10 Tips For Buying a Used Car

Filed under: Classic News |

Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save money, if you find a good car. In a worst-case scenario, the sweet deal of a low price is forgotten by the second trip to the repair shop. But how do you find the good used cars that provide the best deal you can find on the car market today? Here are our top 10 tips for buying a used car.

Decide the Type of Car You'll Get before You Hit the Dealership

You can save a lot of time and money by having a shopping list. This is true whether you're car shopping or going to the grocery store. Understand your needs and know what type of car is best. Don't go in because you need a minivan or large SUV with room for six and leave with a truck. Have a list of must-have features be it third row seats or a set towing capacity.

Research the Reliability of the Car Model

You may know that you want a Toyota Corolla or Subaru Outback. However, reliability for vehicles can vary based on the model year. Research the reliability of both the car model and the model year before you decide you want to buy it.

Visit the Mechanic

Buying used can be a great deal, as long as you know how to avoid a lemon. Have any used car you're serious about buying inspected by a mechanic you choose. Do not take the word of the mechanic associated with the used car dealership.


Skip the Extras

Used car dealerships like to throw in a lot of profitable (to them) extras. Don't pay freight charges, advertising fees or dealer prep fees. VIN etching isn't mandatory, and a used car dealer shouldn't be performing this service anyway.

Do the Upgrades Yourself

You can save yourself a lot of money by doing fabric protection and window tinting somewhere other than the dealer. You can get your own car warranty, too, by shopping with a good used car dealer or saving up for eventual repairs.

Don't Get Hung Up on Your Trade-In Value

Trading in your old car to the dealer is convenient. However, it isn't necessary. Today is a seller's market for used cars. Buy the car you want. Negotiate the trade-in value if you can, but don't lose a good deal because they won't give you an extra 500 dollars for it.


Worry about What Is Under the Hood, Not On It

This is a common mistake for car shoppers. They're turned off by dirty carpets, minor dents and faded paint. Yet they don't check the condition of the engine, brakes or transmission. Get the car inspected by a mechanic for major issues. Be willing to buy a car that needs some cosmetic work, if they discount it as much or more than what it costs to get the car cleaned up.


Research the Accident History of a Car

Perform a background check of sorts on any car you consider buying. Never buy one that was totaled. Avoid cars that had serious head-on collisions or were flooded. If there is anything suspicious in its history, move on to the next car.

Avoid Clouded Titles

Avoid cars with a clouded title. If you buy a car with a clouded title, you may not be able to sell it. Or you may have to pay off the mechanic's lien to keep the car. If in doubt, don't buy it.

Stay Away from Salvaged Vehicles


Salvaged vehicles are toxic. They are dirt cheap because no one wants them. You don't want one, either. For example, you can't even get car insurance for a salvage title car in many cases. At best, you'll be able to get the minimum level of auto insurance but won't be eligible for collision or comprehensive coverage.