The Top 2 questions you should be asking when you’re shopping for a used car:
One of the very first things on our list of things to do with our tax refund is to buy another car. But which to choose? Yeah, you can get a new car for close to the same monthly amount, but those payments can range out for 5 or more years Geez. And by the time you get there, your car isn’t worth anywhere near what you paid for it, which can feel like a bit of a sucker punch when you’re looking to trade in for something else. So what’s the alternative? Ah yes, the wonderful land of used cars.
But where do you start, what do you look for? I propose that the biggest thing you should be looking for is a reputable dealership. Do those exist, you ask? Yes, if you know where to look and what you’re looking for. One of the biggest standouts is whether the dealership offers a warranty, and how long that warranty lasts. Typically if you decide to finance through the dealership, you’re payments can range from 2-5 years, so look at how long that warranty lasts when compared to the length of your payments. Because you don’t want a huge unmanageable repair bill on top of your payments. Yes, this can still happen even with a new car, but new cars typically come with warranty. In used car land, it’s a little harder to find. But it is out there. Yes, you want to find a car that you like the look of and has all the features you want, but you shouldn’t just jump on the first dealership you find without asking the right questions.
And what are those questions, you ask? So glad we’re getting on top of this. Question 1: can I take it for a test drive? Yeah, it’s fun and a way to see if the car “fits” you, but you can also answer some pretty important things for yourself. Does it run smoothly? Are there any interior issues you couldn’t really see from the outside? Does the heating and air conditioning work well? How does the engine sound? All of the things and more can be found during a test drive, making it well worth it. And question 2: can I check the oil? Now you don’t have to be a mechanic to look at the oil-if you need a little help, check out a youtube video before hitting the dealership. The reason this is important is that you can see how well the car has been taken care of during its past life. If the oil is anything other than a deep dark black/brown, you may want to have your mechanic look at it. If it’s another color, the oil may have been sitting there awhile, or hasn’t been changed regularly. And that’s going to show up in other areas of maintenance too.
So two questions, not that much to remember when you’re out perusing what’s available, but has the potential to save some major headaches down the line.