Buying a Used Car?

Four Easy Steps to Buying a Used Car


Step 1: Getting Pre-Approved

Having a pre-approved loan allows you to concentrate on finding a good vehicle and not worrying about the pitfalls of third party financing. Contact the credit union's loan department at 512.458.2558 ext.1002 or get pre-approved online for a used car loan before you look at vehicles.


Quick Tip: Credit unions traditionally offer their members the best loan rates for used vehicles.


Step 2: Take it for a test drive. 

This seems like a no brainer, but take the vehicle for a minimum 10 minute test drive, not just around the block. This is your opportunity detect any obvious problems and cosmetics that would eliminate it from consideration. 

BE AWARE! Many salespeople and sellers may pressure you to buy the vehicle after a positive test drive. A vehicle can drive well and still have many existing hidden and potential mechanical and electrical problems including previous accident damages. 

Step 3: Negotiate your best deal. 

This may sound counter intuitive to negotiate before the pre-purchase inspection. However, negotiate a price you would pay for the used vehicle on the assumption that it is in good mechanical condition, and with no previous accident damages. Always make any negotiated price contingent upon a pre-purchase inspection (PPI). Having a pre-negotiated price before the inspection allows you a starting point for any re-negotiations based on the inspection outcome. 

BE AWARE! Many salespeople and sellers may pressure you (in many ways) to buy the car after you negotiate a price. However, you can't negotiate your best deal until you know the current condition of the every component and system which only a professional PPI can produce. Any existing problems not discovered before purchase will be your problems after the inspection. A Carfax is no substitution for a professional inspection. 

Step 4: Get a professional pre-purchase inspection (PPI). 

There is no standardization for pre-purchase inspections and most Automotive Technicians are not qualified to perform a PPI. Most Automotive Technicians are “ASE Certified” meaning they are certified on one or more of the 8 general automotive areas. However, for a complete PPI, the vehicle needs to be inspected by a Technician that is certified on all 8 areas, which is an “ASE Master Certified Technician”. In addition, the Master Technician performing a PPI needs to be a Body & Frame Specialist to determine any previous accident(s) damages and the quality of any repairs. 

After the inspection, any problems uncovered by the pre-purchase inspection can now be re-negotiated into the price or have seller make the repairs before purchase. 

Credit Union Members receive a $20 discount from Auto P. I. Used Car Inspections for a 600-point inspection by ASE Master Certified Technicians and Frame Specialists (mobile service).


How to locate a qualified technician:

Search "used car inspections" on the web or call Auto P. I. Used Car Inspections at 512-454-5999. Auto P. I. actually goes to the car to perform a 600-point inspection performed by an ASE Master Technician, and then tell you the unvarnished truth about the vehicle. They normally charge $139 for this service and Auto P. I. gives credit union members a $20 discount coupon. Their website also contains valuable information including the “Top10” used car buying myths, misconceptions and mistakes.

Other used-car inspection sources may also include diagnostic and service garages. Just be sure the person performing the pre-purchase inspection is an ASE Certified Master Technician.

If you need additional assistance, please contact us.