BEFORE YOU BUY A USED CAR OR VEHICLE, there are steps to follow to protect yourself.
Buying a used car is an enjoyable yet stressful event because you have the fun of shopping mixed with the anxiety of obtaining credit, negotiating a price and hoping that the car does not give you unforeseen problems.
11 TIPS THAT WILL MINIMIZE THE STRESS OF USED CAR BUYING:1. If you KNOW you cannot afford to purchase a vehicle, DON*T. You will only lose it to repossession in the long run and severely damage your ability to purchase anything else on credit for a long time. Look into other modes of transportation and save enough to make a good deposit on a purchase or, best option, buy outright.
2. The best way to save for a vehicle is to pay into savings each month what you would pay on installment for a vehicle.
3. Check all three credit reports to make sure you have cleared up any credit issues that are holding your credit rating down. The lower your credit rating, the higher the interest rate. Do what is necessary to address credit issues before beginning to inquire regarding loans for the purchase. If you have not addressed credit issues and lenders begin looking into your credit, this will create a *hard inquiry* which will bring your credit score down and, if you do not qualify for any loan, you are stuck with a lower credit score and no vehicle.
4. Attempt to sell your current vehicle rather than trading it in. You will receive more from a private buyer than you will as a trade-in credit in most cases.
5. *AS IS* means *AS IS*. The vehicle may look great and the salesman may tell you there are no issues but the only thing that matters is what is written on the papers you sign. Even if you can only drive the vehicle 1 mile off the lot before it starts having issues, you are stuck.
6. Take a real test drive. This means driving the vehicle in heavy traffic conditions AND on the highway. It is well worth having someone who knows vehicle mechanics to with you to check out the vehicle before you purchase. You may also arrange to take the vehicle to a mechanic of your choice for an inspection before you purchase. SKIPPING THIS STEP COULD COST YOU TENS OF THOUSANDS IN THE LONG RUN. I failed to do this when I was younger and my great looking car*s engine caught on fire about a month after purchase.
7. LEMON LAWS DO NOT APPLY TO USED VEHICLE PURCHASES. There are some very minor exceptions, such as for a vehicle that was only used as a showroom vehicle.
8. READ the papers you are signing, no matter how much the salesman tries to rush you. The papers will tell you the only ways you will be able undo the contract or remedy any post-purchase problems with the vehicle if any option is available to you at all. Florida law presumes that you have completely read every document you sign.
9. DO NOT SIGN any document with blanks on it. It is possible that an unscrupulous dealer could go back and fill in these blanks after you sign the document.
10. You may request to take the papers with you for an attorney to review before you enter into the agreement. If the dealer will not allow you to do so, you may not want to purchase a vehicle from that dealer.
11. Beware of credit union loans. They tend to offer lower rates but many credit unions will tie in other items like life insurance policies and credit card accounts requiring that your vehicle secure all of these items as collateral. If that is the case, you could end up with, for example, a $50,000- debt secured by your $10,000 valued vehicle.
3 TIPS REGARDING FINANCING, INSURANCE & MAINTENANCE12. If you are buying used, you WILL want a warranty unless you are a great mechanic. Search independently for a good warranty on your vehicle rather being strong-armed into a warranty being pushed by the dealer. The dealer could have the best available warranty for the money but you will want to make sure first. You do not have to buy the dealer*s warranty.
13. MAKE SURE TO HAVE GAP INSURANCE if you are making installment payments. Gap insurance pays for the balance of your loan if something happens to your vehicle. First check with your insurance company to see if they offer gap insurance. It will usually be through a sub-contractor that the coverage is provided. If your insurance company does not provide gap insurance, Google *Best Gap Insurance Providers*. Once your vehicle is paid off or if you only have a few payments to go, you can cancel your gap insurance.
14. REGULAR MAINTENANCE is important. Make sure to take your vehicle in for an oil change as recommended by the manufacturer and have a full inspection at least once per year.
1. Only buy if you can afford to make the payments.
2. Save enough for a significant down-payment before purchasing.
3. Check your credit BEFORE you start looking for a car.
4. Sell your old car rather than trading it in.
5. Don't rely on the salesman's statements.
6. Take a comprehensive test drive.
7. No Lemon Law protection for used vehicles.
8. Read all the papers completely before you sign..
9. Do not sign papers with blanks.
10. Have an attorney review your papers before signing.
11. Make sure your credit union loan pertains ONLY to your car and not other accounts.
12. Do comparison shopping for a used car warranty to cover repairs in the future.
13. Get Gap Insurance.
14. Regularly maintain your car.