5 Tips for Buying a Used Car

April 26th, 2018 by

Everyone wants to roll off the showroom floor in a brand spanking new car. However, if a new car is out of reach financially, you’ll have to shop around in the used car market. Buying a used car doesn’t necessarily mean buying somebody else’s problems. Here are five tips for finding a well-priced and reliable used car.

Set Your Budget and Stick to It

Before you can start your search, you need to know how much you can you afford to pay every month. This is more than just the monthly installment. Include insurance costs and add some cushioning for car repairs. Remember, this is an older car and if it’s no longer covered by the warranty you will need to do repairs from time to time. Be clear about how high you’re willing to go when negotiating and stick to it. If a seller tries to push for a higher number, be prepared to walk away.

Pick the Right Type of Car

Buying a two-door coupe is not sensible for parents with kids to ferry around nor is buying a pickup truck if all you need is to travel to and from an office job. Lifestyle is a key factor in deciding what type of car to buy. Is fuel efficiency, speed, or safety important? Once you have a budget and you know what type of car you need, you’re ready to head to the used car dealer to scout around for the right car.

Know the Market Prices

Rushing out to buy a car blindly is foolish. Do your homework and ascertain market prices. If you’ve narrowed down your search to a specific make and model, hop online to research prices. Several car review websites provide a cost comparison calculator to determine the average price. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll have an advantage when negotiating with the dealer.

Research the Car’s History

To reduce the risk of buying a car that’s not mechanically sound, you’ll need to do some research on the car’s history. This is particularly important in a private sale. Run a CarFax or AutoCheck report that will provide information on the car’s history such as salvage titles, recalls, how many owners it had, and any available maintenance records. If everything checks out and you’re keen to buy the car, have a mechanic look it over. You may miss certain problems that a trained eye will notice.

Consider a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle

If you can afford to spend a little more, it’s worthwhile buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. This will allay your fears of buying the proverbial lemon. CPO vehicles are newer models with lower mileage, come with bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties, and roadside assistance. The vehicle undergoes a rigorous inspection and the dealer repairs, replaces, or reconditions any parts that are worn or faulty. For this reason, a CPO vehicle costs a bit more but will give you peace of mind.

Buying a used car doesn’t have to be risky. Take your time, do your homework, and brush up on your negotiating skills and you be well positioned to find an excellent used car at a good price.


Happy Male Driver/conductor feliz via Flickr by State Farm, used under CC BY 2.0


Posted in Car Tips