Buying a used car is an exciting, but also daunting, task. Your purchase will not only out you in debt and tie up your savings for years to come but will also likely be your primary mode of transportation for the next 10-15 years. Furthermore, used cars in el cajon depreciate in value and often lose as much as 50% of their value within the first few years. With so much at stake it’s important that you have as many facts about what you’re buying and who from as possible to avoid making a bad decision or being taken advantage of by junk-yard owners who are looking to load their lot with more profitable cars than they really need.
Before you even start to consider where to buy a used car, you need to do your homework. First, check Consumer Reports and the Better Business Bureau website for any complaints (often left anonymously) about the used car dealers in your area. Look at Yelp reviews if they are available and read online forums or message boards on topics related to purchasing used cars such as those available at Edmunds.com. This will give you some sense of what your experiences might be like when you go shopping for a car. You can also check out reviews written by other consumers on cars they’ve purchased or cars they’re considering buying online through sites such as Craigslist and Carfax. You can also find local reviews on Yelp and Google. The best way to protect yourself from a dishonest used car dealer is to know what you’re getting into before you even set foot on the lot, so research as much as possible and then go in armed with that knowledge.
Get Preapproved for a Loan
Before heading out to shop for your used car, if you haven’t already done so, get preapproved for a loan. This will give you a ballpark of how much money you can spend including the amount of interest that will accrue if the loan is approved. You can get preapproved online through a site like LendingTree.com or directly through your bank. If you think you may need to finance part of the purchase price of a used car, make sure to let your bank know so they can let you know when that loan will be approved, as well as what additional fees and interest rates will be attached. This way you won’t waste time on a car lot that is out of your price range or cause a delay in getting your car while they process paperwork on an approved loan—and it may even help you negotiate a lower interest rate.