A Guide to Buying Cars — Tips, Tricks, & Expert Advice — For Smart Buyers
Buying a pre-owned used car can be tricky, especially if you are not a “car person” or don’t have a wealth of past experience.
It’s different from buying a brand new car from a new-car dealer in that used cars can come from individual sellers, small independent dealers, large national dealers, public auto auctions, government auctions, repossession sales, and even from scammers.
Since new cars depreciate in value so quickly, buying a used car will allow you to take the advantage and buy cheaper, after much of the depreciation has already taken place.
However, since used cars have been previously owned, there are potential problems and risks that depend on a vehicle’s age, mileage, condition, and accident history.
There are steps that should be taken to help avoid these kinds of problems when buying a used car.
That’s the purpose of this website.
We’ll help you choose the right car, show you how to avoid problems, find and negotiate the best deals, steer clear of common car scams and dealer tricks. We’ll also tell you how to find cheap insurance, buy extended warranties, and the best way to finance your purchase. We also provide a handy easy-to-use online car loan calculator.
And much more ….
Is it possible to get a car loan with no credit?
Yes, it’s possible and, depending on your particular circumstances, you may have several options available to you.
With no credit history, you may still have a credit score, although it isn’t likely to be very high, but enough to get you in the door with a car loan.
Since there are no hard-and-fast rules for how banks, credit unions, and auto finance companies handle no-credit situations, we’ll offer a number of suggestions, but the real secret to getting approved is to try, try, and try again at different dealers and lenders to maximize your chances.
Car Financing Explained
If you can’t pay cash when you buy your new or used car, you will need a loan, commonly known as “financing.”
Auto financing can come from a number of sources — banks, credit unions, online loan companies, finance companies associated with car manufacturers, or even from certain types of used-car dealers.
f you are buying a brand new car from a new-car dealer, he arranges your loan for you (if you haven’t already arranged one for yourself) with his “captive” finance company. A “captive” finance company is one that is owned by a car manufacturer and used by dealers who sell that manufacturer’s vehicles. Examples would be Ford Credit, Honda Financial Services, and Porsche Financial Services.
If you car buying a used car from a dealer, he may have a number of finance sources that he works with to arrange customer car loans. These may include local banks, large national banks, or national finance companies.
Continue reading How Does Car Financing Work?
How to buy a car from a private party, not from a dealer
When you buy a used from a private party individual instead of a dealer, things are a little different in the buying process. It’s a good idea to take extra caution especially with regards to exchanging money and title.
Since an individual seller can’t arrange financing for you if you need a loan, as a dealer can, you’ll be responsible for getting your own financing at a bank or credit union, or at an online finance source.
What’s different when you buy a car from an individual?
Advantages of private car purchase from an individual
• Possibly better purchase price than dealer retail price
• Individual sellers tend to be more flexible on price and negotiating
• Individual sellers tend to be more agreeable to buyer inspections and test drives
• No sales tax (in some states) on private car sales
Continue reading Buying Used Car from an Individual – Explained
How and where to get a used-car loan
There are a number of options available to used-car buyers in need of financing:
Dealer Loan – If you buy your car from a dealer, he will arrange your financing with a bank or loan company that he works with. Dealers don’t provide loans and financing themselves, it’s always done through a bank or finance company — except for “buy-here-pay-here” dealers that we’ll discuss below. See our article, How Does Car Financing Work.
Bank or Credit Union Loan – You can arrange your own auto financing with your own bank, credit union, or an online loan company. If you are buying your car from an individual (“private-party”), this is the way you will get a loan. It’s best to make application to your financing source before you buy so that you’ll know exactly how much money you are able to borrow.
Online Auto Loan – You can also finance your car purchase – from dealer or individual – with a loan from an online auto loan company such as Auto Credit Express.
Continue reading Car Loans and Financing Explained
Tips for Negotiating a Used Car Purchase
Buying and negotiating a car deal is one of those things in life that most people don’t look forward to — because it’s often stressful and, at best, unpleasant.
Car buyers know that they should always negotiate and haggle for the best price but nobody (except car dealers) do it every day and it’s not a skill that we all possess or get to practice very often.
Besides, the rules change from time to time.
First, let’s understand what we’re up against when buying a used car, either from a dealer or from an individual seller.
Continue reading How to Negotiate a Car Deal – Explained
This is a question that frequently comes up for those who are thinking of buying a new car.
Since this web site is about used cars, let’s get one answer out of the way immediately;
Leasing only applies to brand new cars, not used cars. There are some exceptions in that there are independent dealers in some large cities who lease used luxury cars.
But, hold on, that’s not the final answer.
Used car leasing
There is one way to lease a used car that most people are not aware of. It’s called by various names: lease takeover, lease assumption, lease trading, lease swapping, and taking over a lease.
Here’s how it works.
Continue reading Should I lease or buy a car?
What is the best and fastest way to sell a car?
If you are selling a used car you should take the necessary steps that will allow you sell at the highest possible price while avoiding issues with buyers and paperwork.
We take you through the process so that your efforts will be successful and you’ll avoid common problems.
Prepare your car for sale
Used car dealers know that if they clean up their vehicles inside and out, they can sell for higher prices. You can use the same technique when selling your own car.
You may find that you can easily recover the cost of replacing worn tires, for example, and make your car sell faster. You should touch up paint scratches. Repair windshield dings. Pull out small dents. Balance the tires. Get a tune-up and oil change.
Continue reading How to Sell a Used Car – Explained
How to choose the best used car for you and your budget
What car is best?
What car is most reliable?
Which car should I buy?
We see these questions frequently, usually from first-time buyers who have no experience in buying cars. They want to know which cars they should be considering, and which they should be avoiding, and why.
Of course, as might be expected, there is no single answer because different buyers have different needs and tastes, and there are many different cars that might work for them. However, we’ll try to provide some important suggestions that will make the decision much easier and less stressful.
Continue reading What is a good used car?
Can I Buy a New Car If I Still Owe Money On My Old Car?
This is a very common situation in which car buyers often find themselves.
The situation is that you want/need a new car but still have an outstanding loan on the car you intend to trade. And you know (or suspect) that the old car is not worth the amount you still owe.
What to do?
In the case where you find your old car is actually worth more than your current loan balance, there’s no problem. You trade the car, the dealer pays off your old loan, and the remainder of the trade value is applied as a down payment on your new car.
However, the more common situation is that you still owe more than the old car is worth. You’re “upside down.” The difference in the two values is called negative equity. Your options depend on the amount of the negative equity. The higher the negative equity, the fewer your options.
Continue reading How to Trade a Car with Negative Equity – Explained