10 Best Used Car Buying Tips

Buying a used car is an ideal way to save money and avoid the expensive price tags attached to brand-new models. However, you still need to approach the purchasing process with the same level of consideration and caution you would when investing in a factory-fresh vehicle.

The following 10 best used car buying tips will give you all the help you need to get great value for money from your local dealership. 

Understand What You Want

First and foremost, think about the most practical aspects of your ideal used car. What do you need from it, and why?

  • Do you need to fit three kids in the back, or is it just for yourself?

  • Do you need the vehicle to cope with certain extra strains, such as hauling a trailer or driving in extreme weathers?

  • Do you expect to make long journeys on a regular basis, or is just for daily short trips?

  • Do you want to get the most economical model you can, or is the miles per gallon not a major concern?

Define the features you simply cannot manage without and think about potential applications you may need the car for in the future (more kids, a large dog, changing to a new location with a different climate).

Set a Realistic Budget

You need to be firm with your budget when buying a used car. It can be tempting to add a few extra thousand to your affordability scale if a sporty little number catches your eye, but you need to err on the side of caution. Work out the maximum you can afford alongside other financial responsibilities and aim below that. It’s vital to leave yourself a little wiggle room for potential financial emergencies. 

Research Local Dealerships Financing Options

Your local used car dealership may offer its own in-house financing, possibly with fast approvals regardless of your credit history. A poor credit score can be a real obstacle to securing a car loan from a bank, but if you can get financing through the dealership, you’ll have an all-in-one package. The dealer will be able to help you find the right loan amount and term for your finances, pinpointing the most suitable vehicle models for your budget.

Contact your local dealerships to see what financing is available and ask for details on the type of vehicles they have within your price range.

 Ask for A Test Drive

A test drive is obviously a critical part of the buying process. This is your chance to get a feel for the car and discover just how well it suits your needs. When you get behind the wheel, think about the following factors:

  • Do you feel comfortable in your driving position, and can it be adjusted to a position you’re happy with?

  • Can you fit everything you need into the space (child seats, pets, sporting goods, work equipment etc.)?

  • Try to cover some of the different routes you’ll need the car for (highways, country roads).

  • Do the brakes work as quickly and smoothly as they should?

  • Does the engine sound healthy, and will its noise be an annoyance?

  • How is the suspension?

  • Will it fit into your garage or parking spaces safely and comfortably?

Factor in Extra Costs

You need to consider more than the cost of the car itself – can you afford the operating expenses? Look into the average fuel costs for the specific model and figure out how much you’re likely to burn through with your expected usage. There are fuel-consumption estimation tools online you can use. How much will the insurance run you? How about any little changes you feel you might have to make, or if you need repairs or roadside assistance? Be sure you can cover all costs associated with the car you have in mind before committing to anything. 

Check the Vehicle’s History

Your used car dealership may be able to provide you with a comprehensive history for the vehicle, but if not, run a check with Carfax. This will let you know if the car has been involved in any accidents and its odometer reading. If not available from the dealer, all you need is the Vehicle Identification Number.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Obvious Questions

Feeling intimidated by your dealer? Don’t be embarrassed if you simply don’t understand certain features on the car or have little knowledge of driving in general (if this is your first vehicle). Your dealer wants to help you find the perfect car for your money, so ask any questions you feel you need to. You may regret it if you don’t.

Don’t Forget the Warranty

Used car dealerships will offer different warranties on their vehicles. This may be 30 days or longer, but it’s important to know what it is before you commit to the purchase. 

Consider a CPO Car

Certified Pre-Owned cars cost a little more than standard used vehicles, but they are maintained to match the manufacturer’s requirements. Any repairs or replacements required will be made, and the car is inspected by a trained mechanic for maximum quality.

CPO cars will have miles on the odometer, but basically feel as good as new. Your local used car dealership may offer a selection of CPO options, so don’t be afraid to ask. Just be prepared to see higher prices than with standard used vehicles.

Don’t Push Too Hard When Negotiating A Deal

Certain dealerships may be open to negotiating prices, but others won’t: the cost is the cost, and they may not budge. Test the waters gently – if there’s no room to discuss a lower rate, let it go. Your dealer is not obligated to haggle, but there’s no harm in asking if the marked price is final. It’s also worth mentioning If you’ve seen a better deal on a certain model elsewhere.

By following these 10 best used car buying tips, you can help yourself get real value for the money, secure the ideal vehicle for your everyday needs, and rest assured that you’ve spent wisely. G&E Motors is Pennsylvania’s best pre-owned car and truck dealership, with over 20 years of sales and financing experience. Our professional staff can ensure an enjoyable car shopping experience; we can put you in the car or truck that best fits your needs and budget, with guaranteed loan approval

Every G&E vehicle comes with:

  • a 115-Point quality inspection performed by in-house Certified Technicians,

  • a Free Carfax Report

  • a 30-Day or 1000-Mile Warranty

Come by and see the impressive inventory we have on our lot and get the car or truck you’ve been looking for, at a price you can afford.