If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’re shopping for a used car. This is exciting because the market is full of great options that appeal to different personalities and tastes. With the arrival of the Internet as a car shopping tool, there are more chances than ever before of finding a good deal on a used car that meets your needs and fits your budget.
But how do you find such deals? How do you know if the car of your choice is worth buying? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before going on your treasure hunt.
Decide What Your Budget Is
If you intend to purchase a new or used car, a budget is a must. Figure out how much you can spend, and stick to it. You don’t need to have every last dollar accounted for at the beginning. But be sure to factor in taxes, delivery charges, insurance, and registration costs.
Pick the Right Car
Every car is unique, and finding the right one for you depends on your family’s needs and lifestyle. Make a list of important features to narrow down your choices. Once you’re ready to begin researching specific models, look up crash test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As you move forward, assemble a list of three target cars to research in more detail.
Figure Out Ownership and Reliability Costs
Not all cars are created equal. If you’re buying, say, a new refrigerator, you can look at what it costs and how well it fits your space. But when you’re buying a new car, you don’t just want to know the sticker price or the money you have to shell out to repair or replace tires — you want to know the most likely total cost of ownership. That includes depreciation (how much the car’s value will drop), insurance (how much car insurance will cost), maintenance (all the little things that keep the car running), and fuel (gas).
Search for Used Cars in the Right Places
It’s also wise to search for any vehicles you plan to buy from local used car lots. The Internet has made it convenient for buyers and sellers by providing ample information about used cars, so never stop using it to your advantage.