10 Tips for Buying A Used Car

10 Tips for Buying A Used Car

The old adage that a car loses half its value when you drive it off the lot is a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not completely off the mark. Buying a used car can be a smart financial move for many drivers. In addition to avoiding the depreciation a new car experiences, you’ll pay significantly less for the vehicle, save money on taxes, and probably even pay less for insurance.


However, the process of buying a used car can be daunting. How do you know if you’re getting a good deal? How can you be sure that you’re not buying a lemon? Arming yourself with some basic knowledge before you start the process can help it all be a lot less intimidating. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind while you’re shopping for your next used car.

  1. Browse Online Before You Go to A Dealer in Person

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to go to a dealership armed with knowledge. Take the time to browse the selections of your local used car dealerships to get an idea of what you can expect to spend for the vehicle you want. Being informed from the beginning will help you feel confident that you’re getting a great deal.

  1. Know Your Budget

Figure out the maximum amount you can afford to spend over the lifetime of your car payments and be sure to stay well inside that amount. If you’re planning on using financing, research your options and get pre-approved for a car loan if possible. This will augment your buying power when you start the actual process of purchasing a vehicle.

  1. Set Some Cash Aside for Potential Maintenance

When budgeting for your used car, remember that maintenance issues may come up sooner than if you were buying a new car. Since there will already be some mileage on your vehicle, routine maintenance costs may pop up sooner than if you were buying a brand-new one. Research the exact make and model you’re interested in purchasing to learn what the average ownership costs and reliability ratings are for that vehicle.

  1. Know Your Priorities

in terms of features, figure out in advance which are most important to you, and use this wish list to narrow down your options. Many used car buyers want to know what the best car is to buy used, and the answer is: it depends! Will you be commuting long distances? Maybe efficient gas mileage is most important to you. Do you go on long road trips with your family? A roomy interior with plenty of storage space and upgraded entertainment features might be ideal. Don’t worry too much about finding the best options at the cheapest price, focus instead on the right fit for your needs and lifestyle.

  1. Look Past the Deal Breakers

There are some rules to buying a used car that can be safely broken and doing so might lead you to find a diamond in the rough. For example, many people won’t consider a used car over 100,000 miles, but a well-maintained car with heavy mileage likely still has many thousands of miles of life left in it. Many used car buyers assume that luxury car models will provide the best value, but don’t overlook baseline models with upgrades. Do your research and break the rules to find great deals other buyers might overlook.

  1. Buying from a Used Car Dealership vs From A Private Seller

Private sellers can be a gamble. You could either be getting a great deal, or you could walk away with a lemon. A used car dealership has its reputation to uphold, a larger selection of cars, can provide the car’s history and assistance securing financing, and usually can offer various extended warranty options. A private seller is rarely able to provide even one of these things to you.

  1. Take Careful Notes

Since inventory can change quickly at used car dealerships, and prices can also fluctuate, save screenshots of any vehicle listings that catch your eye for future reference. You might want to start a spreadsheet for comparing prices and calculating potential expenses.

  1. Understand What the Out-The-Door Price of The Car Is

The Out-The-Door Price Is what you’ll be paying in total, including taxes and fees. Common fees include documentation fees and registration fees. While these vary from dealership to dealership, having these additional costs added to the total price of your vehicle is normal and to be expected. That said, talk to your salesperson about any fees being added on to the out-the-door total, and make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying.

  1. Test Drive the Exact Car That You’re Planning to Buy

Since every used car Is unique, make sure that you have the chance to try out the actual car you’re thinking about taking home. Even if you’ve seen and driven the same model vehicle elsewhere, you need to be sure you test drive the exact car you plan to buy. Be certain all the features are operational, and that it handles and drives to your complete satisfaction.

  1. Get A Car History Report

Knowledge is power! Make sure you know as much as possible about the history of the car you are considering. Most used car dealerships will include a car history report, like CarFax, as a matter of course. These reports will let you know important events in your car’s history, such as mileage accuracy, accidents, number of owners, and service records.

With these ten tips in mind, you should be able to buy your next used car like a pro. At First Class Auto Land, our friendly team has years of experience helping people just like you find your ideal pre-owned vehicle at an affordable price. Take a look at our online inventory; every vehicle we sell has undergone a complete inspection and comes with a free warranty and Carfax Report. Want to learn more about our financing options: call to set up an appointment, or simply stop by and talk to one of our professional team members.