Buying a used car is a nightmare, and knowing how to haggle and what to use as a basis of negotiation is a skill in itself. The first thing to do is broadly decide on the model and make of car you desire. Having an idea of the car you want will help you establish the value of a car in the year and condition you want.
The second thing to do is buy a used car guide; this will describe the value of particular cars for the condition they are in.
Now you know the car you want and the price you’re prepared to pay the fun begins. The next step is to look in the classifieds and go and examine a few autos.
Rule number one. Leave rose colour glasses behind. Buying a car is a serious business it is the second biggest expense you’ll ever make so you’ll want to get it right. Not all cars that shine are beautiful and some might not last the year unless you’re very wary.
Good cars feel right. Look at the car from a short distance. Look how it sits on the road. Is there any rust on the bodywork? Are there any oil leaks underneath?
Be wary if the tyres have been painted and the engine compartment looks like new. This car has been cleaned up for the purposes of being sold. A steam cleaned engine compartment can conceal many an oil leak.
Take the car for a drive and refuse any car where the owner is reluctant to give a test drive. Drive it yourself as that is often the only way you’ll detect faults. The owner may know how to hide problems because he’s aware of what they are.
Now you’re armed with an idea of the car’s condition. Compare this to the price guideline in the used car price book. Remember, all those little faults you found will cost money to put right. Add up in your mind the cost of repairs and add ten percent and now take this amount off of the asking price.
If the owner is unhappy about your offer say you’ll think about it. In the meantime go and look at another car. Later in the day, you can always call the first owner and ask if he is now prepared to accept your offer. The owner may have had time to think about your proposal and may agree to your price.
Always take your time when buying a car, and never be tempted to buy the first one you see unless it is in exceptional condition, and at the right price.