Seven Tips for Buying a Used Car

Written by a Guest Blogger

We all know that buying a used car can be stressful. After all, you don’t know how it has been treated, whether that flawless bumper will drop off when you hit the first pothole in the road, or whether the purring engine is due to regular maintenance or an engine additive that will wear off by the time the gas tank hits E.

However, buying used can be a great deal. Not only does it allow you to bypass the almost instant depreciation of a new vehicle, but when you buy used, you can often afford a much nicer vehicle than if you’d chosen to buy new. To make sure that you’re getting the best used car for your money, always be sure to have the car checked out by your favorite mechanic and follow these simple tips:

Keep your options open

Look for your target vehicle, but also explore cars within the same class of vehicle – and don’t be afraid to look at cars that are in the class above. You might just be surprised at how much car you can afford when you buy used.

Research each specific vehicle

In addition to having your mechanic give it a once-over, run a CARFAX report and review the car’s history.

Take it for a spin

During your test drive, evaluate things like: Acceleration from a stop, blind spots and general visibility, engine noise, how smoothly the car shifts, general power and ability to climb hills, how the car breaks and corners, how it rides (suspension), and any rattles or squeaks.

Check the body of the vehicle for any suspicious dents, dings or scratches.

See what it’s worth

Determine the value of the vehicle before entering into any negotiations. Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book both have helpful guidelines and calculators that can help you understand the vehicle’s true value.

Consider an extended warranty

If you’re buying a used car from a dealer, you’ll often have the option to purchase an extended warranty. While they can add a few dollars to your monthly bill, they can also give you added peace of mind – so if that’s important to you be sure to discuss the option with your salesperson.

Certify it

If you’re shopping at a dealership, look for a “Certified, Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle” – which generally has less than 50,000 miles and has been given a multipoint inspection, as well as any necessary service. They usually include a no-cost extended warranty and are typically considered to be the used car world’s “cream of the crop.”

Finally, before you even begin looking at vehicles, determine your budget and get pre-qualified for an auto loan. That way, you know exactly how much you have to spend and can (hopefully) negotiate to a point that’s a bit below your max.


Rose Fox – Rose is a guest author who just loves to write. She occupies her time word smithing about everything from useful tips to used cars, from farming to pharmaceuticals.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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