So you have decided that you can’t afford a brand new car but you feel you’re at that stage in your life where you cannot function without a car and therefore need to have a vehicle of your own.

Quite understandable. If you’re looking to purchase a used cars in Fontana, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

MAKE AND MODEL

If you simply want to scout the landscape, it’s totally fine if you walk into a dealership with no clue and try to learn a bit about the vehicles cataloged there. But if your intent is to actually buy, then you are advised to do your research beforehand.

The primary thing you need to figure out is what model of the car you wish to purchase. If you don’t know that, then you should stay home until you do figure it out.

Online forums can help you out immensely in this regard. If you have particular make and model in mind, try to get acquainted with users who have previously owned that model and ask questions regarding it. As about the performance, the issues they encountered and the overall experience of the vehicle in question.

Then proceed to look at photos of different models; both brand new and secondhand to get a fair idea about what you’ll find once you do get to the dealership.

PRICING

Since you’re opting for a used car, we are aware that money is tight. When doing your online research, also try to get a fair estimate of the price in your locale.

Do not simply rely on the deal to be fair. Now, are we suggesting that the seller might try to dupe you into buying a worthless pile of junk? Yes, we are.

Ask around; from friends, family, coworkers and colleagues. Basically anyone who might have the faintest idea about vehicles. Get yourself acquainted with the market sphere. This will allow you to get acquainted with the prices.

Remember the golden rule; the price of the car will keep on going downhill the longer you wait so the bargaining chips are in your favor.

Once you have a figure in mind for the particular car you wish to purchase, don’t exceed it but negotiate instead to lower it as far as possible. There is no need to feel guilty; they are not losing any money in the deal as they might have you believe.

When considering the purchase cost of a particular car, also try to gauge the amount you will spend on its maintenance on a regular basis. The older the car, the more expensive it will be to keep in working condition.

EXAMINATION

This is crucial if you want to make sure you get your buck’s worth. Start with the exterior and look for signs of structural damage.

A sturdy frame is much more important than a flashy exterior. Look for places disguising the marks of wear and tear.

Ask the dealer essential details about the car; How much mileage has it seen? Has it been repainted? And most important, has it been involved in any accidents, no matter how minor.

A car that has been in an accident will visibly exhibit structural signs of damage; particularly a vehicle that has been involved in a frontal car crash. You can easily see this by opening the bonnet and running the engine. There will definitely be telltale signs of the incident such as strange noises.

The reason being, that such accidents usually cause lasting damage to crucial parts of the car. So, no matter how good the repair job is, it will come to haunt you sometime in the future. This is a good way to gauge the trustworthiness of the dealer; you will know immediately if they are trying to hide something.

It is best to avoid such cars if you wish to avoid a whole lot of headaches down the road.

PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION

Once you have looked it over yourself and are unable to find any deal breakers, so to speak; the next step is to have a professional look it over.

A mechanic knows what to look for and where to look for it. If the seller is unwilling to let a mechanic have a look then the deal is off. Simply move on.

Have the mechanic perform a leak test, inspect the electronics, the engine and all essential items to determine the reliability of the vehicle.

TEST DRIVE

Ask the dealer if they will let you have a test run with the car before you seal the deal. Quite often, the flaws in a car will not become apparent until we actually get to drive it.

A whole of things become apparent once we try to maneuver the car through the heavy traffic for the first time or try to achieve high speeds on the highway. How it performs in both scenarios, the handling, the sharp turns, the brakes, the acceleration will give you a fair indication of how well suited it is to you.

It is during this time you should look for any anomalies; weird noises, misalignment of any kind or malfunctioning electronics.

SEALING THE DEAL

Before you finalize the purchase, there are a couple of things you must do. The first is to read the history report of the vehicle. CARFAX will be able to provide you the most comprehensive report.

The second is to verify all the documents associated with the vehicle in question. Make sure the documents are in order before money trades hands. If there are any gaps or unresolved issues, hold out on the deal until the issues are resolved.

Never hesitate to back out, even in the final moments, if you suddenly find out that something is amiss. Buying a car is a serious matter and last minute revelations should put you on your toes.

Don’t be afraid of losing out on a killer deal. There is always a better deal out there.