Tips for Buying a Used Car

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Here’s the deal. I’ve never ever owned a new car. Even as a kid, my parents always bought used cars. 

Don't buy that car just yet! Get these tips for buying your next used car. ad
See, when you drive off that car lot in a brand new car, all that money you just spent will never get back to you. New cars can lose between 10-20% of their value within the first year of ownership. 

Used cars, however, well they’re valued what they’re valued. Just as everything loses a little value over time so will your used car, but not at nearly the same rate a new car does. For this reason, we always buy second hand when it comes to our vehicles. 

Of course, when buying used it means making some compromises. You won’t have that new car smell, and there will be some wear and tear. However, with these tips, you can avoid clunkers and pricey repairs on your ‘new to you’ used vehicle. 

Research. Reseach. Research. 

A car might look pretty. It might have a cool name. A cool car does not always a reliable car make. This one time we bought a car because it sounded like a fun ride. Well, a day after making our purchase we found the car dying at every stop sign. The fun car was no longer so fun. Lesson learned. Cars.com is a fantastic resource to find reviews of every car you may be considering purchasing. You’ll see pros, cons, and what others think of the vehicle.

Take it for a Test Drive. 

Head out on a few different terrains (that you normally drive). If you live in the country with dirt roads, make sure the car you are driving will handle well on the dirt. If you drive more inner city, and freeways, your car should be able to handle higher speeds and frequent stop and go’s. 

Call in a Mechanic. 

Usually, on our test drive, we’ll run the potential vehicle to our trusted mechanic – one not affiliated with the dealership. For 10-20 bucks you can get a full inspection. Just remember, it is a used car. There will be some problems. The question is how big are the problems, are they problems you can live with? Common problems you will run into with used cars are:

  • tires
  • cv joints
  • control arms
  • link pins
  • brakes – rotors/pads/brake lines
  • fluids – deposits in coolant, dirty oil. 

 

Look Up the Car’s History

Every car has a history. It’s a good idea to know what your car has been through. A car’s VIN number can tell you whether the car has been to the dealership for routine maintenance, if it’s been in a crash, and how many owners it’s had. You want a car that has been taken care of with only normal wear and tear going on. Unfortunately, a full history won’t always be available if the previous owners did the maintenance themselves. This would be an area to ask your mechanic to check if the car appears to have been taken care of properly. You can check the history of a car on Cars.com

Check for Recalls

I wouldn’t have thought to check for recalls until the last few years. Our newest used car purchase has gone through not 1, but 2 airbag recalls. Thankfully the company contacts us and replaces everything for free. However, you don’t want to start out buying a car that is full of recalled parts. Ask the dealer if there are any known recalls, and whether they have replaced the needed parts, or if you would need to have that done.

Sleep on it.

And by that, I don’t mean sit on the car. Sit on your decision to purchase. Rushing into buying a used car is never a good thing, no matter how much you may want a car right that moment. Letting yourself sleep on the decision, and coming back to test drive a day or two later will help you see any components of the car you don’t like. If we had waited a bit more, I would have realized just how much I don’t like the small trunk in our current car. 

Don't buy that car just yet! Get these tips for buying your next used car. ad

Now you are ready to purchase your car! Congratulations on what should be a reliable car for years to come. 

42 thoughts on “Tips for Buying a Used Car

  1. I like that you provided some basic tips on buying a used car such as taking it for a test drive. It is important to make sure that you feel comfortable driving the car you plan to buy. Also, you may want to carefully observe if there are any symptoms of damage to the vehicle. Some of these signs may not easily be noticeable unless you drive the vehicle yourself. If I were to purchase a used car, I would make sure to keep this in mind. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for this amazing tips. Buying a used but legit car is very practical and if you have the skill on choosing the best car, I’m sure the money you spent on buying a used car will be so worth it. Thanks for this tips, really helps!

  3. I like that you provided some basic tips on buying a used car such as taking it for a test drive. It is important to make sure that you feel comfortable driving the car you plan to buy

  4. A great used car can help you save money and also looking for a great value at an even greater price. The most important things keep in mind while purchasing the used car that never buys from an unverified car dealer and does not jump on a bargain deal easily. Furthermore, always take the time to thoroughly read contracts and agreements.

  5. Proper maintenance keeps anything in good working conditions. The same goes for our vehicles. Car servicing is essential and getting it done through qualified personnel is even more crucial. This can really extend the life of your vehicle. The whole car servicing experience may be intimidating to some. Often, a bad experience at a fly by night garage can be a dampener, especially if you have been cheated by a mechanic.

  6. I can understand that taking the time to do this can help you understand what t6ype of car you like and choose the best one for your needs. Personally, I would want to read online reviews and see what other owners like about the car.

  7. I really want my a new used car this year. So, I liked what you said about how I should have a mechanic I trust to check the car before I buy it. Personally, I wouldn’t want to buy a car that has a bunch of issues.

  8. Very useful info which can help all of to proceed further.
    Besides its better to set the budget & decide how much you can spend on a car and how you’re going to pay for it. Choose the right car & Check reliability and ownership costs, then locate good used cars, price the cars, check the vehicle history report. Later on contact the seller & try for a test drive if there is any chance or try to find out the inspection sheet to get the current news of the car.

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  9. I just scroll and see your post.It’s full with information.My friends also visit your post.We are all agree with your ideas.It’s cover all about cars.Thanks for drop here your ideas.

  10. Great tips! I totally agree with your advice. I am on board to buy used cars and great luck for me to have this post before! I was thinking to a long time to buy a new car. now it’s much easier to search handful cars with a lot of features and the understanding of a price to make a good deal! Thanks for sharing, I am so happy to read your article.

  11. Your idea is impressive like it’s really tough to handle second-hand car the reason is it already used a lot, but you said well that take a test drive and take a timely car servicing and also best part take MOT Test in Bournemouth. And maintain it like a first hand then you never feel that it’s the second one.

  12. Cars have never been more reliable and durable, or needed less regular maintenance. Yet it’s also true cars are now much more sophisticated, with more electronic systems to help regulate the engine and more complicated features to make travelling as comfortable as possible.

  13. Hey! Thanks for sharing the wonderful information. We are also working for automotive services and me and my husband are thinking about to open other side business like food truck or ice cream truck. And your article will help me alot about to open a new business. Thanks for sharing and keep on coming.

  14. Thank you for pointing out that taking a used car out for a test drive is a good thing to do to make sure that it can handle the terrain that you would be driving on regularly. My brother has been thinking of getting a new, used car for himself. It’s good to know that someone can test drive their potential new vehicle.

  15. amazing article!

    Thanx for sharing the tips of buying a used car. actually i just thinking to buying a used car so these tips are important for me and every body.
    keep posting blog……………………..

  16. I think if you are expert in driving then test drive will tell you the position of used car and still you are in confusion then directly contact with any expert mechanic they will describe you each face of the car. But, yes your blog is really informative. Thanks.

  17. You explained very well and shows the positive side of buying a used car which is helpful for the people who are in confusion. I will share this information with one of my colleague who wanted to buy a used car for a long time.

  18. Thanks you in lieu of pointing out that taking a used car out for a test drive is a good thing to make sure that it can handle the terrain that you would be driving one regularly .its good to know that someone can test drive their potential new Vehicle

  19. Awesome post. Very helpful information for everyone. Anyways, Elim A Dent LLC is located at 651 N US HWY 183, STE 335-71, Leander, TX 78641. Elim A Dent Tools manufactures the highest quality Paintless Dent Removal and Repair PDR Tools.

  20. Very useful tips. I’m looking for buying a used car. I read out your post and got some tips about buying a used car this information help me to buying the best used car.

    Thanks for your great tips.

  21. Hi Adelina, This is some really good information about buying a used car. I liked what you said about how you should think about safety maintenance. It is good to know to think about when you want to get a car. Thanks for sharing…

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