New Car Purchase

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BMW X5

Take your time researching used cars.

Purchasing a new car can be a scary thing.  For a lot of people it is the second largest purchase they will make outside of their home.  With that in mind it is always a good idea to do your research before you put down your hard earned money.  Below are some tips that will help you navigate the process.

Assuming you already know what make and model of vehicle you want the first step is taking it for a test drive.  During the test drive you should be listening for unusual noises, testing the accessories, and feeling for any vibrations.  Some of these noises can be as simple as a tire out of balance to a bent frame.  Note everything down that you observe so you don’t forget.  Push every single button in the car.  This may make you feel like a 3 year old run amok, but trust me modern cars can have a lot of electrics and you don’t want to inherit someone’s problem.

If your initial test drive feels good, then it’s time to get a pre-purchase inspection done.  This involves taking the car to a reputable auto repair shop and having them inspect the vehicle.  This inspection will include a test drive by an ASE certified technician, visual inspection of all the mechanical systems such as brakes and suspension, and a query of the vehicles computer to look for any computer faults.  For example, at your local independent Audi repair shop they can tell you if there is a history of a failure stored in the computer or if an unscrupulous seller has cleared the computer recently to disguise a check engine light.  While having a professional inspect your car may cost your a little up front it can save you thousands later.  Once your independent auto repair shop has completed their inspection they will educate you on what they found as well as common issues with your particular make and model to be aware of.  This is a good time to get a rough estimate of repairs to take with you when it comes to negotiating the price.

If you are still thinking this is a good candidate to sleep in your garage it is now time to do a VIN check.  Most dealers will provide you with a free CarFax report that will tell you if it has been crashed, flooded, used in a fleet, stolen and any other number of terrible things.  You also have some free options such as www.nicb.org, which is the insurance industry organization, or www.freevincheck.com.  These will give you some basic information on your car.

Armed with all of this information you can go to one of many valuation sites such as NADA or Edmunds and get a range of what the vehicle is worth.  You can use that range plus the cost of any necessary repairs to negotiate with the seller.  It may take some time and patience to find the right vehicle for the right price, but it will pay off in the end.

After you go through this process you should have an idea what you are getting yourself into and what is a fair price based on the condition.  BMW repairs, or any other European auto repair can add up quickly and by doing a little bit of research it will save you years of headaches down the road.

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