Cars 101 | How to Buy a Used Car in the US
America is a vast country with millions of miles to be explored, but it's only possible to see the great American expanse with a car. Getting a car loan as an international student can be difficult, especially if you don't know how to apply for a loan without an SSN or how to build credit.
You can get a car loan, though, thanks to Boro the first car loan provider for international students that offers great rates and flexible terms. But applying for a loan is just half the battle. First, you have to find the right car that fits your needs.
Finding a Used Car
Sites like Cars.com, CarGurus.com, and CarStory.com can help you search vast dealership inventories of used cars across the country or right in your local area. Websites like these can save you from having to visit each dealership individually. You can often search by year, make and model, and narrow down your choices to just the vehicles you are interested in.
Look for a car that fits your needs. Do you live in a dense urban city where parking is scarce? Then it's probably best to find a compact car such as a Fiat 500 or Ford Fiesta. Is the weather snowy? You may be interested in all-wheel drive such as the Subaru Impreza. Do you enjoy surfing or mountain biking? Then a wagon or a crossover would probably be best for you and all your gear, such as the Mazda CX-5.
Maintaining a Used Car
Once you’ve found a car you are interested in, you should consider the cost of maintaining it. Fuel, licensing, tax and insurance can get costly depending on the type of vehicle. If you don't want to spend a lot for gas, then finding a fuel-efficient vehicle is critical. If you don't want expensive repairs, then a luxury car probably isn't the best fit for you.
Finding a vehicle that best meets all your criteria is the key to finding your perfect car. For example, say you want something fuel-efficient with cargo space for your surfboard and all-wheel drive. A Subaru could be a solid option - while may not be the best in each category individually, it meets your overall needs.
At the Dealership
Once you found the vehicle you want, visit the dealership. Don't sign anything until you've inspected the car, which means taking it for a thorough test drive. A reputable dealership will also let you have the car inspected by an independent mechanic, which is a service many shops offer for a small, affordable fee. Don't skip this!
Once you're satisfied with the test drive and independent inspection, it is time to negotiate. Remember, dealership prices are often not set in stone, so you can offer a lower price than what's on the sticker. They can say yes, counter with a slightly higher though still below-sticker offer, or just say no.
One way to help you get the best deal is referencing similar vehicles to the one you are buying at other local dealerships that are cheaper or offer more features for the same price. The last thing a dealership wants is to lose your sale to a competitor.
Once everything has been agreed upon, you'll need to sign a purchase order/agreement. This will lay out the terms of the agreement between you and the dealership in regards to final pricing and payments.
The used car-buying process can be tedious, but following the tips above should make it easier. Find the car that fits your needs, the budget for gas and insurance, and negotiate the best possible price. Once you do all that, the rest of the process is made easy with Boro.