Things to Look for When Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle
Our Top Tips for Used Car Shopping at Your Local Volkswagen Dealer
With the current microchip shortage and the state of the economy, many savvy car buyers are looking at used cars as opposed to new vehicles. If you don’t have a ton of budget to work with, this is a fairly smart play, especially considering that most new cars depreciate by 20% within the first year of ownership.
By simply going with a vehicle that is one or two years older than the current year, you can potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in depreciation. Additionally, you save yourself a little bit of money on the insurance premiums.
So, what exactly is the best way to shop for a used car? Do you Google search “used car dealerships near me” and hit the closest one? Not quite.
The world of used car shopping is a bit of a jungle, and your friendly local Volkswagen dealer here in Lee’s Summit is here to help you navigate it.
Things to do Before You Shop
Before you step foot on a used car lot, there are a few ducks that you should get in a row. Think of these as best practices for used car buying.
1. Know Your Budget and Build in Some Cushion: You should always know how much you’re willing to spend on a used car. This keeps you from overextending yourself and taking on a monthly payment that you might not be ready for. Additionally, you should build in some cushion for things like sales tax, insurance, and other charges and fees that come up that aren’t included on the sticker price.
2. Arrange Your Financing if You Aren’t Paying in Cash: One thing that people forget to do when they’re used car shopping is arrange financing. If you’re not paying cash, check with your bank or local credit union about getting a letter of pre-approval for a car loan. This will help speed things along once you finally decide on the vehicle you want. It also lets the dealership know that you’re a serious customer.
3. Know Approximately What You’re Looking For: The world of used cars is overwhelming. There are thousands of them out there. Do yourself a favor and try to determine approximately what you want before you hit the market. This is as much a help to you as it is your sales person. If you need a sedan with great gas mileage or an SUV with tons of storage – lead off with that.
What to Look for in a Used Car
Hopefully, by the time you visit a used car dealership near you, you know approximately what you want and how much of a budget you have to put toward the car. If you have those two major details ironed out, your used car shopping process should go a lot smoother.
Once you start hitting websites and used car dealerships, there are some important things to keep in mind when shopping. Look for the following when browsing used cars:
- The warranty: Some used cars – usually the certified pre-owned vehicles – come with a warranty that covers the car for a certain amount of mileage. Certified pre-owned vehicles usually cost a bit more than used vehicles, however, sometimes paying more is worth it to have that built in protection.
- Accident report and history: One big red flag that you want to lookout for are accidents and a vehicle that has several owners in a short amount of time. This usually means that something is mechanically wrong with the car. Make sure that you check the vehicle history closely. You may find a deal-breaker in there.
- Get the full vehicle service history: The last thing that you want is to inherit a bunch of overdue service and repairs on the vehicle. When you’re checking the accident report in vehicle history, make sure to also get a history of service and repairs. This lets you know if the current owner has been keeping up on maintenance.
- A great test drive that’s thorough: Don’t let yourself feel rushed when test driving a used vehicle. Be sure to take it through all the normal paces of driving. Make multiple left-hand turns and right-hand turns, drive the vehicle at low speeds, high speeds, and in reverse. Check to ensure all blinkers, wipers, and windows are in good working order. Finally, make sure the tires are in good shape.
If everything checks out, you should be clear to purchase your used vehicle. Don’t forget about all the paperwork such as the bill of sale, transfer of ownership, etc. If you’re dealing with a used car dealership, they should essentially walk you through all this, so the process remains simple for you.
Looking for Used Car Dealerships Near You? Visit VW Lee’s Summit!
Now that you’re more familiar with the process of used car shopping and the homework you need to do before diving in, the next step is to find a used car dealership near you that you can trust. As one of the leading used used car dealerships in the area, VW Lee’s Summit prides itself on offering a wide selection of vehicles suited to fit any budget.
We offer used cars as well as certified pre-owned vehicles that have undergone a 100+ point inspection. Don’t forget to check out our specials for more great deals on VW products and services.
Of course, if you’re looking for a new car, we’re the leading Volkswagen dealer in the area that carries game changing vehicles like the VW ID.4, the VW Atlas, and the VW Jetta, just to name a few. VW Lee’s Summit is conveniently located at 2225 NE Independence Ave. Contact us at (816) 841-7252 to speak with a member of our team or email us directly using the contact form on our website.
Are you a current VW owner in need of routine maintenance or service? Contact the Volkswagen service center to make your appointment.