Five Things You Should Know When Shopping for a Used Car

If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, it’s important to do your research so that you can shop prepared. Below we’ll take a look at five things you should know and consider before you start shopping for the perfect used vehicle.

Shop Automakers You Can Count On

The possibilities are endless when you’re shopping for used cars. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options, but it’s best to stick to automakers with a tried and true reputation. Popular models including Honda, Chevy, Ford, Toyota, and others offer that reputation and peace of mind. These automakers offer some of the best vehicles on the road meaning you can count on them for years to come, even if you are the second owner.

Consider Shopping for Certified Pre-Owned

If you’re nervous about purchasing a used vehicle, we don’t blame you. Whether you shop new or used, an auto purchase is a big financial decision. You can give yourself some peace of mind by shopping for certified pre-owned models. Unlike other used cars, certified pre-owned used cars undergo a rigorous multi-point inspection so that you can be certain you’re not getting a dud. Plus, many certified pre-owned models tend to be newer and offer a competitive price point for a vehicle that might be just one or two cycles behind current models.

Shop With an Expert By Your Side

It can be overwhelming navigating a car dealership, or working with a private seller. This is where having a helpful expert by your side can come in handy. Ask someone who you trust — someone with a pretty in-depth knowledge of vehicles — to go with you when you shop and test drive used cars you are interested in. This can be an older big brother or your mechanic. Either way, having an expert by your side allows you to really get a feel for the vehicle you are eyeing.

Take a Quiet Drive

Sure, that used car you’ve been eyeing may look beautiful and all, but does it sound as it should? You can pick up on any noises, rattles, or overall mechanical issues by taking that used car on a quiet test drive. As you venture out on your test drive, be sure to take it on a freeway or highway to pick up some speed. Listen for any noises, rattling, vibrations, or other sounds or issues that you don’t think should be there. This is where bringing along your expert friend or mechanic can come in handy.

Know What the Used Car Is Worth

Just because you shop for used cars does not mean you have to miss out on negotiations and greater savings. Before you venture out to any used car dealer or private seller, know what the vehicle you’re looking at is worth. Use an online tool like Kelley Blue Book to determine what a certain make or model should go for. When you see the vehicle in person, you can negotiate the price down further if you notice any mechanical, cosmetic, or other issues.

Know How Much You Qualify For

Finally, don’t forget to consider your financial standing, how much you qualify for, and how much you should pay for a used vehicle. Crunching the numbers not only helps you get a better sense of what you can afford, but it can also help you secure a better rate and overall financing terms. Being able to put down a bigger down payment, or working out an auto financing agreement that is shorter than most is one of the best ways to get more bang for your buck when you shop for used vehicles.

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