Buy A Cheap Used Car
If you want to buy a cheap used car you need to face the facts that in this price range you will find a car that is 10-15 years old so you need to be very attentive when inspecting the car and search for rust areas. It is best to choose the newest car you can find so that you can avoid such problems that sooner or later will definitely occur.
It is highly advisable to pick mechanical integrity over looks. As a matter of fact, many of these vehicles in this price segment may have bad paint or dents. The less popular models should be a better buy for you as the good ones will most likely be more affordable. To give you an example, the Chevrolet Cavalier is a wiser buying option in comparison to the Honda Civic since the first one has a lower resale value. For that money, you can find a pretty good Cavalier while a $1000 Civic is most likely in a terrible shape.
Due to the reason that you will not be purchasing a show car, you need to think about where to find a cheap one. Your first choice would have to be around the neighborhood as there are many people that want to get rid of extra cars. For this reason, it is advisable to search for older model vehicles that have a “for sale” sign in driveways and yards. Another great source would be at repair shops. There are many situations in which car owners don’t want or cannot afford to repair the car and they decide to sell it to one of those repair shops to make some money. Most likely, that shop will eventually sell the car with a price that covers the repairs.
Another method would be to ask your family, friends, people from work, you never know where you will find one. The media can be another source for finding a cheap car, although inexpensive vehicles are less likely to be promoted through media. If you have enough patience, you might find one on the Internet, “trader” publications, newspapers and craiglist.
Those of you that have a little bit sense of adventure, auto auctions are another source for finding a cheap car. However, you need to be aware of a couple of things: first, you will not have the possibility to test drive the car; second, you will not be able to have a mechanic inspect it; third, the buying process can be quite annoying and stressful; last, don’t expect to get a very reliable car, most of them are in a very poor condition.
Don’t bother looking at new and used car dealers if you cannot afford more than $1000. Once you have a small selection of potential cars to purchase, keep in mind that for that amount of money there aren’t any guarantees. It is advisable to take along a person that knows something about cars in the case that you don’t find cars your cup of tea. Don’t forget to check all the necessary accessories of the car like lights, heater, windows, and wipers and so on. You shouldn’t be surprised if the cars have AC or electrical problems or a broken switch; after all, we are talking about cars that are over 10 years old.
In addition to checking out the aforementioned accessories, you need to verify all the car’s fluids, the oil should be yellow or brown. If it is black, you will need to change it. The transmission fluid must be red or orange. If it is black, it means that the transmission may be burnt up. To test this out, get a newspaper or a dropcloth and put it under the power unit and let it run for a while. After that, turn the engine off and see if fluid leaks show up on the ground. Don’t forget to check the tires, if the tread is worn, prepare to buy a new set.
The most important thing to do is to test drive the car. The vehicle should start easy and run relatively smooth. A little roughness is normal for a car that age but it shouldn’t choke up. The brakes of the car should be even and firm, without any loud noises. The steering should work very smooth and the car should feel like it is not falling apart.
If you want to buy a cheap used car, you need to hire a mechanic to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle. He will make up a list with the things you will have to change if you decide to buy it. This list could be used during the negotiations. Expect that the car will have flaws, taking into consideration that it can be even 15 years old. This inspection will most likely set you back about $75 but it will be worth it, otherwise you will buy a $1000 car that is basically worthless. You need to walk away immediately if the seller of the car won’t allow you to inspect the vehicle; it means that he is afraid that your mechanic will find serious problems with it. In addition, if the automobile needs to be smogged, prepare to spend another $100 or so, depending on the repairs necessary.
As far as the legal issues are concerned, you need to be certain that the vehicle has a current registration and that the current owner has the “pink slip.” If you have any sort of doubts regarding the title or the registration, you need to check with your local DMV before finalizing the transition.
This type of “go-to-work” vehicle is prone to many problems so you need to be very attentive when picking a certain model. The seller and you may not be aware of the potential risks that may or may not occur in such an old vehicle. While most of you won’t buy such a car, some of you have no other alternatives to this necessity.
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