Buying a car can be an adventure. However, when you are buying your first used car, it is important to keep some factors in mind.

Have a Range for Price

You need to know your budget and figure out the range of monthly payment that you can handle. The rule of thumb is not more than 1/5 of your bring-home pay in a month. Keep in mind, however, that you also need to pay for insurance, which may be more than you were paying for a previous vehicle.

Understand the Cost for Insurance

If you did not have a vehicle before, the insurance can be a significant hit to your budget if you aren’t expecting that payment as well. Some vehicle purchases require you to carry full coverage insurance, which is a larger payment than liability only. Therefore, if you will be making payments on the vehicle through a loan provider, you need to be prepared to pay a higher insurance rate.

Have a Target Few Models to Look At

Research prior to heading out to the nearest used car lot will help you determine the type of vehicle to search out. This means you need to know what type of safety rating you prefer, the style of vehicle, number of doors and elements like storage space that you want to see in a vehicle you will be purchasing and driving regularly.

View the Vehicle History Report

A report can let you know if the vehicle was maintained by a previous owner, if it has been in many accidents and other important details like recalls that have included the vehicle. That way, you know what the car or truck has been through and whether it is worth the asking price you are seeing at the moment.

Talk to the Previous Owner

This is not always possible. If you are buying from a dealer’s used car lot, you may have to simply look the vehicle over extra carefully. Dealers tend to gloss over the important issues with a vehicle in the goal of selling to you. However, some dealers will be very honest. Ask around to see what dealerships will tell you the truth about the vehicle if you know you’ll have to buy from a dealership.

Take a Test Drive

Always take the vehicle for a drive before committing to purchase. The vehicle might look great on paper, might have great gas mileage and all the other factors you think you want in a daily driver. However, if you get behind the wheel and find there are things about the vehicle you don’t like that cannot be changed, then you know you have to look for another vehicle. It is always key to drive the vehicle to be sure it is something you want to spend a lot of time in and can trust to be your personal transportation.

Negotiate the Purchase

It is never a good idea to simply accept the price the vehicle has a sale price. Whether you are working with a private seller or a dealership, most prices are inflated because the person or dealership expects you to want to negotiate. Therefore, go in prepared to make an offer that is lower and work toward a compromise. In some instances, you may end up with a significantly lower sales price. You won’t get that by simply agreeing to what they have listed on the vehicle.

Now that you understand the key factors to purchasing a used car, you can use a checklist for used car buyer to provide a reminder of elements you need to keep in mind during a car search.

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