Know What to Look for When Buying a Used Car!

Vehicles on a dealership lot

You’ve worked hard to budget and prepare for a vehicle upgrade in Santa Cruz, so when it’s finally time to take the leap, it’s important to know what to look for when buying a used car! Fortunately, you have a friendly and knowledgeable team at Santa Cruz Toyota to support you throughout the car-buying journey. We’ve put together a quick used car checklist to help you make a wise decision in Capitola. Read on to get our top car-buying tips for used vehicles!

Used Car Checklist: Navigating the Dealership 

Before heading out to a dealership in the Watsonville area, check out this used car checklist to ensure you’re prepared for everything that will come up. That way, you won’t have to make any snap decisions that you might regret in the future:

  • Know Your Real Budget: What do we mean by “real budget?” Well, you shouldn’t spend your entire car-buying allowance on the sticker price of a car. You also have to factor in the cost of maintenance and potential repairs, fuel costs, annual registration, and auto insurance. A good rule of thumb is that your monthly car payment shouldn’t exceed 10% of your monthly income. Feel free to use our car payment calculator to help you stick to a good budget!
  • Choose the Right Car for You: The vehicle you choose should fit your budget, provide the “must-have” features and hopefully, a few “want-to-have” features, have a vehicle history report, and mileage that you’re comfortable with.
  • Go for Test Drives: You must test drive any used car you’re considering. You should confirm that it starts well, performs smoothly, and is overall comfortable for you to drive.
  • Used Car Financing and Other Fees: Know that used car loans usually have higher interest rates than new car loans, and factor that into your budget. Also, be prepared to factor in other fees like state sales tax and registration fees. If you have a current vehicle, don’t forget to value your trade so you can use the credit in your budget! 

What to Ask When Buying a Used Car?

It’s also important to know what to ask when buying a used car, especially if you’re buying it through a private sale around Santa Clara. Here are the top questions you should bring up:

  • Is there a history of maintenance?
  • Is the vehicle history report available?
  • Do the amenities and features work like they’re supposed to?
  • What is the ownership history?
  • What is the vehicle’s mileage?
  • Are there any current recalls on the vehicle?
  • How was the vehicle priced?
  • Can I take the car to a mechanic for an inspection?
  • Do you have the title in hand?
  • Is the car as is, or is it under warranty?
  • Does this vehicle affect your insurance premiums?

Find the Right Used Car at Santa Cruz Toyota!

Santa Cruz Toyota is home to a large inventory of used and certified pre-owned cars as well as a dedicated finance center, making it easy to find a used car that checks every box on your list! Stop by or contact us to start planning your visit. 


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