4 Tips for Buying Your First Used Car

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If the mind-boggling high price of a brand-new car has turned you off to driving a sparkly new vehicle off the lot, we don’t blame you. Cars depreciate as quickly as you can sign off the paperwork required to own them, so all of the financial anxiety that comes with your purchase is completely understandable. Rather than dishing out thousands of dollars on something that will give you zero return on your investment, opt for a used car that does the same job for a fraction of the cost.

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Used cars account for all of the accrued depreciation and the thousands of miles previous owners have already clocked on the engine, so even models that are just two to four years old can be significantly more affordable than their current-year siblings. Buying a pre-loved car can be a nerve-wracking experience if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into or know what to look for during the buying process.

With plenty to be on the lookout for, there’s a lot to consider before setting your heart on the used car of your dreams. We’re here to give you the rundown on the tips you need before buying your first used car.

Tip #1: Do your research on the make and model
You can’t begin your car search until you know what you’re looking for. Deciding on a make and model may be difficult if you’re completely new to the car game, but you can begin by doing a bit of online research. First narrow it down to your ideal size: sedan, crossover, minivan, or SUV. The more people or cargo you plan on commuting with, the more space you’ll need. Second, you’ll want to figure out which car manufacturers are the safest and produce the most aesthetically pleasing models based on your particular tastes.

Once you’ve narrowed your options down to a few makes and models, shop around your local area for different prices. Let’s say you’ve got your eyes set on a 2012 Audi A4 from an Audi dealer near Chicago—do your due diligence by looking on Chicago’s Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see if the prices and offerings match up.

Tip #2: Check safety features
If there’s one thing more important than being comfortable in your car, it’s feeling safe. You deserve the peace of mind that you’re well protected wherever the road takes you. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has a vast library of car safety ratings on their website, allowing you to browse through everything from crash-test ratings to common repairs per vehicle.

Instead of settling for a used car that depends on the bare minimum to keep you and your passengers safe, look for a car that already has safety features built-in, including:

●       A rear-view back-up camera

●       Blind-spot and lane assist

●       Automatic emergency braking

●       Smart high beams

●       Electronic stability control

Tip #3: Go for a test drive

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One of the key facets of the car-buying process (new or used) is the test drive. Looking at a car and hearing all about how great it runs is one thing, but you should always experience the car firsthand before signing anything or handing over any cash. A test drive gives you an opportunity to see for yourself to determine if there are any functionality flaws like a chirping engine or glaring mechanical issues with the car. If a seller is hesitant to allow you to drive the car before you buy, take that as a huge red flag and walk away.

Tip #4: Have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic
Before you shake the seller’s hand, sign your name on the dotted line, and drive off in your new, used car, be sure to have it first checked out by a local mechanic. For a small inspection fee, a mechanic will be able to find less visible issues that could go under the radar of an untrained eye. This could help you save a ton of money on repairs in the long run, and give you the peace of mind you need to affirm you’re making a good decision.

Working with your budget and getting the used car of your dreams is made perfectly possible with all of the right knowledge and search tools under your belt. Drive your used car home with confidence using these four expert tips.

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Summary
Title
4 Tips for Buying Your First Used Car
Description
If the mind-boggling high price of a brand-new car has turned you off to driving a sparkly new vehicle off the lot, we don’t blame you.

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