Buy a Used Car Like You Know What You’re Doing

Tips, Used Cars

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So, you’re ready to buy a “new” used car for yourself but aren’t sure where to start?

You’ve come to the right place.

After all, we’re the guys who literally say “when it comes to making money or making friends, we always choose to make friends” when we slap each other high-five in the hallways.

Don’t be overwhelmed, buddy. Here are some tips before you buy your next used car:

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Don’t Skip the Test Drive, Duh

We don’t really feel like we should have to mention this, but we’re really sick of hearing this story: The last used car I bought from this dealer, it was uncomfortable, smelled like tuna and the dash rattled. I guess I should have test drove it first, but I was in a hurry and I just loved Turmaline Violet.

Don’t just drive it around the block, either. Take it out on the highway, hit some roads you’re going to be stuck on every day for the next couple years. See how you like it for your daily commute.

Line it up at a drive through window and see if you can’t get your salesman to buy you a burger while you think things over. (It’s unlikely anybody will take you up on that, but it’s worth a try, right?).

Park in a few lots, try parallel parking.

Test drive, test, drive, test drive. Know what you’re getting into.

Know the Value of Your Trade-In

Getting a good deal on a car is only half the deal. Your trade-in is a big part of budgeting for your new car. You could go in totally blind and see what a dealer is willing to give you for your trade in and just hope they have your best interests at heart… or you can do a little research using the Internet (hey, you’re using it right now!).

Know the value of your car. It’ll help you figure out your budget, and if the salesman gives you a lowball offer you can totally call him on it.

If you don’t feel like a confrontational GOTCHA moment, you could also just tell them up front what you expect for a trade-in. Your call.

Don’t Forget to Call Your Insurance Agent

Have you called your insurance agent lately? They’re probably lonely and hoping to hear from you. Give them a call or stop in. While you’re making small talk, let them know what you’re planning to buy—find out if it’ll cost more (or less, yay!) than your current vehicle. You can also calculate insurance costs yourself using this calculator.

Still, call your agent. They may also remind you of things you didn’t think about, like requesting your CARPROOF vehicle history report. (Give us some credit: We just reminded you, too.)

Research. Know Your Stuff.

If you’ve been paying attention, a lot of these tips are basically the same: Know what you’re getting into. Pro tip: Use your computer, log on to the Internet and do some research. Seriously.

Educating yourself is the only way you can protect yourself from those other used car dealers. The more informed you are, the better you’ll be able to discern a good deal from a lousy one. You’ll be able to tell a good dealer from a shady one.

This brings us to our number one tip for buying a used car:

Don’t Buy From a Salesperson You Don’t Trust

Used car salesman have a reputation that sucks. We’re working hard to change that—at least on our block.

When you’re shopping, your “sales” person should be more like a really awesome librarian. They should have great hair, be able to answer your questions, show you where to find what you’re looking for and make recommendations based on what you want.

If they’re too pushy, don’t know much, or make you feel uneasy in any way you should just walk away.

Don’t distrust us just because we’re “trying to sell you a used car.”

Seriously, we really are trying to sell you a car; you’re trying to buy a car. Let’s work together on this.

Do your homework so you’ll know a good deal when you see one and then come by and see your friends at Ride Time.

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