Buying a Used Car? Follow These Tips.

Even though the purchase of a new car is viewed as luxurious and keeping up with the times, in many circumstances, purchasing new is not always the most economical decision. A used vehicle often costs a fraction of the price and most likely will suit your transportation needs. By following these tips for buying a used car, it should be possible to ensure that your used vehicle performs to your expectations.

1. Set a standard akin to your personal driving habits.

There are various standards set for a used vehicle that often correlate to its typical usage, allocated budget, condition and engineered quality. Some people are happy to drive a car with multiple dents, replaced exterior parts and peeling paint while others prefer a modest car that is at least respectable. Also, pay attention to the current mileage on the car. Overall, the higher the quality of the used car, the more it will cost to drive per mile over the period of time that you own it. Budget accordingly.

2. Evaluate your typical driving needs.

A lot of people who live in the inner city often prefer to use public transportation or alternative forms of transport such as walking or bicycling to get to their location. They may choose to have a car available for long distance trips or errands that occasionally must be completed. The reason this concept is important is because it correlates to the usage of the vehicle. When a vehicle is not driven or used sparingly for an extended period of time, it can cause a variety of mechanical problems. Balance the cost of the used car with its respective usage.

3. Perform a pre-purchase test drive and inspection.

Test drive several used cars to get an idea of the ideal performance that matches your driving style. Test it under various rigorous driving conditions such as flooring the accelerator, continuous highway speeds and intense braking and turning. Should you decide to move forward to the next step in purchasing a used vehicle, have the vehicle inspected by a third-party. Some essentials that warrant review in the inspection include the braking system, engine cylinder head gaskets and wear on the transmission. Major repairs on a used car will often exceed the value of the vehicle itself, so the state of repair that the vehicle is in is essential to evaluate. According to Edmunds, "If you like the way the car drives, you should have it inspected before you negotiate to buy it. A pre-purchase inspection can save you thousands of dollars. You can take the car to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection or request a mobile inspection. A private party will probably allow you to do this without much resistance.

4. Review documentation of the vehicles driving history.

The number of owners, its age, where it was driven and the number of miles on the odometer are all important considerations. Accidents are another factor. Some cars which were rendered inoperable in a serious accident are often rebuilt and could be dangerous to drive. If such a compromised vehicle encounters another accident, the risk of death or injury increases exponentially. Ask for a documented proof of history on the vehicle. If this documentation is not available, it may be reasonable to ask for a deduction in price during the negotiation for the sales price. And always consider getting a third-party inspection - the cost may seem prohibitive, but if it keeps you from purchasing a "lemon" or an unsafe vehicle, it is more than worth it in the long run!

5. Prepare for the negotiation well ahead of time and don't be afraid to walk away.

Used car sales are explicitly known for the intense negotiation and sales tactics involved. One of the best tactics you can have on your side is a price evaluation from an online used car website before you even test drive the vehicle. The program will evaluate the worth of a car based on its condition and mileage. It can also help to consider the list price on several listings of comparable vehicles in the area.

6. Investigate the source of the used car to meet your individual purchasing needs.

If you don't feel comfortable purchasing a car that was owned privately, fleets of cars such as taxi, police and rental cars are often available after they are no longer able to perform up to standard. You can rest assured knowing that these cars were well maintained.

7. Compare available financing versus up-front payment.

Financing a used car is appropriate if you don't have the up-front capital to buy it all at once, but make sure to review the terms of the contract. In most instances a finance agreement will not cover the costs of repair. This could theoretically leave you in a bind where you must pay off a loan on a vehicle that is not worth the cost of repair.

Through the implementation of these tips, buying a car used will be a much simpler process. Take your time and assure that you consider several different vehicles before making a final purchasing decision.