Over the years, used cars can go through a lot. A detailed service book will tell you if the car has been regularly serviced and the mileage of certain parts, but it may not contain information about accident history.
Legally, the owner of the car has to declare the accident and damage history of the car. However, if the car was resold multiple times, the current owner might not be aware of prior accidents. Because of the way modern cars are constructed, major accidents cause irreversible structural damage, even if a skilled mechanic restored its visual appearance.
CARFAX provides a very quick and easy method of inspecting the vehicle. All you have to do is input the VIN number, located on the dashboard, driver’s door frame, or under the hood.
The report covers accident and damage history, whether the mileage was rolled back, the number of owners, recall, and warranty information, among many others. A total of 19 categories is checked, giving you a complete look at the past of the vehicle in just a few minutes.
Compared to the total price of a car, CARFAX’s report fee is insignificant and becomes drastically cheaper if you opt for a 5-report package or a monthly program. Once you’ve found the most desirable options, run them through CARFAX and make sure there are no financial, safety, or legal red flags.
Value Your Trade (Kelly Blue Book)
Kelly Blue Book is an invaluable source of information for all things relating to cars. In our case, we can use it to estimate the value of your current vehicle and get the best deal for it.
First, you’ll have to input basic information about the car: year, make, model, mileage, but also your ZIP code to get a more accurate estimate for your region. The next step requires you to select the body style, followed by equipment packages and trim levels.
The last steps are to select the color and the condition rating of your vehicle. If you’re not sure how to determine the condition, there’s a quick quiz you can take that will help you through the process.
The calculator will compare your information with the database and give you a value range for trade-in. It will also estimate the average time it will take, as well as the effort it will take to get a successful trade-in. You can also check the private party score, and see whether it’s worth to try selling the car yourself.
If paying for the car outright doesn’t seem like a possibility, getting a financing deal from the dealership or bank can be an easy way to get additional funds towards your next purchase.
Take a look at your credit score, and shop browse for the best deal possible. Usually, you’ll be able to find at least one bank with an appealing offer, but the car dealership you intend to buy from should give you the best offer to incentivize a purchase.
Getting pre-approved means you’ll get a certain amount to work with, but you can still negotiate for the best price possible. The dealership will then contact the bank or lender you’ve gotten approved by, and arrange the right amount for you.
Pre-approval is a great way to force yourself to stay within the budget. Between the loan, downpayment, and trade-in value of your old car, there’s no room to overspend and break the budget. It also makes negotiating the deal much easier, as the dealer will know they’re dealing with a serious customer with the budget to buy the vehicle right there and then.
Getting anxious about your next car purchase is normal, but with these three tools, you can get peace of mind and make a more informed decision.
CARFAX will provide you with important information about the car you’re interested in, while Kelly Blue Book can help you estimate the value of your current vehicle. Getting pre-approved means you’ll have all of the funds at your disposal, and give you the power to negotiate for the best deal possible.