Buying a car is never easy, but if you are planning on saving a few bucks by buying a used car, there are a few things you should know first. Yes, you can indeed save quite a bit of the old cash if you are willing to not be the first person to ever drive that car off a lot. It is also true that cars lose the biggest part of their value the very first year after they are bought new.
But even if you are smart and buy a pre owned Mercedes which is a used car with great karma and lots of good creds, you still have to do your homework. Here are four ways you can strategize your buying by being smart as well as frugal.
Do the Research First
These days you can find out a lot about a make and model of any car by simply doing a bit of research online. There are quite a few good reputable sites that will look at every kind of used car you can name and help you to identify which one will best suit your needs and pocketbook.
In addition, if you do find a car that looks promising you can look up its VIN or vehicle identification number and access the record for accidents or violations. This will give you an idea of how good a driver the owner was and if it was in a major accident. You want to know this as the car could be badly damaged in the frame and not show it. Always check this to see about past history if you are buying a used car.
Car Clubs and Experts
The big difference between buying a used car and a new one, outside of price, is that car makes and models have histories. For those car enthusiasts who love particular models, they can clue you in on the years of that particular type of car you want to avoid. Just as wine has good and bad growing years, so too do cars have years when the models were great and certain years when recalls and mechanical problems make them lemons no matter what you do.
Talking to people who are very familiar with the make and model you want can help you to identify common problems to watch for such as whether a car runs hot or has shaky suspension. There are plenty of online forums for this type of discussion as well. Just remember that online you can’t check sources as most forums are anonymous.
Ask for Long Test Runs
While asking to take a car for a test run is a pretty standard part of buying, with a used car it can help if you can borrow it for a day or two so you can really see how it runs. Not all sellers are willing to do this, so be prepared to be turned down. But if you can, it is the best way to ensure that they haven’t doctored the car before selling. If they won’t allow a long test run, try asking if your mechanic can take a quick look at it.