When I bought my last car I was naive enough to think that money just wasn’t a concern. Yeah in hindsight that was pretty foolish even if my online business was doing very well.
Instead I should’ve been smart with my finances and been content buying a cheap car. Really if I had taken some precautions I could’ve found an inexpensive car that suited my needs.
I guess part of me was scared off by some bad experiences my friend had with buying a used car in the past. After those experiences I actually learned a lot about what to watch out for.
1. Be Very Wary Of Any Car Under $1000
Unless a relative or trustworthy friend is hooking you up as a favor, be extremely skeptical about any car that sells for under $1000 or just seems like too good a deal. If it is too cheap, there is a decent chance that they are trying to pawn off an unreliable car, often with a defect not immediately noticeable.
In a crunch you might still find a reliable car for under $1000, but expect it to have some major cosmetic damage or rust. Even then, there will likely be high mileage on the engine, which usually means various parts may need replacement soon.
2. Always Get The Car Checked Out By A Mechanic
This is a mistake my friend made when trying to buy a car for cheap. They didn’t take the time to take the car to a mechanic before making the purchase. A $50 mechanic checkup may seem costly in relation to the price of the vehicle, but it is worthwhile to reveal any potential problems. It is much better that you notice major problems beforehand instead of afterwards when you’re stuck with the car.
Just mentioning that you want to take the car to a mechanic first may lead a dishonest salesman to admit to some problems. Take that as a big warning sign though. If they are trying to hide anything from you, who knows what else they are trying to hide. You don’t want to be dealing with a dealer who has proven to be dishonest.
3. Bring A Knowledgeable Friend or Relative
By asking a mechanically inclined friend to tag along, you might be able to save money on a mechanical inspection when there are obvious problems. They will know which parts are most crucial to check, what kind of questions to ask and what to listen for when testing the engine.
If it’s obvious that you don’t know much about cars, you’ll just look like an easier target. The salesman will probably put on extra pressure and come up with various excuses about why possible problems should be overlooked. I’d still also take the car to a mechanic to be safe.
4. Check The Car’s Accident Report
Before buying a used car, you’ll want to check the accident history. This will reveal some areas to pay more attention to. Sometimes the damage repaired in the cheapest way possible in an attempt to maximize profits on a resale. This is especially true if a car is written off by an insurance company and hasn’t been driven since.
You don’t want to be taking the chance of shoddy repairs that may have left the car unsafe or less structurally sound. It could lead to extra maintenance costs or higher potential for injuries if you get an accident. In a pinch cash advances can help with those kinds of expenses, but you’d be better off just avoiding any car that might be a money pit.
5. High Mileage Can Be A Red Flag
The more mileage that is put on an engine, the more its components wear out. As the mileage climbs higher it is often more major components that need replacement. This required maintenance could become quite expensive and could end up being very inconvenient.
When the mileage is high the salesman will probably list what kind of maintenance has been done already. As impressive as the list may sound, you need to be aware of what else will be coming up soon. A car owner’s manual will list the specific mileage points when different maintenance should be completed. Sometimes cars with high mileage don’t last for years.
6. Focus Your Search On Reliable Models
Certain car models tend to be significantly more reliable and usually make for a better used purchase. Toyota and Honda are too car makes that have a strong reputation in this area. It can help to narrow your search down to specific makes and models which have a strong history of reliability.
Just don’t assume that every car that model is a good choice. If improperly maintained or abused when driven, parts may be worn much more than they should be at that point. So don’t forget the other considerations simply because it is a normally reliable model.
7. Consider Getting Financing If Low On Funds
Depending on your credit level and available funds, you might want to try and use online loans to get financing. Using an online based lender can help you avoid buying at the lowest possible level where risks are more prevalent.
Getting financing through a used car dealership may be another option to consider, but with any kind of financing be very careful about what kind of terms you agree to. Don’t just automatically accept the maximum financing you are approved. If possible you want to avoid getting into much debt with your car purchase.
The thought of buying some freedom with a cheap car can be quite tempting. However, don’t let that emotion cloud your judgement and result in buying a vehicle that costs too much to keep on the road. There are always great deals out there. You just have to look for the right one.
Do you have any other tips for buying a cheap car?