Tips To Help You Succeed When Buying A Used Vehicle

Posted on: 7 November 2016

When it is time to buy a new pre-owned vehicle--like pre owned fords--there can be a lot of details to consider while making a smart purchasing decision. Here are some tips to help you determine and arrange the financing, and tips to help you complete a vehicle inspection before signing for your new purchase.

Arrange Your Purchase Limit and Financing

Before you begin shopping for a new vehicle, it is important to figure out how much you can afford for your vehicle's new payment and get pre-approval for a vehicle loan. This step can help you avoid spending more than you can afford and will prepare you to buy a vehicle from any seller. Start shopping for a vehicle loan by talking to a loan agent at the financial institution you do your banking with. Because you already have a history of doing business with them, they can be more likely to offer you a lower interest rate and more favorable terms on the loan than another bank. 

Next, you need to determine how much you can afford. The amount of your vehicle payment on a new loan depends on several factors in addition to the amount you are financing. Such determining factors include the interest rate and the length of the loan. There are many online calculators you can use to help you figure out what you can afford on a vehicle purchase, or you can use three simple rules to help guide you.

The first of these three rules recommends that you put 20 percent down on the used vehicle. Making a 20 percent down payment is to prevent you from becoming "upside-down" in your vehicle loan, or owing more on the loan than the vehicle is worth. The second rule is to secure financing for four years or less, which will help you pay less in interest on the loan. Last, the monthly cost of owning your vehicle, including the loan payment's principal and interest, insurance on the vehicle, and other vehicle expenses should be no more than 10 percent of your pre-tax, or gross, monthly income.

Inspect the Vehicle

When you find a vehicle that is within your price limit and fits your needs, it is a good idea to visually inspect the vehicle. You can look at the vehicle for any signs of having been in a crash or having body work previously done. Check the alignment of the spacing around the hood and door panels to make sure both sides have a similar alignment and appearance. For example, if the gaps on either side of the hood and next to the side panels are different widths, this can be a sign of misalignment in the vehicle's body from a crash. 

Look at the tread depth on the vehicle's tires to see if the tires have sufficient tread depth left or are in need of replacement. This will also give you a chance to make sure the tires do not show any signs of irregular wear patterns. Irregular wear on the sides or the middle of the tires can be a sign that the vehicle's alignment is off or the suspension is in need of repair.

Take a small magnet and a soft cloth with you to the inspection and place it onto the vehicle's body at different sites, placing the soft cloth in between it and the vehicle to protect the paint from scratches. If the vehicle's body was repaired with auto body filler, the magnet will not stick onto the vehicle, as the filler is not made of metal. 

It is also a good idea to have a trusted mechanic complete a full comprehensive inspection. The vehicle's seller should have no problem with you allowing your mechanic take a look at the vehicle, as long as they are not trying to hide any mechanical problems. You can hire a trusted mechanic to complete a thorough inspection for you at a reasonable price. The average price for a pre-purchase inspection is approximately $100. If the seller doesn't want you to have it inspected, this can be a sign there is a problem with the vehicle and you may want to pass on buying it. 

Use these tips to help you when making your new used vehicle purchase.