Vehicle transportation is essential when you work a job, have errands to run, or have children to shuttle around, and having your own personal vehicle makes life much more convenient. When you choose to buy a used vehicle, you can save money on its expenses, such as your vehicle's insurance, taxes, and yearly registration. Here are several recommendations to help you prepare for and buy your next used vehicle.
Calculate Your Budget
One of the first things you need to do to prepare for buying your next vehicle is to make sure you know what you can afford based on your income and personal budget. Otherwise, if you don't do this, you may end up spending more than you should and can afford for a vehicle, especially as it can be easy to get carried away and buy a vehicle based on your emotions and wants.
There are many vehicle affordability calculators you can use online to determine what you can afford. You can also use a basic 20/4/10 rule of thumb to quickly calculate what you should aim for when you buy your vehicle. To follow the 20/4/10 rule, put 20 percent down, get an auto loan for a length of no more than four years, and keep your monthly transportation costs under 10 percent of your income.
When you calculate your monthly transportation costs with this spending rule, be sure you calculate in fuel, vehicle insurance, and vehicle maintenance along with your monthly payment. If you want to buy a vehicle that costs $30,000, for example, you need to have $6,000 to put as a down payment toward its purchase. This 20/4/10 rule is a good way to minimize your vehicle expenses and prevent your paying too much overall for a vehicle.
Get Your Financing Together
After you have established your vehicle-buying budget, you should begin to shop around for a vehicle loan. It is better to walk into a vehicle-buying situation with your loan already set up, and you can arrange this through your bank or other trusted financial institution. Having financing already set up helps you focus on negotiating the price of a vehicle with the seller instead of negotiating the purchase based on how much a vehicle's payment will be.
Talk to your bank or other financial institution about getting preapproved for a vehicle loan and interest rate. Look to get the lowest rate possible at terms of no more than 48 months, as per the 20/4/10 rule. Often a bank will lend you money at a slightly higher rate if you are buying a used car. If this is the case, shop around with used car lenders to find a lower rate that makes you comfortable.
The interest rate you qualify for is also going to be based on your credit score: the lower your score, the higher the interest rate you can get. If your credit score is over 680, your credit is considered prime and you can get a much lower interest rate and save money on your vehicle purchase. If your credit score is lower than 680, you can take a few months to spend time improving your credit score by paying off unsecured debt and bringing current any late payments.
Thoroughly Check the Vehicle
Once you find a vehicle you want to buy, be sure you thoroughly check it out and test drive it before making the final decision. Take the vehicle for a drive through your area on the freeway and on local roads. You can also take the vehicle to your mechanic for it to have an inspection completed. The used vehicle dealership you are shopping at should have no problems with you completing this type of inspection, especially if they are not trying to hide any issues in the vehicle. Some used car dealerships offer a test drive over a period of several days, which is helpful so you can get a real feel of the vehicle and make sure it is right for you.
Get in touch with local dealerships to talk about possible used cars, such as used Kias for sale.