You’ve done your due diligence, set a realistic budget and expectations, researched potential “candidates” and the market, and found the best place to buy a used car in all of Waco and surrounding areas. Congratulations – most of the work is done! Most – but not all.

What’s left is to actually go and buy the ride that caught your eye. However, as we’ve mentioned in Part 1 of this guide when you are deciding what to buy, you should not do so hastily. The same rule of thumb applies here.

best place to buy a used car

How to buy a used car from a dealer?

The final stages of car buying can be super-exciting. However, it will do you good to contain that excitement, at least until you close the deal and the keys are in your pocket, along with the bill of sale. Above all, each of the following steps requires a clear mind and cold logic.

You want to adopt a mindful, methodical approach so as to ensure the vehicle you purchase will truly be a trusty companion for years to come. Here are some more tips for buying a used car from a dealer to help you in that endeavor.

Step #6: Perform a thorough inspection

Regardless of whether you’ve found the best place to buy a used car in McLennan County or the entirety of the US, you should always inspect every inch of the vehicle before making a purchase and do your best to spot any potential red flags. This should be a comprehensive and thorough process, so we’ll break it down step by step.

6.1 Vehicle history & maintenance records

First and foremost, you want to ensure that the vehicle has been meticulously maintained and that it hasn’t been in any roadside accidents. This entails obtaining two things:

  • Vehicle history report: Enter the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at the Texas DMV website to get detailed information about its history, title status, and more;
  • Maintenance records: These show if the vehicle underwent regular maintenance and servicing.

6.2 Exterior inspection

The main thing you’re looking for here are the signs of extensive corrosion. While minor rust patches can be patched, major ones can be a potential issue. Additionally, you want to check the state of the tires, as well as if all doors and trunk open and close smoothly. 

6.3 Interior inspection

The primary consideration here is to make sure the car isn’t suffering from mold and mildew. Typically, you can tell this right away, just from the smell. If there are no signs of mold, you can move on to inspecting the upholstery and testing interior features (e.g. AC, radio, etc.)

6.4 Electrical systems testing

While you’re inside the car, be sure to test all the lights (head, tail, brake, and fog, as well as turn signals). Next, check if power windows, locks, and mirrors all work as they should. Finish off by testing the horn and wipers.

6.5 Under the hood inspection

This is the most critical part of the inspection process, so it is important to be extra mindful. Here, too, you want to make sure there are no signs of corrosion or excessive wear and tear. Pay special attention to the engine compartment, most importantly:

  • Cracked belts or hoses;
  • Loose, disconnected, or deteriorated wires;
  • Visible oil or fluid leaks;
  • Rusting on/around battery terminals;
  • The levels of engine oil and brake and transmission fluid.

However, if you’re not auto mechanics-savvy, doing all of the above can prove challenging. So, here’s one of the best tips for buying a used car from a dealer: Don’t DIY it. 

Instead, have someone knowledgeable perform this part of the check. Even better, have a professional mechanic do it, as their expertise ensures the inspection is thorough, thereby securing your peace of mind.

6.6 Test drive

As fun as this part of buying a used car can be, remember – you’re still performing an inspection. Therefore, during a test drive, you want to pay close attention to:

  • Overall handling at various speeds;
  • Brakes and steering responsiveness;
  • Strange noises (rattling, knocking, etc.).

With the test drive done, you’ve concluded the inspection phase. If the vehicle meets all the criteria you’ve set, it is time to proceed to the next stage.

Step #7: Negotiations

So, how to buy a car with cash and not get ripped off? By using the knowledge you’ve accumulated by following Part 1 of this guide, of course! The info you’ve found about the car’s fair market value will make for an excellent starting point, as well as let you negotiate effectively.

Naturally, you should be prepared for some back-and-forth, as it’s all a part of the process and can even be fun if you start off with a reasonable offer and an open mind. Also, here’s one of the more useful tips for buying a used car from a dealer, not many people know about.

Some dealers allow for a trade-in, which can be a phenomenal option if you don’t need your old vehicle. Even if it’s in a non-working condition, most places that buy used cars will be willing to take the old clunker off your hands for a fair price, thereby reinforcing your budget.

Lastly, be sure to discuss any potential maintenance or repairs that the vehicle may need immediately or in the very near future. In a lot of cases, sellers will be willing to either address these issues as part of the deal or to give you a comparative discount.

Step #8: Seal the deal

After you’ve agreed on the price and terms of sale, it is time to close the deal. Here, you want to check and double-check if you’ve received all the necessary paperwork:

  • Vehicle’s title;
  • The bill of sale;
  • Maintenance records.

This is it! The moment you’ve worked toward all this time! Now, all that’s left is to take your new four-wheeled buddy home and enjoy all the benefits it will bring to your life.

how to buy a used car from a dealer

How to buy a used car from a dealer in Waco & near me without hassle?

B.Y.O.T. is the best place to buy a used car in the greater Waco area and beyond. We boast an extensive inventory of stringently inspected vehicles, a streamlined and paperwork-light process, and competitive offers that hardly any seller in the region can match.

Our experts are available to provide any info you might need to make an informed decision, so you can rest assured that you’ll find a reliable ride that will serve you well for years to come. Get in touch with us today and enjoy an easy, exciting, and satisfying car buying experience unlike any you’ve ever seen!