Shopping for a used car is all about finding the best balance between reliability and affordability. You have to make sure the car is safe and runs well, but you also have to make sure you’re not overpaying for it. A used car is often a smart financial decision, but there’s potential for disaster if you don’t do your research.
Know What You Want
It’s a good idea to make a list of what you want in a used car. This is how you’ll narrow down your choices. Write down your preferences for these:
- Price range
- Vehicle type (sedan, SUV, minivan, etc.)
- Make & model
- Features you want
- Mileage range
- Age range
- Monthly payment range
- Other features (color, engine size, luxury options)
Whether you shop at a dealership or online, you’ll probably find many options that fit your preferences. It’s important to compare prices of cars you are interested in. The Kelley Blue Book lists both wholesale and retail prices for used cars. This will give you a sense of what a particular make and model is worth. Knowing this average value can give you an advantage when it comes to negotiating price.
Search for Reliability
To find information about a car’s accident and repair history, you can use a service like Carfax. You can get a Carfax report online by providing some basic information about the vehicle in question.
If you go into your car buying experience prepared with the necessary information, you’ll walk off the lot with a reliable vehicle at a great price. But before you go to the dealership, we recommend getting your financing. Find out why it’s better to get your loan first.