Buying a Used Car: How to Choose?

There are plenty of reasons to choose a used car over a new one. You need a car, but you don’t necessarily want to dedicate a large portion of your budget to exorbitant payments? A used vehicle is the solution.

Also, for a first car, the second-hand option is ideal. Not only will it better fit the budget of first-time drivers, but also… in the event of an accident or a fender bender, it’s less heartbreaking.

Finally, when you need to travel with the whole family, a used car allows you to travel with confidence and at a reasonable price.

Buying a used car can seem complicated for someone who is less familiar with it. Here are a few tips to help you choose your used car confidently.

Set Your Budget

The purchase of a car is a major expense — almost as important as buying a house! That’s why, just as with home shopping, it’s important to set a budget and to stick to it, no matter what.

If you decide to take out a loan to finance the purchase of your used car, do the exercise: revise your budget by planning a “car” amount. Your car should become your ally, not a source of financial stress!

Remember: the loan payment will not be your only car-related expense. All cars, new or used, require maintenance:

  • Replacement of parts that wear out over time (winter and summer tires, brakes, shocks, etc.)
  • General maintenance (oil change, tire change, etc.)
  • Aesthetic maintenance (anti-rust treatment, paint touch-ups, etc.)

Sounds like a lot to plan for? Free your mind by purchasing the Track Extended Warranty from your car dealer. A mechanical breakdown? We’ll take care of it!

Identify Your Needs

Once your budget is set, it eliminates some vehicles available on the market right away. Likewise, identifying your needs allows you to reduce the possibilities, while rationalizing your purchase.

By setting clear guidelines, you ensure that you are not acting on impulse. It’s fairly more work, but trust us, your future self will thank you for it!

A family with young children will definitely not have the same needs as a CEGEP student. We will therefore study these needs together.

The best way to sort out our automotive needs? Good old paper and pen! By making a list, everything will quickly become much more concrete in your eyes.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your car needs:

    • Do you tend to travel alone or do you often take on passengers?
    • Will you be using your car for your daily commute only?
    • Do you plan to travel or to use it to transport materials?
    • Do you have children? Do they need adjustable seats?
    • What does your home parking space look like?

By answering these questions, the choice will be obvious. You will then be able to determine whether you need a compact car or a van, a sedan or a hatchback, a 3 or 5-door… you get the idea!

Be Willing to Compromise

Buying a used car comes with many advantages, the most important of which is, of course, the lower cost. However, this option requires flexibility on certain other aspects of the vehicle, compared to a new car.

When the time comes to discard certain options, think about what is essential for you. For example, a sunroof is probably a luxury that can be put aside. But air conditioning when you face traffic jams every summer day? You don’t want to go without it!

By choosing a used car, you may not have as many choices in terms of body colours. We all have our preferences, but don’t let them stop you. Some less popular shades will give you a better price on your vehicle. Ever dreamed of having a small yellow car? It’s time to embrace your originality!

Choose Who to Buy From

You have set your budget, identified your needs and decided to remain open to compromise. Now, who are you going to buy your car from? From an individual or a used car dealer?

In the end, the choice is yours. However, you should know that by doing business with a dealer, you benefit from the protection offered by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). This law does not protect you when you buy from an individual.

Moreover, by buying your next used car from a dealer who offers the Track Warranty, you make sure you are protected, wherever you go!