There are certain things in life that requires us to do a lot of research before making a decision. Whether it's searching for schools, restaurants, or housing, we all try our best to research the positives as well as the negatives. But at the end of the day, no matter what pros or cons we may find, all that matters is our own opinion. For every ten people that may hate Marquette, fish, or living with roommates, there’s one person that loves it. The same thing can be said about searching for vehicles. I am currently in the hunt for searching for a used vehicle and have encountered many pros and cons throughout the process. Here are some of my biggest struggles that I've faced along the way.
1. The Internet
Of course today we search for everything through the Internet, which indeed does make things easier. However with vehicles, while a car may look brand new it’s the inner parts that may be completely trashed and not work. For example any dealership will say that their cars are working and ready to go just based on look, but they won’t tell you what is how things like the engine or the tires are. Dealer’s post cars they have for sale on sites like Autotrader but won’t post any pictures of the vehicle that right there should be an indication of how the car is but that’s what is hard about used cars, you don’t know what they have been through in the years prior. No fox can tell you how a car runs.
2. Wants and needs
One of the biggest cons of searching for cars is that you can find many cars for good prices, but you end up forgetting to think long-term. My family is a truck family, my father and stepfather have always had trucks because they both worked hard in their careers and saved their money. So when I see a truck online that has decent mileage and a good price, immediately my mind thinks "that’s the one." What people don’t think though is what the long-term payments may be. Vehicles like trucks for example require lots of money to maintain, especially if they're gas guzzlers. The bottom line is that especially if you're a college student, you have to realize that the need is more important than the wants. Sure you can own a truck, but what’s the point if you can't even afford to drive it?
Something everyone will have to encounter at some point of their life will be learning how to negotiate; dealers are always going to try to have people pay more than what a vehicle may be worth (to which they should because that’s how they make a living). The key is to go in with confidence. Make sure you have the ability to simply say no and walk away. Many dealerships would rather have you pay way less than what they bargained for rather than end up with no sale and therefore nothing. Plus, don’t be honest, sure you may come across as arrogant or conceited, but keep in mind that they are trying to sell you a vehicle that they believe is the best (when it in fact may not be).
4. The right fit
The mistake that many people make is that they find a great car and buy it right away. The thing about dealerships is that there's always another one right around the corner. That's why you cannot be afraid to tell a dealer that you are interested in a vehicle, but you need to do some more research. They will understand because they know then that you’re going to come back to perhaps do business further. You may sit in a car that you love that has a great deal, mileage, and warranty, but that same car could be across the street for a better price. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons.
What isn’t fun about cars is how unpredictable they are new or used. The bottom line is that there will be times when you have to take your vehicle in to get checked on—that’s owning a car 101. The best suggestion I have for anyone buying a vehicle is take it to a mechanic you can trust to get it checked, and then take the vehicle to someone else also to get a second opinion. It's not you saying you don’t trust the first person, it's just you making sure that if there is a problem with your vehicle, you get fair offers from two different people in an attempt to avoid being taken advantage of.
The search for a used car can be daunting, but if you take time to do the process the right way, the results are well worth it. Happy hunting!