Top 5 tips for buying a used car

2 min read on car

Aug 18, 2019

Buying a used car can be a smart and cost-efficient way to get a vehicle that’s right for what you need. With these five tips you’ll be ready to find your next ride at a great price.

1. Look for Substance More Than Style

Before you ever set foot on a lot or read the listings, do your research into what vehicle specifications are right for you. Sure, a slick sports car would look great, but is that what you really need? Making a smart assessment of what features are truly right for you and your family’s needs can save you from making a bad investment.

2. Really Get to Know Your Vehicle

Once you’ve found a few good candidates, make sure you research the vehicle’s history thoroughly. Check for reviews and news articles about the make and model. Ask the dealer about its history. Has it been in any accidents? What is its maintenance history? If a seller can’t show you a car’s full history, its vehicle identification number (VIN) can help identify previous accident claims and any outstanding liens. A vehicle’s VIN can be found on the inside of the vehicle on the dashboard or side door of the driver's side or on documents such as the bill of sale, so the owner should have it handy; request it to give it a thorough check yourself.

3. Dealers That Aren't Wheelers

It’s not only the vehicle you need to research. It’s also the dealership. Check online reviews and see how other customers rate their prices, honesty and service. What are the dealership’s policies? Do they offer a money back guarantee? And if it’s a private seller instead of a dealer, you have limited protection. Play it safe and be sure to ask detailed questions before you make a payment and accept the keys.

4. Go for More Than a Spin

When you get a chance to try the vehicle yourself, don’t just go around the block—insist on taking it for a 30-45 minute excursion to get the best sense of the feel and of any issues that may arise. Keep the radio off and listen for any concerning noises. And if possible, bring a friend along who’s familiar with auto mechanics. If the dealership won’t let you—go elsewhere!

5. Price is Not the Only Factor 

Remember: the cheapest option is not always the best one. Sometimes, it’s that low for a reason. Do your research and you’re likely to find a vehicle that’s reliable at a great price.

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