Buying a used car makes economic sense, since cars depreciate significantly. Good used cars can have plenty of life left in them at a fraction of the cost of a new car. However, it’s important you choose wisely. Follow these tips to help you navigate buying a used car in Rhode Island.
You might love a particular car, but can you truly afford it? Sit down and crunch the numbers to determine what you can afford and consider getting preapproved for financing. Ensure you include additional costs such as insurance, registration, and fees in your calculations. A good rule of thumb is your car loan shouldn’t exceed 20 percent of your income.
Make a list of your must-haves and your nice-to-haves. It helps you eliminate vehicles that don’t fit the bill. For example, if you travel a lot, gas mileage will likely be a top factor for you. If you have a large family, you will need something with enough seats and room.
Read online reviews and check safety ratings as well as ownership costs. Some cars may be inexpensive to buy, but they’ll nickel and dime you constantly.
Consumer Reports’ Cost of Car Ownership website and the Kelley Blue Book’s Five-Year Cost to Own reports can help you. Choose a car with low auto insurance rates and maintenance costs that holds it value.
Prices can vary greatly between sellers, so check the price of the models you’re interested in a pricing guide such as Kelley Blue Book. It estimates the value of the vehicle based on your location and the year, make, model, and options of the vehicle plus mileage and condition. They also offer dealer and private party pricing depending on who’s selling the car.
If you’re seriously interested in a vehicle, ask for the vehicle identification number (VIN). Run a history report on the car through Carfax or AutoCheck to see if it has been involved in a serious crash, whether it has a clear title, and to access other useful information. Many online listings provide a link to these reports for your convenience, but it’s worth it to buy one if they don’t.
When test driving a car, it is a good idea to drive in silence and listen for unusual sounds. Check if the vehicle has blind spots and how it handles and accelerates. Are the brakes responsive and smooth when you apply pressure? Can you reach all the controls with ease? Test the sound system, Bluetooth, heater, air conditioner, wipers, and power options.
Generally, 100,000 miles can loosely be a threshold for when you should start carefully evaluating a vehicle purchase. However, having over 100,000 miles on the odometer doesn’t always mean the car will be in bad condition, it is just typically when cars need more frequent maintenance. Determining how many miles on a car is too much hinges on the vehicle’s overall condition, as well as other factors like the make and model, and the environment it was driven in. You should consider hiring a professional mechanic to inspect the used car before you purchase.
If you are purchasing the car from a private party in Rhode Island, you will likely need to bring the following paperwork to register your car. Be sure to consult with the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles as well to see if there is additional paperwork that you will need to bring.
Check with the Division of Motor Vehicles if the vehicle is purchased through a dealer or gifted to see what forms are required.
If you’re buying a car privately and it still has a loan on it, you’ll need to contact the lender. You may need to go to their office to sign the papers. You’ll also need to talk to your insurance agent so they can add the car to your insurance policy. Pay for the car, get the title, and register the vehicle in your name.
If you need insurance for your car in Rhode Island, our local insurance agency would be happy to help. We have relationships with over 100 insurance carriers– which means more options for our clients. Request a quote for your car by filling out our form here, or give our office a call.
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