How to Buy a Used Car: Ultimate Checklist


The decision to buy a used car is an important one. You might be considering the color, brand, and model of the car you want. But a very important consideration is if you are going to buy it new or used. Here are some information to use before making your car purchase.

Advantages of Buying Used Cars

  • Lower price tag: Compared to new cars, used cars have a less expensive price tag. This can save you money, making the purchase easy on your mind and bank account! You might even find a luxury car you like at a lower price!
  • Wider Selection: You might not think of used cars as having a wider selection, but being able to purchase cars that are two, three, or even four years old opens up more models of cars as options!
  • Less Depreciation: Cars can lose 40% or more of their value in the first year of ownership. With a used car, you can have the peace of mind that comes with lower levels of depreciation each year on your car.
  • Better Insurance Rate: Since used cars are often older, this means that they have better insurance rates! This is a major benefit of purchasing used cars, and we recommend contacting your insurance company to find out what your rate could be as you research car options.

Disadvantages of Buying Used Cars

  • High Mileage: One disadvantage to consider is that a used car might have high mileage. This can reduce the overall lifespan of your car.
  • Less Protection: If there is a problem with the car, there may be fewer consumer protection laws to help you get your money back. That is because these protections depend on the car’s mileage and age.
  • Selection: While used cars have a wide selection range, you may not find the exact model with all the features that you want, since newer cars tend to have more features.

How to Buy a Used Car

Buying a used car from an automobile dealership isn’t always easy. You want to make sure the vehicle is mechanically sound, reliable, and meets your needs. But there are several things you must consider before buying a used car. Here are five things to keep in mind:

Choose the right car

You need a car that is right for you and your family. First, think about what you need your car to do. Do you need something reliable to commute to work every day? Or do you need a sporty ride to go cruising around town with friends? Whatever type of car you decide on, make sure it meets your needs first.

Next, take into account where you’ll be driving your car most often. Will you be commuting daily to work, or maybe just once per week? Are you planning a weekend trip away from home, or other frequent travels? Once you’ve determined what you need your car for, you can narrow down your options to find the perfect fit.

Set Your Budget

Before you research cars, an important first step is to set your budget. You might think you can afford to splurge now, but you could wind up overspending later. So make sure you’ve got a realistic idea of how much you can spend before you start shopping. Also, make sure you don’t forget about potential fees!

In setting a budget, make sure to consider taxes and insurance costs too. Creating a buffer in your budget may be wise, to prevent over-extending yourself in initial and monthly payments.

Get Pre-Approved Financing

Financing a vehicle purchase can take several forms, including purchasing a car outright, leasing, taking out a personal loan, or getting a bank loan. Each option offers different benefits and drawbacks, so it pays to do your research before making a decision.

The best way to finance a car is to start early. If you wait until the last minute, you could end up paying too much interest on a loan or lease. To avoid this problem, contact your lender well ahead of time to discuss options.

You can also save money by shopping around for multiple quotes. This allows you to compare prices and terms from multiple lenders, helping you find the best deal possible. When looking for a quote, keep in mind that the lower the APR, the better. A good rule of thumb is that you should aim to pay no more than 2% over the APR listed on your current auto loan.

Take It To A Mechanic

Before you decide to purchase a used vehicle, it is important to conduct your own thorough inspection. In addition to looking over the outside of the car for scratches and dents, you also want to inspect the interior for any damage. Taking the used car to car repair shops after making the purchase is a smart decision so that you can ensure that the mechanics of the car are running smoothly. 

A used car is a great way to save money, but there are some things you must do before purchasing one. A good rule of thumb is to test drive the car in a large parking lot before taking it onto public roads. This gives you the chance to see how the steering feels, whether the brakes work and whether the engine needs repair. If you don’t know what to look for, check out Signs Your Car Engine Needs Immediate Repair.

Locate Good Used Cars

The key to buying a used car is research, research, research.

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is a nationwide database of motor vehicles, including vehicle registration records, salvage reports, insurance claims, liens, and public safety data. The system provides consumers access to important vehicle information such as ownership, previous owners, odometer readings, accident histories, prior inspections, emissions testing, and more. Consumers can use this free service to check out their vehicle’s history and find out whether it has been involved in accidents or had its emissions tested. This is a great tool to make sure the used car is good!

Final Thoughts

Making a car purchase can be intimidating, but it is also very exciting! With these tools, you can make sure that you chose the best car while also getting the best deal. Take advantage of auto repair services after purchasing your used car to make sure your car is in great shape and maximize its lifetime!