Thank you for reading into part two of How to buy a Used Car. As I covered in our introduction there are two overarching processes when it comes to buying a used car.

  1. Picking the Car

  1. Paying for the Car

This segment we're digging into Picking the Car.

When you start looking for a car you probably have at least a general idea of what you want weather it's a Pickup Truck, SUV/Crossover, Sedan, or even a Sports Car.

Once you pick a few makes and models you like, we tend to ask ourselves.. what next? 

Well here's what's next -

Lets dig into the word Value. What is value? Value in the context of vehicles is where Quality and Fair Pricing meet

Our first pillar in establishing value is Pricing.

Assessing a price can seem overwhelming, so here are a few pricing guides you can use to determine a vehicle's worth.

  1. NADA - is the most relevant and most widely used value guide around. NADA (National Auto Dealers Assoc.) produces 4 values for a vehicle based on year, make, model, and equipment; rough trade, average trade, clean trade, and retail. This guide is used by Banks, Credit Unions, Insurance Companies, and Car Dealerships.

  1. KBB - KBB or Kelly Blue Book, a term you've probably heard a parent or grandparent mention, reaches back the farthest among the value guides and is mostly applicable to private party purchases. It's still relevant but more of a guide or suggestion.

  1. Market Value - Market Value isn't a number you can go to a website and find. It's simply a value one asses from looking at a variety of similar year, make and model of car. It's important to know why market value matters. Take for example a 2006 Jeep Wrangler with 100,000 miles, Manual Transmission, and the 6 Cylinder motor. 

According to NADA the value is $10,500 at the time of this writing. When in reality this vehicle could be worth up to $15,000 in the market! Just be mindful that a car can in some cases be worth more, or less depending on the market value.

The second pillar in our value concept is Condition

To evaluate the condition of a vehicle here are some safeguards we recommend you taking.

  1. Carfax- Represented by the CAR-FOX, is a vehicle history recording company partnered with dealerships and servicing departments to associate vehicle maintenance with each specific VIN. Here's what to look for.

    1. Good Signs

A car having just one owner is a good sign because this typically means an individual willing to pay the Brand New price of a car, will service and maintain the vehicle at any expense, assuring longevity of their investment.

It is also important to identify where the vehicle was owned. Not always, but most of the time a vehicle was owned in a northern state, rust can start to decay the body and exposed metal making the car, over time, unsafe. On the other hand, southern owned vehicles stay in their optimal condition much longer!

Service history. The maintenance of a vehicle is its ticket to a long life. Carfax uses badges like "Regular Oil Changes" and "x service records" to indicate how well a vehicle has been taken care of - the more the better

Accident History - Carfax has two categories to classify a collision. "Accident Damage" a vehicle-on-vehicle accident. And "Damage" which is a non vehicle accident such as a tree branch falling across a hood, or a shopping cart denting and scraping the car.

    1. Bad signs

If a car has been in a bad enough accident, an insurance company will deem the cost to repair as higher than the worth of the vehicle so they will issue the car a "Branded Title". As a general rule of thumb, we'll just say to stay away from these vehicles.

Multiple Accidents regardless of whether the car was totaled or not are a sign best taken to stay away from that car.

See CarFax's guide for reading a CarFax History Report. Remember, all Twin City Certified vehicles come with a full, complimentary report!

  1. Pre Purchase Inspection 

Regardless of a CarFax, it's always a good idea to have a mechanic look over your prospective vehicle to confirm or deny the quality and or reliability of what you're looking at.

This usually costs between $50-$150 depending on the thoroughness of the inspection. But a small fee upfront can, in some cases, save you thousands if there are issues below the surface only a professional can detect.

Once you've done your price research and condition research, it's time to move to the final piece of the equation… Paying for the Car!

Stay tuned for the final part of "Buying a Used Car". I'm Jake with Twin City Certified in Maryville, Tennessee. Thank you for reading.