Buying a used car is often a very smart move, but it should never be one that's made impulsively. Whether you're buying from a private seller or from a used car dealer, being armed with knowledge beforehand is essential.


According to ThinkWithGoogle, it's estimated that more than 90% of people buying cars do online research first. That should include you too. Figure out what you want in a car, including color, size, features, etc, and start researching online.

Set a Budget

Before you visit a used car dealer, you need to set a price range for your new vehicle. When you talk to a dealer, mention your budget range, but not your target price. This will help you as you try to negotiate a price.

Consider Financing

It always helps to have cash ready when buying a car, but if you don't have any, you can look into financing options beyond what a dealership offers. A local credit union is a great place to get an auto loan at a great rate.

Use a Car Report

Whether you use CarFax or another site, run a history report on any car you're interested in buying. Some dealerships run car reports, but just to be safe, do the research yourself.

Go for a Drive

Before you sign on the dotted line, take any car you want to buy for a test drive. This way, you can see how the car handles on the road, test it on different roads, and see overall whether you like it or not.

Car Inspection

In addition to a test drive, have any prospective cars inspected by a mechanic. You can also do a basic visual check of the car yourself, but have a mechanic look under the hood and run some basic tests. This way you'll know for sure if there are any lingering issues with the car.

Be Prepared to Say No

One important thing to remember is that you don't need to buy a car if you don't feel comfortable. Don't let a used car dealer or any other seller pressure you into making an impulse buy. In the worst-case scenario, you'll keep shopping around until you find a car and a deal that are right for you. It's your money, so use it wisely.

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