Do's & Don'ts of Buying a Used Car
For those with troubled credit, or less than great credit, there are some extra things to consider when shopping for a used vehicle.
Questions to Ask Your Used Car Dealer
Many "Buy Here, Pay Here" used car lots (also known as "Tote the Note" dealerships) are strictly concerned with selling you a car you can't afford, so that they can turn around and flip your vehicle to another seller. Be on the lookout for dealerships that want to up-sell you on car you don't need, and be sure to ask a few of the following questions along the way:
1. If accepted by your loan department, will you report my good payment behavior?
This is one of the most crucial questions to ask of any car dealership--especially one that markets itself as friendly to people with bad or troubled credit. If your dealership's financial department cannot certify that they indeed report your good payment behavior to the major credit agencies, let them know that that's a deal breaker.
2. What kind of extended warranty do you offer?
Any time you purchase a used car--regardless of where your credit stands--you should always look into the available warranties. Used cars could have had an unlimited amount of owners, and you never know what sort of car care regimen they invested in. Also, as cars age, they simply need better upkeep, and a used car warranty can often save you hundreds if not thousands later down the road (no pun intended).
3. Can I see reviews from other satisfied customers who had troubled credit?
If this information isn't already readily available on your dealer's main website, then ask to see hard-copy reviews from past customers. You'll learn a lot from what other people say about a car dealership--and what they leave out.
4. Are you accredited by the BBB?
Accreditation from the Better Business Bureau simply means that there's an unaffiliated group that monitors how a company responds to, and handles, customer service, as well as a company's legal standing, community history, and other criteria.
5. What sort of inspection do your vehicles undergo? Can I see my car's review?
The better the used car dealership, the more likely that meticulous records have been kept on your car from the moment it was purchased (including any provided auto check reports that were provided at the point of sale), through the moment you sign your used car loan. A good dealership will gladly fork over your car's inspection review and any other important reporting records.
Used Cars: The Smart Financial Choice
At the end of the day, purchasing a used car can often be one of the smartest financial decisons you'll ever make--whether you're a first time car buyer, or a seasoned pro. Come prepared no matter what your credit score or budget, and make sure that this is a purchase that will be working toward your credit restoration.