Buying a used car can be a daunting task. Car Source has put up some of the things you need to know before buying a used car.

Look into the extra costs and your credit score

On top of the original Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), other costs like tax, title, registration, and insurance often add roughly 10% to your overall purchase price. It’s important to consider the extra costs before you decide on buying the car.

It’s also important not to overlook the role of auto financing in the total cost of your new car. Without a good cash flow on hand, getting a good auto loan might be the better choice. How can you figure out which is a good one and which isn’t? You might want to check out this free tool created by MoneyUnder30, a Car Affordability Calculator to simplify the process.

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Your credit score is key in learning whether you qualify for the best auto loan rates. If your credit score is just about or below average before you hit the lot look into getting financing quotes from your bank, a local credit union, or simply let CarSource helps you with your car loan.

You might also want to consider an extended warranty plan, which pays for all your approved car-related bang-ups and bruises. You can get one from the manufacturer, or look into independent 3rd parties, which may cost less.

Research the car model that suits you the best

Just like choosing a partner, everyone will have their own preferences and standards when it comes to choosing the correct car model. Your new car, even if used, is more than just transportation: it plays a vital role as your podcasts, schleps around your friends & family, and sticks it out through your road trips. Researching the best model is a crucial step in the process.

There are a lot of pretty fantastic resources around to help you determine the very best car out there for you. Check out this fun little quiz by Car Talk to start narrowing down your options. And sites out there like Safer Car, powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, share safety and reliability ratings, as well as crash test results and recall updates.

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It’s useful to speak to past owners, car experts, and your really market savvy friends. Ask a truckload of questions and soon you’ll start to piece together a picture of what you want.

Questions and more questions

The most important question to ask the seller is, of course, “Why in the world are you selling your ride?” Ask them to describe the condition of the car and what it was primarily used for if they have all the mechanical and maintenance records, and if they have any objection to you taking the car to a private mechanic for an inspection (big red flag if they object!). The private party sales are almost always “as is”—meaning once you’ve bought the car, good luck returning it when you realise the side view mirror is being held on by 10-year-old wads of bubble gum.

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Ask the owner to bring the car to a place you’ll feel at ease, like a big parking lot at a shopping mall. Inspect it closely. It all comes down to trust. Is the seller reputable? Remember, this car’s going to be with you a lot longer than the few hours you spend with the seller. It’s worth waiting a few more hours to make sure it’s a good long haul investment.

Open all the doors and the trunk and look for paint overspray. Walk around and see if all the body panels are the same colour. If something’s awry, start asking questions. Why would this vehicle have to be repainted?

Check the tires. Uneven wear could indicate the need for a front-end alignment or something more costly. Bring along a little fridge magnet and place it all over the car (lower door, front fender, etc). If there is any plastic body filler present, the magnet won’t stay in place, indicating the vehicle has been in an accident. Stand away from the vehicle and see if everything lines up correctly.

Others things to approach with the utmost suspicion: radiator fluid (if it’s foamy or oily, don’t buy the car), the gas tank (if there’s mud or leaves in there, it was probably beat-up or taken off road a lot), and gas pedal (do the rubber footpads show heavy wear?).

Finally, whatever you do, do it in writing. Write up a contract stating what you’re paying and under what terms it should be delivered.

Get a history and safety report on the car

Before solidifying the deal, write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is a 17-digit code located on the top of the instrument panel (the base of the windshield). The VIN will also be on a sticker on the driver’s side-door pillar. Make sure all the VINs match! If they don’t, don’t buy the car.

The VIN will allow you to get a detailed AutoCheck Vehicle History Report, which identifies any major problems with the vehicle, including past accidents, flood damage, and odometer discrepancies.

The Great News – Save Time & Money

If you choose to buy your used car using CarSource, be sure that we have already go through all the steps stated above. There are over 100 Certified Singapore Car Dealers connected with us so that we are able to make your car-buying as enjoyable as possible.

With upfront pricing information, CarSource gives you more confidence and control throughout the car-buying process. You’ll know when you’re getting a great deal, and that’s a wonderful feeling.