At our used car dealership in Calgary, we’re often asked questions about used cars – after all, we are experts! However, there’s a lot to take on board, especially if you want to buy a decent used car that’s going to last you for quite a while. Below, we’ll take a look at everything you could possibly want to know about buying a used car. 

Should You Buy New Or Used?

Buying a new car can be really satisfying, but the majority of car buyers will find it makes more sense for them to buy a used car, even a slightly used car. New cars are very expensive, and you’ll be expected to pay larger sums of money upfront. Plus, a new car depreciates the second you drive it off the lot, by around 25%. A new car will have lost around 40% of its value after a year, and up to 60% after three years. That’s a lot, and something you’ll need to be ok with if you’re going to buy a new car. 

There are some great car deals to be had when you choose to buy used, and longer factory warranties can mean further peace of mind. A nearly new car with just a few thousand miles could offer you great value for money. 

Knowing What Kind Of Used Car You Want

Before you go used car shopping, it’s a good idea for you to narrow down your choice to the make and model you would like. This will make the job so much easier and less overwhelming, and you’ll find it easier to discuss your price and requirements. You’ll need to keep your needs in mind, such as space you’ll need, the number of people you’ll need to carry, comfort, and so on. 

Knowing How Much You Should Spend

Once you have a good idea of the model you want, set a budget and make sure you’re going to stick to it. You’ll also want to make a note of the costs you’ll pay other than the car, such as road tax, insurance, fuel, credit repayments, and so on. Have a good idea of how much repairs may cost you if something goes wrong, too. You don’t want to get a few months in and realize this isn’t actually a viable car for you. 

Knowing Where To Buy A Used Car From

There are all kinds of places you can buy a used car. Of course, we recommend our used car dealership in Calgary, but there are other dealers, as well as private sellers, online, or in person. Buying from a dealer is usually your best bet. Although you can get great cars from private sellers, you need to be extra careful that you aren’t buying a faulty or dangerous car. 

Making Vehicle Checks On The Used Car

You need to make sure you’re prepared to check over your used car properly when you take it for a test drive. Let’s take a look at some of the checks you should make:

  • Signs of damage – this includes things like bubbles in the paintwork, slightly different shades of paint, making sure the windows shut properly, etc. 
  • Rust – especially on the wings, sills, and below the bumpers. Rusty brake pipes should be replaced.
  • Oil leaks from the engine – check the bonnet after a long test drive to see if there are problems. 
  • No oil/dirty oil – this could indicate that the car has not been driven for a while. 
  • Uneven wear on tires – keep a look out for cracks, splits, and cuts too. 
  • Rust colored coolant – rust can collect in the reservoir because of too much water. 
  • Stiff gears at high revs – a sign the clutch may be worn.
  • Loose steering – can mean the power steering system is faulty.
  • Non-effective brakes – also look out for slack seatbelts and broken headlights. 

Does It Come With A Spare Key?

Ideally, a used car should come with a spare key. Keys can cost more than $100 to be replaced, so this should be factored into the price if one is not included. 

Checking Over The Paperwork

Our Used Car Dealership In Calgary will always do everything possible to ensure you can check over the paperwork and maintenance records to be sure this is the best vehicle for you. A used car should come with the handbook, service history, and all of the other relevant documents. 

When you have these documents, look at the cam belt and when that is due to be changed. It can cost you thousands if it is allowed to break, and you may even need a new engine. The registration written on the documents should match the vehicle. If they don’t, the car may have been cloned. 

Haggling For The Best Price On A Used Car

It can be extremely satisfying when you haggle to a great price on a used car. Negotiation can be tough for some people, but many salespeople expect reasonable offers and will happily negotiate the price with you. You shouldn’t think twice about walking away from a deal if you’re unhappy with the price they are asking you to pay, or if you realize fees and costs have sneakily been added later on down the line. As long as your requirements are both fair and realistic, the seller might just call you again if they want to sell the car to you. You should never feel under pressure to spend a lot of money on a used car if the situation isn’t sitting right with you. In the meantime, keep on looking and you’re bound to find a suitable deal.

Buying a used car can be tricky, but with this advice, you’ll end up taking one home that is built to last. Knowing your budget and requirements is key, as well as what to look for when you go out on a test drive. It can also be a good idea to go car shopping with somebody who knows about cars. Good luck!