Once you find the car you want, you'll want to move fast so it isn't sold out from under you. So it's a good idea to get your financing set up before you begin searching for your car. If you're paying cash, there is little to do except make sure you have the funds available to withdraw cash or get a cashier's check when it's time to do the deal. If you're paying all cash for a used car from a private party, consider doing the deal in a public place.
The used-car market is like a huge haystack, and while it may seem tough to find that needle, a bit of online research cuts the legwork and speeds up the process considerably. The good news is that you're already on the right page to start. From here, you can either input the car you want or scroll to the "Select a Make" section and click on an automaker you're interested in. You'll then get a list of cars to choose from. And on the left side of the inventory page, you'll find several ways to filter the choices.
Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components such as air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance such as fluid top-offs and oil changes, but a growing number of brands have separate free-maintenance provisions. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties. Terms are typically three years or 36,000 miles, although some have terms as high as six years or 60,000 miles. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for bumper-to-bumper warranty limits.
View all of Edmunds' used inventory, containing hundreds of thousands of used automobiles, trucks and SUVs for sale with special offers, appraise your current vehicle for sale or trade-in value, and research the car of your dreams. You can limit your search to certified pre-owned vehicles for sale and be a click away from articles by our experts that will give you the best shopping and buying tips and advice. Let's take a closer look at each of these aids to easier used-car shopping.
It's not well known, but you can often arrange to have the vehicle delivered to your home or workplace. This option allows you to sign the paperwork in a relaxed environment, skip the trip to the finance and insurance office, and avoid many car-buying pitfalls. Wherever you finalize the deal, call your insurance company and let your agent or customer service representative know that you'll need coverage for your new ride.
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A vehicle history report from services such as AutoCheck, Carfax or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is worth the money and could help tip the scales in favor of one car over another. Pro tip: Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.gov) website to see if the vehicle you're considering is under an active safety recall.
Run your credit report and get your credit score. The score tells you your credit tier, which will affect your annual percentage rate. Even if you have bad credit, you can still buy a vehicle that's right for you and your wallet. Next, get preapproved for a loan at your local bank, credit union or online lender. By going in with financing already arranged, you can determine if the dealer can beat your interest rate. This strategy also keeps the negotiations more focused since you will only be looking at the total price of the vehicle (also called the "out the door" price), not a monthly payment.