10 Steps to Buying a Used Car or Truck

When you're in need of a new car or truck - at least one that is new to you - many people find that buying a pre-owned car or truck is the most efficient way to go. Here are 10 steps for buying a car or truck from Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep to help making your purchase process go smoothly.

1) The used advantage:

While there is something about a new-car smell, buying a used car or truck can help you save money on the sales price as well as on insurance. Since most cars or trucks come with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, if the vehicle you decide to purchase is less than three years old and has less than 36,000 miles on the odometer, you can still take advantage of the factory warranty. Even if that warranty has expired, the Dealin' Doug Certified Advantage program offered by Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep and all other Moreland Group dealerships provide a one- or three-year warranty depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle. These used cars or trucks are also certified using a comprehensive 125-point inspection to ensure they're running right, and they include an AutoCheck vehicle history report to avoid surprises.

2) Choose the kind of car or truck that's right for you:

There are so many different kinds of cars and trucks available, it's helpful to narrow your search in the beginning based on your needs. Do you do most of your driving in the city or on the highway? If good gas mileage is important to you, know that hybrids get better mileage in stop-and-go traffic than on the highway. Do you really need the 4x4 capability of an SUV, or would a minivan carry the people you need and do it less expensively? Do you need a three-quarter-ton truck to pull your camper safely or would a half-ton do the job?

3) Research the makes and models:

Once you figure out the basic style of car or truck that will meet your needs, online research tools such as Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds and Consumer Reports are good sources to learn about specific makes, models, and years through consumer reviews, independent reviews, and other reports.

4) Decide how much you can afford:

If you don't have the cash to buy the car outright, look at how much you would need for a down payment and monthly payments. Keep in mind the other costs of owning a car: registration, insurance, gasoline, regular service, repairs, etc. About how much do you have to spend? Don't forget to include the cost of insurance, gas, and registration when you're determining your budget.

5) Arrange financing:

Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep has its own auto finance department for car loans so it's easy to fill out a finance application online or in person at the dealership. Completing this process before you start negotiating on the price of a car or truck will let you know exactly how much of a loan you will be able to qualify for, reducing the chance for last-minute financing surprises.

6) Check out your options:

There is generally an extensive inventory of used cars and trucks on the lot at the Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealership. If you want to start your search online, you can look at the inventory on our website and see descriptions, photos, and prices. If you have a specific year, make, and model in mind and we don't have one in stock, you can fill out our car finder request form and we'll do what we can to find it for you.

7) Take a test drive:

When you find one you like, sit in the driver's seat to get an initial feel of what it would be like to drive. Is it a good fit for your body shape? Do you have enough head and leg room? Or if you're on the smaller side, does it feel too big? Are the controls easy to see and reach? Is everything easy to adjust so you're comfortable? Then take it out on the road in a variety of driving conditions. Drive it up to Horsetooth Reservoir, drive it on I-25, and drive it down College Avenue in traffic.

As you're driving, pay special attention to:

  • Acceleration, from a stop and while the vehicle is already in motion. Make sure the gears shift smoothly.         
  • Visibility out all windows.
  • Engine noise.
  • Engine power going up hills.
  • Braking going downhill, as well as stopping.
  • Handling and cornering.
  • Overall ride, including any rattles and squeaks the vehicle makes.
  • Cargo space.
  • Convenience features.

8) Negotiate the price:

When you find the car or truck that's made for you, we want you to feel comfortable during the negotiation process. If you've never bought a car before, you may not realize that you can offer to pay less than the sticker price of the car, but know that the salesperson you are working with will probably make a counteroffer. Be prepared to spend an hour or more negotiating the price to get one that you can both agree on. Keep in mind, it's best to decide ahead of time the most you are able pay and be ready to walk away from the deal if you reach that limit in the negotiations process and your salesperson can't come down any lower. And if you start to feel tired, hungry, or otherwise distracted, make an appointment to come back another day or ask to take a break. Remember, too, if you are interested in the car but realize you are not comfortable working with a particular salesperson, you can contact the sales manager and continue the sales process through him.

9) Understand your warranty options

As mentioned earlier, there may be factory warranty coverage left on the car or truck depending on its age and mileage, and with the Dealin' Doug Certified Advantage program offered by Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep, you receive a one- or three-year warranty. You also have the option to purchase additional warranty coverage. Make sure you understand which warranty or warranties come with the car or truck and your additional purchase options.

10) Review and sign the contract

Now it's time to sign the contract to purchase your car or truck. Make sure you have proof of insurance from your insurance company, as you will need to show that.

As you review the contract, ask about any fees you don't understand. If we will be doing any repair work, make sure you have a copy of what we promised in writing. After you sign and you're ready to go, make sure your temporary registration is in place and make sure you have all keys, including those to locking gas caps or hubcaps. Now it's time to enjoy your new used car or truck!
Categories: Pre-Owned Inventory
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