Owning a car today is no longer a matter of luxury, it is a necessity. You need to get to work on time and also drop the kids at school early. Motion is the backbone of the economy. So if you cannot afford a new pair of wheels then a used one should do however there are some aspects to be checked on so that you buy a good car.
Step 1: How Much Car Can You Afford?
A general guideline is that your monthly car payment should not be more than 20 percent of your take-home pay. However, people shop for cars with their hearts as well as their heads, and that can be a little dangerous. That’s where Edmunds.com’s How Much Car Can I Afford? Calculator comes in handy. It can prevent you from getting in over your head when you buy a car. The calculator helps you find an estimated price range in which to shop and will even suggest some cars that would fit your budget. Here’s more information on how to set up your automotive budget.
Step 2: Build a Target List of Used Cars
To save money, consider buying a second-tier car, from the less popular — but still reliable — manufacturers. Well-known vehicles like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry can cost thousands more than a comparable Chevrolet Malibu or Nissan Altima, even though these are good cars. With this in mind, build a target list of three different cars that meet your needs and fall in your budget.
Now that you know the car you want to buy and have even saved up enough money, it is time to go for the kill. You will go out to the car bazaar and do a test drive and check the aesthetics of the car you want.
- The Test Drive
It’s always best to take the car on a test drive on both local roads and highways. In different environments, you can get a good feel for how the car responds and performs. On local roads, you can feel how the car shifts and responds to sharp turns. You’ll also get a good idea on the condition of the brakes with stop-and-go. With a trip on the highway, you can note if the engine runs smoothly or not. While on a test drive, keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure to note any unusual engine noises and whether or not all of the electronics in the car are working properly.
- The Aesthetics: Inside and Out
Both the inside and outside condition of the car play a large factor in value. Make sure to check the interior upholstery carefully, along with any repairs to the exterior of the car. That’s not to say you shouldn’t purchase a car that has been in a minor fender-bender, but you’ll want to make sure the exterior was repaired professionally and that the results are barely visible to the eye. Always open the hood and take a good look at the engine and parts. Dirty and rusted parts can be a strong indication that there may be trouble down the road.
There are still so many things to check on. If possible please be accompanied by your mechanic who will give you a second opinion and check the car and give you the final whether or not the car is a worthy buy.
- Check for Leaks
Look under the car and check the ground for any oil or coolant leaks. Lift the hood and look for signs of leaking, such as oil on the engine. Check the fluids in the radiator and the oil. If either is low, it could be due to leakage.
- Ask a Mechanic to Look at the Engine
If it is possible, ask a qualified mechanic to look at the car. Maybe this person can accompany you when you go look at the car or maybe you can arrange ahead of time to stop when you test drive the car. The mechanic will be able to tell you if the car is mechanically sound or if you will have to invest a lot of money in it.