If you’ve ever bought a used car before, then you’ve probably realized it’s a little bit different than buying new. The drawback? It’s going to require more preparation. The benefit? It’s also going to save you way more money in the end.

At Nye Volkswagen, we don’t want our Utica, Rome, and Manlius customers to jump into this process blindly. So, to give you a leg up, we’ve put together this helpful step-by-step guide.

Step #1: Set a Budget

This is a rule of thumb you should stick to no matter what kind of car you’re buying. First things first, sit down and set up a budget. How much can you afford to pay every month? How long do you want to be paying for?

Once you have an acceptable range, you can begin looking for you next vehicle.

Step #2: Value Your Trade-In

Unless your current car is in such poor condition that it needs to be scrapped completely, it’s always a good idea to trade it in. With the money you receive from this trade, you may be able to cover a down payment outright.

There are several websites online where you can value your trade, such as Kelley Blue Book (KBB). For your convenience, we offer a value calculator right on the Nye Volkswagen website.

Step #3: Find a Seller

The next big question you should be asking yourself is, where am I buying from? You’ll have two options, essentially: a dealership or a private seller. Both have their pros and cons.

For instance, buying used at a dealership is wise because the car’s history will be more readily available and you’ll know it’s been taken care of. Plus, you may even qualify for an extended warranty. The drawback, though, is that you’re likely going to pay more for all these perks.

When you buy from a private seller, on the other hand, you’ll have plenty of wiggle room to negotiate. Ultimately, it could save you a lot of money, but you can never be certain of the car’s quality.

Step #4: Examine the Car Thoroughly

Once you’ve found a suitable car, you need to make sure that it’s the right choice. This actually entails three steps.

  • Request the car’s vehicle history. When purchasing from a dealership, they’ll likely offer you this information. Otherwise, you’ll have to get it from a website such as CARFAX®.
  • Schedule a test drive. Make sure the car has enough space, that there are no weird sounds or smells, and that it drives as comfortably as you prefer.
  • Consider a pre-purchase inspection. The seller has probably had the car inspected already, but there’s no harm in having an objective third party take a look at it. Once you have their seal of approval, you can rest assured everything looks good.

Step #5: Negotiate

Now that you’re settled, it’s time to negotiate a bit. Come prepared with the right information to back you up. Maybe another seller is offering the same car for a cheaper price. Maybe KBB disagrees with their value rating. No matter what you’ve got, there’s nothing to lose in trying.

Step #6: Come Prepared with the Correct Paperwork

On the day of sale, there’s plenty of paperwork you’re going to need to bring. Having this prepared beforehand will save you a lot of time.

  • Dealership specific forms. Ask your sales representative to fax you the sales form a day or two in advance.
  • A form of ID. Ideally, you’ll need your driver’s license and social security number.
  • Insurance. That includes your current insurance card and the new one (to be faxed over by your provider).
  • The title of your trade-in. If you’ve misplaced your title, request a new one online.
  • Your finance application. Speak with the finance team beforehand and this should be ready by the time you arrive.

Time to Drive

Buying a used car may require a couple extra steps, but the process isn’t hard at all. By following this used car buying guide, all Utica, Rome, and Manlius drivers can get behind the wheel of a new car in no time at all.

We have a great selection of pre-owned vehicles at Nye Volkswagen. Start shopping by viewing our inventory online today!