Category Archives: Used car

Step 10: Negotiate Your Best Dealer Retail Price

images (1)

Negotiating with a Dealer
So, you are at the dealership, have completed your test drive and review of the car and have decided to make the purchase. At this point there is usually room to negotiate downward from the dealer’s asking price on a used vehicle. However, in the last few years several “No-Haggle Pricing” dealerships have popped up across the country and, while the “no-haggle” approach usually applies only to new cars, it may apply to the used inventory, as well. While there may be little or no room for directly negotiating the price of the car at these dealerships, there are other opportunities to put your negotiating skills to work.

Step 9: Negotiate Your Best Private Party Price

images (2)

When buying from a dealer, you may receive a limited warranty (perhaps 30 days) and many dealerships offer manufacturers’ Certified Pre-Owned programs for their late model cars that can extend the warranties out a number of years. Some advantages of buying from a private party include a lower price, you will have all the repair records (if they are available) and you know the previous owner, should any questions come up later.

Step 8: Go the Extra Mile to Assure Quality

images (4)

If the car fails on any of these points, take it to a mechanic to evaluate repairs. It is then your call whether you want to walk away or negotiate the price based on the repair estimate.

We recommend that you contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Ask what forms are required to transfer the title as well as any other information you need to provide. For example, some states will require you to bring the vehicle to the DMV for inspection, some states require a smog certificate and others require the bill of sale from the current owner.

Step 7: Conduct a Thorough Test Drive

images (3)

It looks good and sounds fine, so now it’s time for the all-important test drive. This gives you the opportunity to gauge a vehicle’s driving characteristics and also minimizes the chance of future buyer’s remorse.

Most people take only a few minutes to test drive a car; this is a big mistake that often comes back to haunt them. Before driving, spend as much time as you can inside the car. Sit in it for a while and check out every interior function. You may want to bring along a favorite CD to find out if the sound system is up to your satisfaction.

Step 6: Conduct a Thorough Walk-Around

images (7)

A physical assessment of the vehicle is absolutely paramount before the purchase. Take your time and be thorough with your examination. While a private party may let you take the car to your own mechanic, a dealer may not be so obliging, insisting that his own mechanic perform the inspection. Don’t let this stop you from doing some inspecting of your own. Again, if the seller objects or tries to belittle you for your effort, walk away. An honest dealer should stand behind every used car he or she sells, and there are plenty of good dealers out there.

Step 5: Get Both a History and a Safety Report on the Car

images (6)

Vehicle titles are one of the most important forms of consumer protection against being cheated in a used-car deal. Knowing something about titles and vehicle fraud can help you avoid falling victim to a scam artist, so checking it out is well worth your while.

You should always be concerned about buying someone else’s problems. Before making any deals, write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which is a 17-digit code usually located on the top of the instrument panel, at the base of the windshield.

Step 4: Contact and Communicate with the Seller

images (5)

If you are contacting a private party, it’s important to find out why the vehicle is being sold. Ask them to describe the condition of the car and how it was used, if they have all the mechanical and maintenance records for the vehicle and if they have any objection to you taking the car to a private mechanic for an inspection.

Step 3: Find Your Car’s Value

images (9)

Used Vehicle from a Dealer
If you visit a large, reputable dealer with a brand franchise, there will likely be a variety of used vehicles for sale on the lot. Although not necessarily backed by the manufacturer, these vehicles may include an extended or “aftermarket” warranty or service program offered by the dealer. Because dealers offer warranties and service programs, the used cars they sell must be refurbished to meet warranty standards.

Step 2: What’s the Right Car for You?

images (8)

OK, if you made it this far, we are assuming you have a year, make and model in mind. Now let’s go shopping. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to empower yourself by visiting Kelley Blue Book’s Used Car Retail Values. Here you can find out how much a dealer might be asking for your desired model. Keep in mind that most used vehicles are sold below asking price, depending on local market conditions. We provide theBlue Book Suggested Retail value of models dating back 21 years.

Step 1: Find Out How Much You Can Afford


Many of us may remember when buying a used car ranked right up there with a trip to the dentist. But times have changed and buying a used car need not be the horror it once was. Today’s consumer has so much information (at least, the information is available), as to make the experience of buying a used car far less stressful. This transformation will occur, however, only if you obey a rule taught to every first-grade student: DO YOUR HOMEWORK.