How Should You Prepare for a Trip to the Used Car Lot?

Posted on: 26 July 2021


If you need a new car and want a great bargain, then the used car lot should be your first stop. But, while used vehicles can save you plenty of money, they still represent a significant investment. Whether you're purchasing used because you need cheap, reliable transportation or your goal is to buy a higher-end vehicle that you couldn't afford new, it'll pay to prepare before stepping onto the lot.

Fortunately, there's no reason to worry about the used car buying experience. These four planning tips will ensure that you'll be prepared to score a fantastic deal on the perfect ride.

1. Know Your Budget

Whether you're financing or paying in cash, you should set a solid budget and stick to it. To create your budget, make sure you're choosing a genuine upper limit for your spending. Allowing too much flexibility makes it easy to go over budget once you step onto the lot. By setting a hard upper limit, it'll be much easier to find a vehicle that meets your needs while also remaining affordable.

2. Consider Pre-Approval

If you're financing your purchase, you can seek out pre-approval from a bank, credit union, or another financial institution before you arrive at the dealership. Pre-approval can help you understand how much you can reasonably spend and gives you a baseline for financing. Even if you plan to apply for financing at the dealership, you can use your pre-approval for comparison or as a fallback option.

3. Research Lot Listings

Always research listings available on the dealer's website or elsewhere online before you visit the lot. Getting to know the cars the dealer has in stock can save time by letting you focus on vehicles that meet your specific requirements. If there's a car that you're especially interested in, consider calling ahead to confirm that it's still available. The dealer may also be able to tell you about other similar vehicles.

4. Make an Appointment

Many dealerships are still adhering to COVID-19 protocols and may require appointments for test drives. Even if the dealership you're visiting doesn't have these requirements, an appointment can ensure that the car you want is available and ready to go when you arrive. If you're worried about spending too much time on the lot, an appointment is a great way to get right down to business when you arrive.

As with any large purchase, you'll have the best results when buying a used car by taking the time to plan and research in advance. Once you've taken these steps, it's time to hit the dealership and let the sales staff help you get into the perfect vehicle for your needs and budget.

Talk to a used car dealership, such as Car Craft Auto Sales, Inc., to get started.