle you selected and the vehicle’s history checks out, go to the dealership or seller. Make sure you bring your vehicle history report with you as a negotiating tool and to show what you already know about the vehicle.


Keep an open mind, and give yourself plenty of time when you decide to visit the dealership or seller. Don’t plan on buying the first vehicle you see. Avoiding a hasty decision may help you secure the most competitive financing and the best deal.


More to come on competitive financing in a later post. Happy used car shopping!

 

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