Buying a Ford Mustang
January 29, 2006
Looking at purchasing a new or used Ford Mustang?
If you enjoy affordable looks and power, the Ford Mustang is definitely the car for you. Before buying a Ford Mustang, you must know that there are many models out there ranging in power to suit whatever needs you may have. When looking at buying your Ford Mustang, first approach the seller and retrieve all the information necessary to identify the vehicle. After identifying the vehicle and you are still interested, take the Mustang for a test drive. After the test drive, leave without discussing a purchse, even if you love the car. Shop around; get a selection for yourself to chose from before purchasing your Mustang.
Before approaching any sellers about a Mustang, you need to know a little about the history of the Ford Mustang. Knowing the history of the car and the models and engine options available by year will prepare you for the first step of purchasing your Mustang. Also, the history of the Mustang may also make you a die-hard fan, and being a die-hard will make you notice every imperfection- a skill that comes in handy when purchasing a used late model car.
Perhaps you may just need a reliable daily driver and a Ford Mustang V6 could be your best option. If you want a nicer car with a V8, more power, aggression, and control, a GT Mustang model may suit your needs. If you want a sunny day car with a lot of stock power, a Cobra Mustang may suit you best. So before you start looking at different cars, decide what your practical uses will be and that will immediately narrow your search down for your Ford Mustang.
Also, what is your price range? Check NADA and Kelley Blue Book to see what to expect price-wise for a particular year and model Ford Mustang. After finding out what is in your budget, shop away!
Identify the Vehicle
Identify and validate the model of the car. Is the car the same car that came with the engine, transmission, interior, and exterior options as the car named on the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)? To know this for sure, look into some VIN decoders or online services such as CarFax History Reports. Also, independent research of the car's history may be necessary because not all accidents are reported to authorities. The VIN number is a stamped plate bolted to the dash under the windshield of late model Mustangs. Also, look at and verify the engine code. The engine code is the 8th digit in the VIN, and the model year is coded in the 10th digit of the VIN. Also check and see if the vehicle is the stock color paint and notice any and all performed body work.
1) The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is a stamped plate bolted to the dash under the windshield.
2) The EIN (Engine Identification Number) is also attached to the valve cover.
3) The Mustang should also have a certification label fixed at the drivers side door pillar.
4) The transmission identification tag is attached by the left side engine-to-bell housing bolt for manual transmission, and is attached to the right side on automatics.
5) The rear differential identification tag is bolted to the rear differential cover.
Now that you know if you are remotely interested in a Mustang out there, you should take it for a test drive and notice how she reacts to rpm changes, gear shifts, braking, turning, and extreme driving as well. Ask the owner for a repair and service data log sheet just before test-driving. If he has no log sheet for maintenance, you are already one hand up on the seller. Check the tire pressure, oil level, and lighting of headlights, brake lights, and turn signals before starting the engine. Now start the car and listen for any abnormalities in the engine sound.
Now, check all of the seat belts. Don't be surprised if the passenger side seat belts are on backwards- that is a common TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) from Ford. Check the interior wear and be sure to be writing down all of the imperfections you notice in the car at all. Check all of the power options, including the CD player.
Now you are ready to hit the road. Buckle up and take the car for a test drive. At first, drive normally to get the vehicle into proper operating conditions. After a warm-up, get on the throttle and note how the car performs at WOT (Wide Open Throttle). Come to a compete stop and test the braking capabilities. Be sure to travel over a speed bump to test suspension components as well. After you perform your various tests to decide the mechanical structure of the Mustang, return it back to the seller and tell him you have a few more similar cars to go test drive but you will stay in touch.
Don't forget to log all of the imperfections and data on the car!
After you have test driven and experienced a handful of Ford Mustangs, compare the logs you have made about the work needed and maintenance to be performed to see what car will suit your needs best. Recall the seller's advertised price and compare that to NADA for high mileage cars, or Kelley Blue Book for lower mileage cars. NADA rewards cars with lower miles by adding to the seller's price, but hinders high mileage cars by lowering the value for the specific year. Now that you know what Ford Mustang you want to negotiate on, you are ready to put your business skills to the test.
After narrowing your choices down into your budget, tastes, and preferences, return to the seller to negotiate. Always negotiate at Trade-In Value, and work up. Never pay more than book value for a car though, unless it is modified in a way that calls for such a price. But remember also; never pay more than half of what the seller paid for his modifications when purchasing a used car.
Never pay cash. At least write a check and be sure to get some immediate and written receipt of payment for the vehicle to ensure your financial safety. Now, expect less than a week for the title to reach you for an in-state purchase, and expect no more than 2 weeks for a title on an out-of-state purchase. After receiving the title, go to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to get a tag for the new title transfer. Be prepares to pay taxes that range in price based on area and car type to receive the title and tag. These fees are mandatory and fair to help pay for road maintenance, etc.
Now that you own your very own Ford Mustang, enjoy the car, modify if you wish, have fun with the new doors the Ford Mustang will open, and remember, we will see you on the road!
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