If you have ever been intimidated by the process of buying a used bedliner, here are the 7 steps that will guide you through the pre-owned purchasing process:

1. Determine your needs.

If you are thinking about a used vehicle you probably have some idea of the type of vehicle you are interested in. Take a little time before you wade in to get some information on the vehicle that you are looking for. Also think about the features that you are looking for, and separate them into wants and needs columns. Are you going to be putting lots of mileage on the vehicle? If so then you may want to look at a low mileage vehicle. If you just drive to the corner store and back then a vehicle with high mileage will be less expensive and may have the majority of its miles from highway driving. Is warranty important to you? Take this into calculation when determining which vehicle to buy. Remember that the most expensive vehicle is the one you need to trade in right away because it doesn’t meet your needs.

2. Determine your budget

How much do you want to spend? Are you making monthly payments or do you have cash allotted for this purchase? Studies show that 90% of vehicles are purchased with some sort of loan. If you are needing a standard car loan you may want to see your bank to qualify. They will tell you how much you are authorized to spend and at what rate. You can later shop this rate at the dealership you choose to buy from and get the best rate. Many people think that they can get more vehicle for their dollar if they buy older, but if it is a standard car-loan, most lenders will amortize vehicles only until they are 8 years old so an older vehicle will be amortized over a shorter period making the payments higher. If you are concerned with the overall price though the older vehicle may be the way to go. There are good sites on the internet for calculating payments for car loans. Use these to get an idea of what you will have to pay per dollar of car you purchase.

3. Do your homework

The internet is a great source for finding used vehicles. In addition to hundreds or even thousands of used car ads, there are reviews in print, on YouTube and on trade sites. Information about options and specs may be found on manufacturers websites, and consumer e-zines. Make sure to read the fine print on some dealer ads as the price listed often has conditions such as trade-in allowance or financing fees attached to it.

4. Talk to the Seller

If buying privately ask if the owner is the original owner or how long they have owned the vehicle. Find out as much about the vehicle as possible and make sure that the vehicle is safety certified from a licensed mechanic. Also ask if there are any mechanical issues at this time. Tell the owner that it is a little above your budget and ask if you can still come and see it. If they say yes then they are already primed for a lower offer.

If you are buying from a dealership ask as many questions as possible about the history and the options of the vehicle. If the salesperson is evasive or won’t answer questions about price, move on. In both cases if you are interested set an appointment to see the vehicle. If you feel uncomfortable with the person on the phone for any reason, move on. If you arrive at the dealership and determine that you were misled, move on. You have to be able to trust the person that you are dealing with.

5. Test drive the vehicle.

Always test drive the vehicle. Let the owner drive it first. This may give you some insight into how the vehicle has been treated. Listen for noises and vibrations that may indicate suspension or brake problems. A safety certificate only indicates that the vehicle is safe to drive at this time. A private seller does not have to pass on recommendations made by the certifying mechanic for issues that barely pass such as brake wear or tire wear.

Take the vehicle, with the owner’s permission of course, to a trusted mechanic. They will usually charge an inspection fee around $100 but this is money well spent whether there are issues or not. Use the test drive period in order to take down the current mileage and the Vehicle Identification Number. You will need these for the next step.

If you choose to buy from a dealer they will be able to show you the reconditioning report if it is a certified pre-owned vehicle. These vehicles undergo an inspection and all recommended repairs are completed, rather than just mentioned to the owner. This will give buyers peace of mind. The vehicle may be more expensive but you may feel comfortable that any issues found with the vehicle have not only been noted but fixed to manufacturers specifications.


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