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7 Helpful Tips for Buying a Used Car in South Florida (Revised)

Tropical Financial Credit Union
By Tropical Financial Credit Union - June 15, 2024

In the market for a new car? Buying a previously owned vehicle can be a great way to save on one of your most expensive purchases, but only if you do it right.  Don’t get caught up in the excitement of your car purchase and end up with someone else’s headache. The cost of pre-owned vehicles have gone up over the years as new car shortages continue. We have put together this checklist as a guide to help you make the right decision. 

Used Car Checklist TFCU

If you’re looking for a trusted way to buy a reliable used car in South Florida, these 7  helpful tips will get you in the driver's seat: 

Tip 1: Get Preapproved & Set a Budget

We will never be able to express the importance of getting preapproved for any loan, especially one for a used car. Walking into a dealership with a preapproval will help you not only stick to your budget, but it also lets the dealer know you’re serious about buying a car. Remember, do not spend more than you budgeted for. 

Thinking of paying for the used car in cash?  Just because that sounds like a good idea doesn’t mean it is always the best strategy.  Spending the bulk of your savings on the vehicle itself can eliminate the financial flexibility to pay for car insurance, any deductibles (should you have an untimely accident) or for any possible future vehicle repairs. This is where we would recommend considering low interest rates financing as an option to keep cash in your pocket, while still having that financial flexibility. 

Tip 2:  Use Auto Advisors  

Auto Advisors is our trusted in-house new and used car buying program.  As a member of Tropical Financial, this free service is here to help you avoid the stress of purchasing a used vehicle on your own.  They do all the legwork, work on getting you the best pricing, coordinate with the dealer for a smooth delivery and are there for you from start to after the sale.  Auto Advisors are a helpful way to purchase your next vehicle. In addition, those who use this service are eligible for lower interest rates on their auto financing. 

Tip 3:  Begin the Research Process Yourself

It's recommended to use national on-line sites such as Edmunds.com, NADA.com and/or AutoTrader.com for reliable used vehicle values.  Be careful to look out for vehicles with accidents, that have flood-damage or have higher mileage, as they can lower the value of your vehicle after purchase.

Most franchised new car dealers have a wide selection of used vehicles on site.  Many of those vehicles are Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) and come with an extended factory warranty, which is great option for consumers choosing to purchase a used vehicle. 

Tip 4:  Research the Dealer

There are many reputable dealers in South Florida; however, be sure to check their yelp reviews (yelp.com), Google reviews (Google search) and take the time to review their customer service history with the Better Business Bureau (BBB.com).  The few minutes you spend on this research may save you from a potential headache and a inflated price.

Step 5:  Always Get a Vehicle History Report

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, and before you purchase any used vehicle, be sure to ask the seller to provide a CARFAX or AutoCheck report.  This will show any collisions, especially with air bag deployment, for which you should be aware. It's recommended not to purchase any used vehicle without reviewing one of these reports. 

Step 6:  Inspect & Test Drive the Vehicle

Before making your final decision, take your top used car choices out for a test drive.  If you’re not sure what to look for either take our Used Car Checklist with you or connect with an Auto Advisor as they will know what you should be looking for.

Step 7:  Making it Official

 After you have decided on a used car and made sure it suits your needs, it’s time to make it official! Contact Tropical Financial Credit Union to tie up loose ends and finalize your lending documents.  If you ended up buying your car from a private-party seller, please make sure you have the vehicle inspected by a reputable auto service center, and that the title and registration are officially transferred to you.

Now that you have some helpful tips when buying a used car in South Florida, it’s time to get your new ride!

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