Buying a Used Car – What Steps to Take

When you make the decision to buy a car, you’re taking a huge financial step that will most likely affect your bank statements for a good while. It is definitely not a decision to go into lightly, unless you happen to have a windfall of cash and can buy straight off the lot. Even so, you want to ensure you’re making the best choices and not making easily avoidable mistakes. Many prospective car buyers get caught up in the process and overlook essential questions as they sign on the dotted line and set up monthly payments.  Once you decided to buy a car, take the time to check out the ways you can avoid the common mistakes people make before buying, so you can ensure you don’t fall into these traps.

At Polam FCU, we are here to help you make the financial decisions that best suit your budget and your lifestyle, and we’re also here to provide you the best information and advice about how to maintain good financial health. Here are a few necessary, everyday things you can do to boost your credit score:

Will your insurance premium go up?

It’s easy to overlook the fact that your auto insurance premium can go up based on the kind of used car you choose to buy. If you have a make and model in mind, give your insurance agent a call to find out if there might be any additional costs incurred based on your ideal car, or if you’ll need to purchase gap insurance. You can also check certain things such as costs of maintenance and tires, which can help you budget in the long run.

How many dealerships do you want to visit?

It’s never a good idea to limit your car shopping experience to one place, as you could run into different deals and salespeople more willing to work with your budget at other dealerships. Many auto experts suggest visiting at least three dealerships before finalizing a decision on a car.

Check out the online departments for car dealerships.

Instead of simply waiting to negotiate a price for a car at a dealership, send an email detailing what you’re looking for, your price range and what you’re willing to pay for what you’re interested in. This can free up time as you continue to shop around.

Take full advantage of your test drive.

Your test drive is the time for you to really lean into the used car you might want to buy, to see what features you like (and need) and what features you don’t like (or could do without). While it may feel awkward testing something like a car that is meant to accommodate your lifestyle with a salesperson sitting in the back, it’s essential to take the time to see if it’s a right fit. Before you get behind the wheel, make a checklist of what you want in a car so you can save time on the test drive.