There are a lot of reasons why someone may decide to buy a new-used car. Whether their current car is too old, they want an updated model, or they just can’t justify purchasing a brand new vehicle to get from point A to point B, everyone has a reason. But before you head to a dealership or meet someone who is selling a used car online, be sure to take the time to not only research the vehicle you’re about to purchase, but the overall process of buying a used car. As you’ll be investing thousands of dollars, you want to make sure you feel confident about your decision by taking the right steps before signing on the dotted line. While the steps can vary depending on your needs, there are four crucial steps that every shopper should remember to take while shopping for a used car.

Step 1: Research

Just like with any new gadget or item, it’s always a good idea to spend some time researching it online. Especially when you’re going to be relying on it as your primary source of transportation. With that being said, when you’re researching used cars, it’s important that you know what type of make and model you’re looking for, or if you want any extra features like leather seats, cruise control or a sunroof. Often this research can help you set a realistic budget for how much you’re going to have to spend and whether any of your expectations will have to be adjusted to fit your budget.

By doing the right research you’ll be able to figure out on average, how much a certain make and model is worth, so you know you’re getting the best deal. But just like with any other purchase, if the price is too good to be true, it often is. So be wary if you see your dream car set at a drastically low price in comparison to others on the market. You may find out that it’s set so low because it requires repairs or was involved in an accident that drastically depreciated its value.

Step 2: The Test Drive

When you’ve found the right used car that’s within your budget, you should always perform a proper test drive. Performing your own driving test in the vehicle can help you not only get a feel for how it handles the road, but as well, whether it may need some future repairs or work. So when you meet the car dealer or owner to view the vehicle, insist on a lengthy ride (many suggest anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes). During your test drive, plan a route that allows you to encounter all types of road conditions such as paved roads, highways, potholes and lane changes. You may find that during this ride, there is something about how the car handles the road that sets you off from purchasing it.

Apart from testing how the car physically drives, check all of the extra features it has like its air conditioning, cruise control, and even its windows! And last but not least, during your drive, roll the windows down so you can hear the sounds the car makes. Alarming noises when you break or accelerate may hint that it will need future repairs!

Step 3: Investigate And Ask Questions

After you’re satisfied with how the car drives during your road test, remember to investigate it further! As you’re about to invest thousands of your hard earned dollars into it, you want to make sure there will be no surprises down the road that will cost you. Meaning, if any repairs are needed, or its past servicing history is concerning, you know and are aware. So apart from reading reviews on the trustworthiness of the dealership, ask the owner or dealership for the following;

  • A CarProof Report,
  • The cars VIN (Vehicle Identification Number),
  • Known history, future repairs.

A CarProof Report will show its maintenance history, ensuring that you’re aware of its past so you know how it may affect its future. While having access to its VIN allows you to know exactly what make, model and year the car is, as well where it was made and who the legal seller is. This is especially important if you’re not buying a used car from a dealership, as you want to make sure it’s not a stolen vehicle and that you can register it.

Last and most importantly, ask the seller or dealership about its known history and whether they have any knowledge about future repairs it may need. During this step, it’s always suggested to take the car to a trusted mechanic so you can truly feel confident with your purchase and the information you’re provided with. Shoppers who decide not to take this step put themselves at risk for buying a damaged or problematic vehicle.

Step 4: Car Insurance

After you’ve test driven the car, asked the right questions, and had a third party review its condition so you feel confident in your purchase, never forget to buy the right Auto Insurance before driving it home! You never know what may happen, and even though you may only be driving it a few kilometres to get it home, being involved in an accident without coverage can be financially crippling! So before signing on the dotted line, contact your Cambridge Insurance broker to learn more about how we can protect you with our comprehensive packages that are designed to meet your unique insurance needs.