3 Important Things To Do When Shopping For A Used Vehicle

Does your current vehicle no longer run as well as it once did? Is it only a matter of time before you have no way to get back and forth to and from work? Having to look for a reliable vehicle can be a frustrating experience for many people. Fortunately, used car shopping doesn't have to be as difficult as you might otherwise expect. By following some simple steps, you can make the shopping experience as stress-free as possible. Some things to do both before and while shopping include:

Set up a firm budget: Before you get to the used car dealership, make sure you know exactly how much you can afford for monthly payments. Once on the car lot, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the attractive cars and to be tempted into buying a car that's actually outside of your budget. Write down the details of how much you're willing to pay and put the information in your wallet or your purse. If you're being tempted into overspending, take out the paper and read the information to remind yourself of your plans.

Don't mention trade-ins: If you talk to the salesman at the used car dealership about any trade-ins that you are planning to do, he or she may raise the price of any vehicle that you're looking at by the trade-in amount. Since not every used car dealership has the asking price displayed on each individual car, this can be difficult to detect. For example, if the dealership is offering a promotion where they give you a $500 value on any trade-in, the salesman may tell you that a $3,000 vehicle actually costs $3,500. Once the trade-in price is subtracted, you're not saving any money. Even though this practice may be frowned upon or even prohibited at the car lot in question, some salesmen may still do this in an attempt to raise his or her commission. Leave the talk of trade-ins until after you've decided on the price of the vehicle that you're buying.

Get the vehicle inspected: Even the most reputable used car dealership won't always catch all potential issues with each vehicle. Before you go to the car lot, find a reputable mechanic who is willing and able to inspect a vehicle on short notice. This will let you know whether you should expect to replace the brakes soon, if the transmission is likely to give you trouble, or if the vehicle is actually in relatively good condition. Another good tip is to find a used car dealership that you trust!