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Buying a Used Car - 6 Easy Steps

1. Determine what characteristics the car must possess to suit your purpose: good gas mileage, performance, passenger space, towing capacity, style, etc. After considering these factors, you will need to decide whether your needs will be met by an SUV, sedan, coupe, station wagon, truck, luxury car, or minivan.
2. Once you've narrowed your car choices, you need to locate vehicles of that type. Check your local newspaper classifieds section, search through online classifieds, and contact local dealerships specializing in the same make of cars. Look at dealer and privately owned cars, both of which have their own benefits which We will discuss below.
3. When you found the vehicle that satisfies your needs, write down the exact mileage, equipment, and installed options. Knowing all those details will help you determine the correct pricing. You will need to find out wholesale (trade-in) and retail values for the vehicle you are interested in. If it is a late-year model, check the pricing on a brand new vehicle of the same make and model. Sometimes the difference in price is so small, it might just be better to get a new car.
4. If you will need to finance the vehicle, try to get pre-approved for the loan before you are closing the deal, especially if you are buying the car from the private party. Make sure that the monthly payments will be within your budget. Again if it is late-year model vehicle, check if there is special finance rates on the a branch new car of the same make and model. You might think that you are saving money by getting a used car, but special rates might make it a better purchase, or at least cheap enough, for you to consider a new car instead.
5. To make sure you are staying within your car budget, don't forget to check with an insurance company. Many times people underestimate what an insurance policy will cost, especialy when getting a high performance sports car. When requesting a quote, try to get pricing for all the cars you are considering at the same time. This is also the good time to check with several different insurance companies or an insurance broker to make sure that you get competitive pricing.
6. Warranty coverage is very important when purchasing a used car. If you are buying late-year model, it still might have some coverage left on the original manufacturer's warranty. Ask the seller for this information. Many franchise dealers now offer "certified pre-owned cars." These vehicles have gone through a thorough inspection and usually come with an extended warranty included in their price. If the car you are buying doesn't have warranty coverage, you might want to take it to a mechanic for an inspection. If you do buy the car without a warranty, you can buy extended warranty from most local dealers, preferably the same brand of dealers as your car. Shop around for the best price and coverage, also consult with your mechanic or service department for recommendations on what warranty to get.

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