When public transport simply will not cut it anymore, buying a car seems like a breeze in comparison. You no longer have to worry about someone up close in your personal space, or that woman who always eats a tuna sandwich right next to you, or the tinny sound of music pumping through someone’s earphones. Your own car is your retreat – protecting you from the elements, comfortable, and should your budget allow it, a few luxury gadgets to make your journeys a little more comfortable and more pleasant. Above all, your car gives you freedom and independence, allowing you to go anywhere you want at any time without having to wait for buses, trains or cabs to arrive.
Whether you want to buy a brand new vehicle or one that is brand new to you, there are some things to think about. To help you out, here are a few essential tips to use to your advantage when buying a car, whether new on the forecourt at a car dealers in Iowa or second-hand, which gives you some structure on what to assess when buying and what to use to your advantage when negotiating.
Take it for a test drive.
Taking the car for a thorough test drive can help you to identify any issues sooner rather than later. First of all, it gives you an idea of whether the car is the right size and feels comfortable. If you are buying a second-hand vehicle, you can use the time to listen out for any knocks or bangs that do not sound quite right. Turn down the music system and try to drive somewhere that is a little quieter. Pay attention to whether the gear stick is smooth to use, whether the brakes feel spongy or stiff or whether the clutch is exceptionally high – this will give you a good inkling of whether it will need replacing shortly. If you do not mind doing a bit of work to the car or paying out, use this to your advantage when negotiating a price for the vehicle. Alternatively, look for something that does not need any immediate work doing to it.
Is there a warranty?
One thing to check for, especially if you are buying a second-hand car from a dealership is that a warranty of some description is included. Check this over carefully, especially the small print – you do not want to be stung with the cost of significant repairs within days of driving your car off the forecourt.
Give under the hood a look
As long as the engine has been switched off for a while and the fluids have had the chance to settle, pop the lid and look at how the car is underneath. Check the oil levels, color and consistency, the engine coolant, and the hydraulic fluids. If they appear to be low, or there is liquid on the floor under the vehicle, this may be a sign that there is a leak somewhere which will need attention.
What is included?
Even if you love the car and everything seems as it should, keep your poker face on and see what else can be included in the price. This may involve a little bit of haggling with the seller, but many will throw in an extra or two – perhaps paying for the tax or insurance for a short amount of time, a free service or two or even something as simple as an air freshener. Remember, if you do not ask, you do not get!
Check the paperwork
Second-hand cars will often come with a pack of documents showing the history of the car. This should be past owners, receipts for repairs to the car, the service history, and whether the car has been involved in an accident. This information will be helpful in giving you an idea of any problems the vehicle may have in the future that could have been avoided. Keeping your wits about you when looking at the history of the car will enable you to paint a better picture of the vehicle you are thinking of buying. This will help point you in the right direction of whether buying a particular car is the right decision, or whether it may amount to more stress in an attempt to rectify issues that repeatedly crop up.
A car with a large engine may look and drive beautifully, but in terms of affordability, may not always be the best option. When purchasing a vehicle, whether brand new or second-hand, you need to factor in not only the purchase price but the cost of running it. Do not be shy in asking the current owner or the salesperson what the fuel usage is like, how much it costs to service and the general cost of upkeeping it such as oil changes and tire changes. This will help you arrive at a conclusion on whether you can afford the car you wish to buy and help you to avoid stretching your finances beyond their ability.
This is the most significant consideration for most people. Unless stated in the majority of cases, there is some room for negotiation when it comes to the purchase price. As we said above, see if you can get some extras thrown into for the price, or haggle the price down a little.
You can do this by pointing out any issues you have noticed about the car that was not mentioned in the advert or discussing similar vehicles at a lower price. If they do drop the price a little, you’ve saved yourself some extra money and relieved some of the stress it takes to buy a car. Where some sellers may be unwilling to budge on price, you can always ask if they may give you an extended warranty. In this situation, the worst thing any seller can say is no. As we said – if you do not ask, you do not get!