how to buy a used car
Buying and Selling Cars

How to Buy a Used Car: What You Need to Know

Buying a used car is risky business as it’s very easy to fall victim to scams or overpay for a seemingly good vehicle.

You may be promised a car in great condition only to realize it’ll cost you way more to repair it.

So before you look at the current market offers, you should know how to recognize a good deal from a bad one.

For example, inspecting the vehicle thoroughly can save you a lot of money, time and headaches.

Interested to learn how to buy a used car? Read on to discover what to look for in a second-hand vehicle and spot a good bargain.

How to Buy a Used Car: Things to Know

Set Your Car Budget

Before you start browsing cars, you need to set a budget. Not doing so can lead to spending more than originally planned.

You’ll also need money for the car paperwork, insurance or any touch-ups it may need. Bear this in mind, especially if you get a pre-approved car loan.

Pick the Right Car Model

Now on to the fun part – choosing your ideal car model.

Think about what you’re looking for in a car and how you intend to use it.┬áDo you need a spacious family car that can fit several people and pets? Or you need a car to use for your business needs?

Determine what’s your number one priority. Is it safety, comfort, speed or reliability? Narrow down a few models that fit your needs and go from there.

For example, if your desired car is a Cadillac, Google search for used Cadillacs for sale. Comb through the list of used car dealerships until you find a good fit.

Inspect the Car

This is a given, but you shouldn’t put down a payment for a vehicle before you inspect it thoroughly.

If you know what to look for and what to be wary of, you’ll know if a car is worth the money. First, take a good look of the car exterior. Look for dents, rusty areas, leaks and dysfunctional parts. Inside, check if everything is working properly – AC, windows, radio, dashboard etc.

If you’re not sure, send the car to a trusted mechanic to check it out. They’ll tell you if there are any issues you shouldn’t overlook.

Test Drive the Car

The best way to see if a car is good to buy is to test drive it. You get to see if the car is easy to steer, how it behaves on the road and whether you’re comfortable.

Note that the car mileage and age aren’t necessarily the best indicators of its condition. How it’s been maintained and where it’s been driven are the main factors here.

Negotiate the Price

Finally, if you find a model you like, you should negotiate the price.

Most sellers are aware of this and will work with you. Don’t settle for the original price, even if you love the car.

Bottom Line

Knowing how to buy a used car is a learning curve.

But with these tips, you’ll be able to separate the good from the bad.

If you want to learn more about car maintenance, check out our handy auto repair manuals.