By Mark Klapperich, District Manager – Fond du Lac, Marine Credit Union
Buying a car, whether new or used, can be stressful. Where do I start? How do I narrow it down? What questions do I ask? What if they rip me off? Do I get the extra warranty?
Keep in mind these four tips when buying a used car:
- Identify a budget. A monthly car payment should not be more than 20% of your monthly income. Consider the length of the loan. Can you pay off the loan in three years? Will you have to take four or five years?
- Research before buying. Start on the internet with used car dealers in your area. Make sure to consult consumer reports on the make and model of the vehicle and individual vehicle’s CARFAX report. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, take someone with you who you trust and who knows cars. They will know what questions to ask the dealer and what to look for when shopping.
- Test drive! The fun part. You want to get a feel for the vehicle. How does it handle? Are the axles aligned? Do the brakes or belts make noise? These mechanical functions are vital when negotiating price.
- Negotiate the price. Research what similar vehicles sold for and know the Kelley Blue Book value. If you feel the price is too high, ask to have repairs done for the listed price prior to the car leaving the dealer. Don’t get derailed by extended warranties and extra “perks.”