Auto Industry, Car

7 Tips on Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is not a decision that should be made lightly. While they typically cost less than new cars of the same make, model and year, some used vehicles may have underlying problems. And purchasing one of these lemons could leave buyers stranded on the side of the road.

 

1. Define Budget

The first step in buying a used car is to define a budget. According to USA Today, the average sale price of used cars sold in 2014 was $15,900. Whether a buyer is willing to spend more or less, though, he or she should first define their budget.

2. Determine Needs

Buyers should consider what exactly they want or need in a used car. Considering that roughly 1.3 million people die each year from vehicle crashes, many buyers prefer cars with safety features like airbags, collision detection, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability control.

3. Start Searching

After defining a budget and determining their needs, buyers should start their search for a used car. There are dozens of places that list used cars for sale, some of which include local classified ads, Craigslist and Autotrader. Alternatively, buyers may have success visiting local car dealerships.

4. Reach Out to Seller

The next step in buying a used car is to contact the seller. Time is of the essence; the longer a buyer waits to contact the seller, the greater the chance that someone else will buy it. So, buyers should contact the seller, preferably by phone, immediately after finding a used car that meets their criteria. During this call, the buyer should arrange a meeting to inspect and test drive the car.

5. Look Under the Hood

It’s always a good idea to look under the hood before buying a used car. If the engine bay is dirty with spilled fluids — oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, etc. — the buyer should consider a different vehicle.

6. Test Drive

Assuming everything looks fine under the hood, the buyer should test drive the car. This will give him or her the opportunity to see how the car drives and whether it contains functional problems. If the vehicle slips when changing gears, for example, it may have a failing transmission, which can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

7. Negotiate Price

Even if a seller lists the used car for a specific price, he or she may accept a lower offer. Therefore, buyers should always offer a lower price first. The seller may still reject this offer, but he or she may also make a counteroffer that’s lower than the car’s original listing price.

 

Buying a used car doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Following these seven tips can help buyers navigate this otherwise complicated process, putting them behind the wheel of a great car.

 

Mark Alexopoulos is a leading entrepreneur and technology expert in the automotive remarketing industry. Check out his automotive blog or follow him on Twitter!

Auto Industry, Car, Car Care

April is National Car Care Month: Check out these Spring Car Care Tips!

April is the National Car Care Month so what better time to give your vehicle the TLC you’ve been putting off during the cold winter months. Taking proper care of your car is vital to the longevity of your vehicle. Follow these simple and easy spring car care basics to extend the lifetime of your vehicle and save you money in the long run.

 

Wash and Wax

A simple but essential spring car care tip is to wash and wax. During the winter, sale, debris, and road grime will build upon your vehicle. Debris and dirt build up will affect your car’s paint and finish, but salt can do much worse damage, leading to rust and other serious problems. Spend a beautiful spring day outside washing your car or take it to your local car wash for a much-needed bath!

 

Change Oil and Filter

Changing your car’s oil and filter will help the engine continue to work at its best and prevent costly repairs to drivers down the road. As the weather begins to warm up, your air conditioning will be on more which means your engine will be working harder. According to Meineke, the average cost of a year’s’ worth of oil changes is approximately $120, which is much lower than the cost of not proactively maintaining a vehicle’s engine, $4,000. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Energy found that with routine oil changes and the right kind of oil, gas mileage can be improved over time by one to two percent! Be sure to take the time to check when you need an oil change and do not push it off if the time is now!

 

Check the Battery

Your vehicle’s battery will drain quicker with colder temperatures, so it is essential to check if the battery is fully charged. Using a voltmeter, you will be able to determine if your battery is good or bad. If you want to test the charge yourself, remember always to wear a pair of rubber gloves and goggles because this will protect your hands and eyes from acid. You can also stop in at your local mechanic or car shop for a test!  Most car shops offer it for free!

 

Check Alignment and Suspension

Driving in wintry conditions and over potholes can damage your vehicle’s alignment and suspension. If you notice uneven tire wear, your car seems to fight against the steering, or if you are using more gas than you used to it may mean your suspension is not correct. Alignment is critical because it increases safety as well as determines how long your tires and gas will last. If you think your alignment or suspension needs correcting, contact your local car shop or mechanic.

 

April is National Car Care Month, which makes it a perfect time to give your car the TLC it needs. Winter weather can take a toll on your vehicle, so follow these spring car care tips for keeping your car in the best shape!

 
Mark Alexopoulos is a leading entrepreneur and technology expert in the automotive remarketing industry. Check out his automotive blog or follow him onTwitter!