How To Buy a Quality Used Car

If you’re considering buying a used car, it’s probably because you’ve heard about what a fantastic value you can get.  Since a new car can depreciate in value by as much as 10-40% the first year regardless of how much it’s been used, you can potentially find something that’s nearly identical to a car you’d see on a new lot for a fraction of the price that it costs new.

That’s not to say that buying a used car doesn’t come with plenty of risks, however.  It’s important to know your way around the process so that you can avoid a sour deal which could leave you on the losing end.

Here are some of the best tips to get you started on finding a used car for a great value.

Set Your Budget

The first thing that you’ll need to do is determine how much money you have to spend.   If you’ve put away savings and have cash, great.   However, if you’re like a lot of people, you may have to take out a loan.  As a general rule of thumb, your monthly payments shouldn’t be more than 20% of your monthly salary.

If you have a modest salary, then you may want to consider even less so that you don’t find yourself in over your head.

It’s important to remember that your monthly loan installments won’t be all that you pay for your car.  You’ll also have to incorporate emergency repair savings, gas, insurance, and in some cases, parking.

Decide On What Kind Of Car You Want

It’s important to take a look at your lifestyle and determine what the best car is for you.  If you’re someone who commutes every day, then you’ll probably want to look at a small sports car which is known for good gas mileage.

However, if you’re someone who often goes on outdoor trips, or carries large loads, you’ll want to go with a larger truck or sports utility vehicle.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve got a vision of what it is that you’re after, it’s time to start researching what kind of dealerships and private owners are selling in your area.

Even though you may get excited quickly over listings that you see, it’s best to take it slow and weigh out all of your options.  Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to making educated purchases.

Check Vehicle History Report

Once you choose the car that you want and have taken it for a test drive, you should check the vehicle history report.  There you’ll find the history of any accidents or essential information that you need to know about the car.


When you’re ready to buy the car that you’ve chosen, it’s time to negotiate a price that works for you and the seller.  As long as you both seem satisfied with the price and it’s in the ballpark of the going rate, you’re probably both ready to make a deal.

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