More and more consumers are entering the marketplace for used automobiles for their transportation needs. Car shopping in the used market is significantly different than buying a new vehicle from a dealership. In this article, Rory Angold, Executive Vice President at United Car Care, discusses topics that are important to used car shoppers, including obtaining vehicle history, independent examination, and financing.
Obtain a Reliable Vehicle History
There are several national vehicle history reporting agencies, and you should never purchase a used car without obtaining and reviewing a history report. Understand that a history report does not provide information about a car’s current mechanical condition — it is designed to compile relevant information over time related to the car’s maintenance and title. The information you will obtain from a history report typically includes:
● Whether the vehicle has been previously totaled, or designated as a “salvage” vehicle,
● Serious accident history,
● Odometer manipulation or rollbacks,
● Number of owners and sale information, and
● Maintenance information (usually only dealership maintenance)
Get an Independent Mechanic to Check the Vehicle Out
Used car dealerships are not under an obligation to allow buyers to have a car inspected by an independent mechanic before selling the car. However, virtually every responsible and reputable dealer will not object to an independent inspection, and you should never hesitate to request an inspection before signing a contract. When dealing with an independent seller, it is essential that you obtain an inspection before making a purchase. An inspection may disclose needed repairs, in which event you may decide to negotiate on price depending on the level of repairs needed.
Set a Budget and Shop Accordingly
The first thing people usually do when car shopping is choosing what type, make, and model of vehicle they are interested in. This is a fun part of shopping, but a good reality check is in order before you start getting involved in looking at specific cars. You should set a realistic budget for a new vehicle, taking into consideration the real-world value of the vehicle you might be trading in, the savings you have available, and whether your budget allows for financing a purchase. Whether you have a large or small used car budget, when you have established your financial ground rules in advance, your shopping experience will be more enjoyable.
Understand Your Financing Options In Advance
If you are planning to finance your used car purchase, do your homework before you go to the lot or start shopping online. Get your credit score report in advance and run some numbers on what interest rates you should expect to pay according to your budget and credit. Cars are not investments that improve in value over time, quite the opposite. In fact, almost all vehicles depreciate in value quickly, which means that keeping interest payments to a minimum on any car loan is the smart way to go. Doing your homework is essential to making a good deal on financing, and you should consider talking with your banker or financial advisor before going shopping. Be prepared to negotiate with a focus on minimizing interest payments over time.
About Rory Angold
Rory Angold has two decades of work experience in leadership and executive positions. He last managed field teams in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming for Zurich Direct Markets, a $1.5B business. Mr. Angold, now serving as Executive Vice President at United Car Care is a results-driven specialist in automotive dealer consulting, training, and reinsurance with a proven track record of developing people, putting together a winning team with an infectious culture that empowers people to want to win.
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