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Don't Kick The Tires: A Modern Buyer's Guide To Used Cars

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Watch any classic movie, and you're likely to see a used car buyer carefully inspecting a car on the lot, maybe even kicking the tires as they go. While there's no clear explanation for where this phenomenon started, there's also no question that it doesn't serve any useful purpose with modern vehicles. If you're still thinking about giving those tires a good whack, it might be time to update your buying habits.

Fortunately, getting a good deal on a used car is easier than ever, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't require a little care, research, and effort. These three tips will help you bring your car purchase into the 21st century and ensure you get a great vehicle for a great price.

1. Don't Skimp on Planning

Planning is more essential than ever in a competitive used car market. Dealership inventories can change quickly, especially if you're looking at highly desirable models or hunting for the best deals. While there's nothing wrong with showing up on the lot to browse, you shouldn't expect this approach to yield the best possible results.

Instead, check dealership websites for inventory updates and always call ahead. Online inventories are generally accurate, but they can't always tell you if someone else is already in the process of purchasing a vehicle. A quick call will help ensure that the car you want is available and that another buyer hasn't already put a deposit down.

2. Haggle Knowledgeably

Is haggling dead? Not necessarily, but buyers and sellers have far more knowledge available than in years past. Salespeople know the value of their inventory, so stepping onto the lot and demanding a discount of several thousand dollars below market value is unlikely to go well. This approach to haggling is likely only to produce frustration and sore feelings.

Instead, spend some time researching your local market and the specific vehicles you're interested in purchasing. Don't just look at book price: also consider the asking price of other dealerships and private sellers. You can use this information to determine if a dealership is offering a good deal and whether it's worthwhile to make a lower offer.

3. Check Vehicle Histories

There was a time when buying a used car came with numerous risks. Was the car in a severe accident? Does it have substantial frame damage? Luckily, those days are long past. A vehicle history report will provide this information, allowing you to purchase your new car confidently. Many dealerships will even provide these reports for free, so don't be afraid to ask before scheduling your visit.

To learn more about purchasing used cars, reach out to a dealership near you.