Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had conversations with individuals that were in the process of buying a used car or considering it.
With that in mind, I did some research, and found this very good article from one of my business partners, IA Financial. Here it is with some minor edits.
1- The benefits of buying a used car
One of the main benefits of buying a used car is the cost. Depending on the model you choose, your monthly payments will likely be much lower or even non-existent if you pay upfront.
You might be able to buy a higher-end or fully loaded car that fits into your budget. But make sure it won’t cost too much to maintain. Some luxury vehicles tend to cost more to keep running.
If you’re buying directly from a private individual, you’ll likely save a car dealer’s profit margin. This alone can save you hundreds, and maybe thousands of dollars. But, going through a dealer you will likely find a vehicle that has undergone safety inspections before it’s put up for sale.
2- Find a vehicle that meets your needs
Do your homework to find out which make and model is right for you and your needs. Some sites, like the Car Guide, could help in your research.
With skyrocketing fuel prices, it may be a good idea to look into how fuel efficient your dream car is. Hybrid and electric vehicles can be a good choice to help reduce your gas consumption.
Want to know if there’s a recall on a particular model? The Motor Vehicle Safety Recall Database has complete info on the latest recalls. This could give you leverage to bargain for a better price.
3- Where to buy a used vehicle
Many websites offer an impressive array of used vehicles for sale by individuals.
You can also go directly to a dealership or visit sites like AutoTrader.ca. Some garages also sell used vehicles.
You can always shop around for the best price.
4- Get the facts before you buy
Before buying a second-hand vehicle, it is important to know its history. Some problems are impossible to see when you meet with the seller—and you don’t want any unpleasant surprises down the road.
The more information you get, the more peace of mind you’ll have knowing the vehicle is safe. To make an informed decision, you can ask the owner what repairs have been made to the car. They may also be able to provide you with invoices showing that the vehicle has been properly maintained over the years.
Feel free to bring someone with you who knows cars. It’s often helpful to have a second opinion.
Ask for the vehicle’s history report from a company that specializes in this service. This will tell you how many people have owned the car and how it was used in the past.
And last but not least, remember to ask the seller if any additional items are included in the price. It could help you get a great deal!
5- Take a test drive
A test drive is key when buying a vehicle.
Take the time to drive long enough to get a good sense of how the car runs. That way you’ll be able to see how well it handles on the road and identify suspicious noises.
Test the brakes and make sure all accessories work properly, such as the GPS, windshield wipers, headlights, turn signals, etc.
Finally, walk around the vehicle and examine the body. That will help you avoid unpleasant surprises later on. Feel free to negotiate the price if you see signs of rust or small bumps on the vehicle.
6- The importance of a good inspection
To make sure your new vehicle is shipshape, it’s recommended to have it inspected by a trusted mechanic. CAA offers a list of certified garages to help you make an informed decision.
When buying a used vehicle, this step is critical and will help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
The mechanic will look at the engine and make sure the suspension, brakes and steering are working properly. They can also point out any problems the vehicle may have.
If you do decide to buy, make sure it has been paid for in full. You can the owner for proof of final payment. This is important because if the vehicle has not been paid for in full, you could get stuck paying the financial institution any outstanding balance.
You can also check the Canadian Police Information Centre to make sure it’s not a stolen vehicle.
7- Buying an out-of-province vehicle
Found your dream vehicle, but it’s out of province? There are a few steps you’ll have to take before you buy.
First, find out what documents you’ll need to register your new vehicle.
You also need to make sure the vehicle is authorized for on-road use. Some vehicles may not meet the standards in effect in the province or required by your insurer. This is particularly true of hand-built or modified vehicles.
8- Get good auto insurance
Auto insurance is mandatory in most places. It gives you civil liability protection and covers damage caused to other vehicles.
Be sure to take out the right amount of coverage for your vehicle.
You can also add roadside assistance to your insurance policy to drive with total peace of mind.
Don’t forget to contact your insurer before hitting the road in your vehicle. Make sure you’ve got everything you need when applying for an insurance quote and if you have any questions feel free to ask your insurance agent.
We hope these tips will help you when you’re ready to buy.