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Tips to Help You Pick Your Next Used Car

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When shopping for used cars, there are plenty of factors to consider. Buying any car is a significant investment, and used cars, in particular, bring with them a unique set of variables. Here are some tips for finding a quality used car that you can trust.

Condition
Used vehicles come in a variety of conditions, ranging from broken-down and non-functional to pristine and like-new. The former is far more common than the latter, and that is, unfortunately, not always obvious at first glance. Whenever you are looking into a used car, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure it will operate reliably. Never skip the test drive, as that is the first and best way to know how the car performs, from ignition to handling.

When looking at used cars, it's a good idea to think about their condition in much the same way you would think about your own health. You want to find a used car that has been treated well, if not outright pampered. Just as you would enlist health professionals like the experts at USANA Health Sciences to help support your body’s general health, you should have the car inspected by a professional mechanic to ensure that the engine and framework are up to par.

Budget
A good rule of thumb for any purchase is to stick within your budget. If you spend all of your disposable income in one place, you will always find a better use for it after the fact. Calculate exactly how much you can afford to spend and do not go over it, no matter how much of a smooth talker the salesperson believes themselves to be. Remember that used cars require more care and maintenance than new rides, so factor the cost of new tires and some miscellaneous repairs into your maximum price for the initial purchase.

Also, if you plan to finance your used car, be cautious with setting up monthly repayment plans. You should keep your car payment below 10% of your take-home pay to make sure your budget does not get too tight elsewhere.

Car Value
While managing your budget is essential, you should also make sure you are not spending more than the car is worth. Before checking out the car in person, it is a good idea to look up the blue book value of the car in advance. That way, you can compare the price the seller is asking for to the true car value to determine whether or not it is a reasonable markup based on the car's condition.

Also, if you plan on paying off your used car over a long period of time, consider the rate of depreciation and how much your used car will be worth by the time your repayment contract is completed. If you cannot buy the car outright, and its value will drop far below the amount you are paying over time, it is probably not a very good deal.

Functionality VS Aesthetics
Another good thing to keep in mind when looking into buying a used car is that buying based on looks alone is never a good idea. Aside from the potential for hidden damage, just because a car has a nice visual appeal does not mean it will support your needs.

For example, if you need a commuter vehicle, a great-looking truck will never match the fuel economy of a small sedan. Equally, if you are looking for a vehicle to transport a family of five, there is no reason to bother looking at two-seat coupes.

Finding the right car for you can be a long process for good reasons. You want to find a car that is reliable, fits your needs, and does not bankrupt you in the process. Keep these tips in mind the next time you are searching the used car market, and the car you select is almost certain to be a winner.

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