The car leasing phenomena reached a record high in 2014, as reported by Time. Due to car leases coming to term toward the end of 2016 and into 2017, a mass of lightly used cars began to flood the used car market. The result? Now more than ever is the perfect time to find a fantastic used car that can meet all your needs for much less than buying it new.
Want to know how to find the right used car that will fit your needs? Here are 5 tips from the pros:
1. Outline your needs.
Are you looking for something for your commute? Or need a vehicle that can handle your work gear? Or perhaps you need something larger that can handle child seats and family road trips.
Take a moment before browsing through listings to outline the primary needs this vehicle will serve. Try to jump forward a couple years ahead, too. Are you about to start a family? Do you have new work lined up that will require a long commute? A car is commonly the second largest purchase most Americans will make. You want that purchase to serve you well for as long as possible. So it makes sense to consider not only your current needs, but also your needs 1 to 2 years down the line.
2. Research best makes and models.
Now that you know what you are looking for, you can better spot a car that willmeet those needs. Research makes and models that are well-known for checking the boxes of your wish list. For example, the Honda Civic has gas mileage that is at the top of the leader board. If you are looking for a car that won’t turn into a gas guzzler, you can narrow down your search by that definition.
Read car reviews online, and visit forums that discuss the model you are interested in. The more you learn about the car, the more confidence you will have that you’re making a well-researched decision.
3. Read up on the car’s history.
You now know what you need, as well as the type of car you are looking for. Maybe you even have your eye on one or two vehicles you found on a listing. Next stop? Find out the car’s history. You want to know whether the car has a salvage title, or whether it has been rebuilt. Common ways to research a car’s history include CarFax and AutoCheck.
4. Get a car inspection.
If everything seems to be good in the car’s history, you may feel ready to move ahead. Not so fast. While many dealerships only sell cars that have been inspected. You should invest in an independent car inspection with a repair shop that is not affiliated with the dealer you will be purchasing from. If the dealer does not allow for an independent inspection, that should ring alarm bells for you. Sure, it will cost a bit and you’ll need to wait a day or two for the results, but you want a car that will last, right? And this is how you filter out the lemons.
5. Take it for a spin.
If you are purchasing the car for your commute, drive that route. Drive around your neighborhood. If you will be driving with children, see if a child seat can fit with ease, or if it will be a circus act to get Little Junior in each time. There are pros and cons to each vehicle that only come to light when using it in a real-life situation. So try to get as much time behind the wheel as the dealer will allow.
Finally, don’t rush into any decision you make. Take your time so that when you do pull the trigger, you’ll know you’ve made the best choice for your situation.