CAR DEALER: Have I got the perfect vehicle for you!
JEN: Uh, is that a question?
CAR DEALER: No question about it! Here's your dream car! It's compact, high tech, only driven by Grandma on Sundays…
JEN: No offense or anything, but I think I'm better off buying something brand-new.
CAR DEALER: On the contrary, did you know that a new vehicle can lose almost half its value in the first few years?
JEN: What? Seriously?
CAR DEALER: That brand-new car you're thinking of buying starts losing value the moment you drive it off the lot, and loses the most value in the first few years. That's why buying a car that's a few years old can be a great way to save some cash!
CAR DEALER: It's all right here in my trusty blue book.
JEN: But I don't know where that car's been.
E-CAR: Hey, watch it lady. I've been around the block a few times, sure, but I'm still in tip-top shape.
JEN: Whhhhaaaaaat? A talking car? Well, I'm sold!
CAR DEALER: Great! It's a deal! I'll go get the paperwork!
E-CAR: You know, we're really just not right for each other.
JEN: Pfft. I always wanted a talking car! We can say hi to joggers and sing songs on road trips together…
E-CAR: Whatever. What do you know about buying a used car anyway?
JEN: Just pick the newest, cheapest one. Simple!
CAR DEALER: That might just backfire on you.
E-CAR: I'm certainly not the cheapest. I don't think she gets it.
CAR DEALER: First of all, you've got to do your research. Start off by setting a realistic price range. You don't want to get stuck making monthly payments you can't afford down the road.
JEN: I see what you did there.
CAR DEALER: Only look for makes and models that fit into your price range. Keep in mind the cost of insurance and repairs, as well as the features you actually need.
JEN: Like mega-awesome talking ability?
E-CAR: Like the junk you're hauling around… there's no way I can carry all that.
JEN: Yeah, I guess not. Maybe a roof rack, though?
E-CAR: Ugh. Roof racks are so not my style.
CAR DEALER: You may be better off with a nice hatchback. Have a look over there.
JEN: Well, this one is pretty awful, but I like the sporty one! I'll buy this one instead! I can always throw on some talk radio.
E-CAR: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Pump the brakes there, turbo.
CAR DEALER: Before you commit to a used car purchase, you should always evaluate the car. First, take a good long test drive to get a feel for the car, and to spot any immediate problems. Then get the vehicle checked by a trusted independent mechanic. Finally, get a report of the vehicle's history based on the VIN.
JEN: The… what now?
CAR DEALER: The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, can usually be found on the driver's side where the windshield meets the dash. The VIN provides useful information on a car's accident and repair history, manufacturer recalls and vehicle use.
JEN: Wait, hold the phone! It says here this hatchback has been used to deliver bowling balls to ski resorts for years, and it once got major water damage from rolling into a hot tub! No thanks.
E-CAR: Glad you checked, aren't you?
JEN: Heck, yeah. I just wish I could afford a car as clever as you, but maybe with some more room.
CAR DEALER: We've got options for miles! Let's wheel and deal, huh?
JEN: Well, I'm no master negotiator…
E-CAR: You don't say.
CAR DEALER: Learning to effectively negotiate is very important, whether you're shopping at a dealership or buying direct from the previous owner.
E-CAR: And the most important part of negotiating is always being prepared to walk away.
JEN: Hmmm. I think I'm going to take some time, do my research and come back with the perfect game plan!
CAR DEALER: Good idea. See you then! Remember… research, evaluate, negotiate.
E-CAR: Nice job, sales guy. You sure know how to close the deal!