Archive for January, 2018

Used Car Buying Checklist for 2018

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Getting a new car is fun, and made easy when going to a reliable dealership near Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Newport Beach.

At Norm Reeves Volkswagen Superstore Irvine, our goal is to help make the car buying process as streamlined as possible. That’s why we created this used car buying checklist for 2018. Read through these steps below, and contact us if you have any questions.

1. Set a Budget.

Before you can even begin searching for your next car, you need to determine how much you can spend each month.

To do this, you’ll want to create a spreadsheet that lists all your monthly income and expenses. The income would be from paychecks, bank account interest, etc. Expenses are whatever you pay for, like groceries, bills, clothes, and so forth. Write down your income in one column and expenses in another; whatever money you have leftover would be a surplus. This surplus is what you can put toward a car payment every month.

But there are a couple extra payments that you could use initially to put toward the purchase of a new car. That includes the money you’d get from trading in your current vehicle, if this is applicable. You can also apply a nice initial down payment. The more money you put down in the beginning, the less you’d need to pay each month.

2. Determine the Type of Car You Want.

After you’ve set your budget, you’ll need to figure out what type of car you want. There are many factors that go into this decision, including size and features.

If you have a big family, or hope to someday, then you might want to consider getting a minivan or SUV. If you own your own business and need to frequently travel with your work equipment, then a truck might be good for you. Or, if you often travel solo on long commutes, then a sedan with lots of technologies could be a great fit.

If you’re deciding among a few models, then you might want to read through different car reviews and comparisons. These will give you detailed information on a vehicle’s performance, design, safety, and more.

3. Look at the Vehicle History Report.

After deciding on a model or two that you want to pursue further, you’ll then want to look at the vehicle history reports. These will let you know all about the car’s past, such as number of previous owners, maintenance, and whether the vehicle was in an accident.

One reliable source to get such a report is CARFAX®. If you have the vehicle identification number (VIN), then you can easily look up the car’s history. After reading through the report, you’ll be able to make a concrete decision on whether the car is worth buying.

4. Take a Test Drive.

The next step is test driving your vehicles of interest. This is when you’ll get an up-close look at a car and get a feel for how it drives. That’s why it’s important to complete this step. Reading about a car is important, but it can’t compare to actually driving it.

Before you get in the car, you’ll want to give it a onceover for any exterior scratches or dents. You’ll also want to look under the car for any possible leaks. Once inside, take a good look at the upholstery for any tears or stains. Sniff around for any strange odors, like smoke or mildew.

When you sit behind the wheel, make sure that the seat adjustments work properly, and that you can get comfortable. Check that every switch and button are easy to reach and work correctly.

As you’re driving, you’ll want to keep the radio and A/C off. This is so you can easily listen for any strange noises, like a ratting engine or squeaking brakes. You’ll also want to drive at different speed limits (when allowed) and test the brakes at those varying speeds. You should test the steering, as well, especially around curvier roads.

You’ll want to focus on driving, but keep questions in the back of your mind to ask later. When you get back to the dealership, reach out to the friendly and knowledgeable sales people with your inquiries, as they’re there to help.

5. Visit an Expert Finance Center.

After you’ve gone on the test drives, and have picked your next vehicle, it’s then time to buy. To do this, you’ll want to visit our finance center to speak with one of our experts. They’ll go over the budget you created in the first step. They’ll also inform you of your previous car’s value, if you’re trading in one. The staff member will then draw up a payment plan based on your budget, and will reach out to local banks and lenders to get you the loan terms that you deserve.

After all is said and done, the only thing left to do is sign the paperwork, and then the car is yours!

Let Us Help You Buy a Used Car

If you need more information, or are ready to begin searching for a pre-owned vehicle, then contact us at Norm Reeves Volkswagen Superstore Irvine. We’ve served many drivers throughout Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Newport Beach, and we look forward to serving you.