Tips for Buying Used Cars

In the midst of a pandemic, the safest mode of transportation is by using your own private vehicle. It can prevent you and your family from contracting the virus from other people. But not everyone can buy a car in an instant, and not everyone can buy a brand new car.

Buying a used car is a great way to save some cash, but finding the right one could be challenging. This is why we have created a list of tips to help you find the perfect used car to fit your lifestyle.

1. Budget

If you are going to apply for a loan to pay for your car, your monthly car payment should not be more than 20% of your monthly income. And if you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider spending even less. Used cars need a little more attention from time to time compared to a brand new car. Paying for new tires and the car's maintenance isn't cheap, so you would need to have extra cash for that.

If you are eyeing a car that is out of warranty, you might want to set aside an extra fund that would cover unexpected repairs.

2. Create a Target List of Used Cars

We all know that Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are nice cars from reputable makers, but they also cost a few thousand dollars more compared to Optima by Kia or Ford Fusion which are also good brands and models. So, if you want to save some money, try to look for more than one brand. Creating a list with at least four cars that fit your needs and budget is a must.

If you are planning to purchase a used car that is less than five years old, look for a vehicle that is certified pre-owned (CPO). CPO vehicles have longer warranties backed by the car brand, not just from the dealer selling it to you.

3. Compare Prices

You can find used cars in independent car lots, new car dealerships, websites where private individuals list their cars, and used car retailers. Out of these four, you can find the lowest selling price from the private individuals who sell their own cars. Most of the time, CPO vehicles cost more.

You might want to check how much other people pay for the models that made it to your list.

4. Check the Reviews and Rankings

Checking car reviews is one of the most critical steps in buying used cars. You can look for an online owner's group and see the issues owners experienced with specific vehicles. You can find people talking about transmission issues they experienced after reaching the 70,000 miles mark.

Owner's groups are a perfect source of information about maintaining your own car.

5. Know the Vehicle History

Getting a vehicle history report is essential in buying a used car, especially if you are not buying from a family member or a friend who can vouch for the car's history. You would like to know if the vehicle you are looking at does not have a good history report sooner than later.

There are a lot of websites where you can find vehicle history reports. These reports can show important information about the car. You can also determine if the odometer has been rolled back if the title was declared a total loss by the insurance company. Most car dealers give these reports for free if they have the car in their inventory.

6. Know the Seller

Once you have a prospect for the car, don't go straight away to see it. You need to call the seller first. This is a good way to establish a relationship between you and the seller. This way, you can verify the car information, and you can also ask private-party sellers why they are selling their car. If you are buying from a dealer, you can call them to ask if the vehicle is still in stock.

The seller might mention something that was not in the ad that might change your mind to buy the car. But if things go well, you can set up an appointment to test-drive the vehicle.

7. Test-Drive

Doing a test-drive is the best way to find the right car for you. It is also a great way to check the car's condition.

Top 10 Used car and Used car websites as ranked by people like you

The Community ranked the best Used car websites so that you can find what you need. Help improve the ranking by voting too.

Last updated: 2024-07-15

Rank

Provider

Description & Features

Site

1

674

Used Cars for Sale - Autotrader
Used Cars for Sale - Autotrader
Finding a Used Car on Autotrader is the best way to start your next used car purchase! Autotrader offers the most extensive car inventory near you, and the tools to help get you informed like the Kelley Blue Book?? Price Advisor, vehicle car reports, and Accelerate My Deal - to get you in your next car faster. A used car purchase can be a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck on your ...

2

624

Used Cars for Sale - CarMax
Used Cars for Sale - CarMax
Search for new and used cars at carmax.com. Use our car search or research makes and models with customer reviews, expert reviews, and more.

3

578

Used Cars for Sale | with Free CARFAX
Used Cars for Sale | with Free CARFAX
Find the Cars You Want Avoid the ones you don’t! Start your search for a used car, truck or suv by its vehicle history. Carfax has millions of used cars for sale, including certified pre-owned autos from dealers nationwide.

4

535

Cars.com
Cars.com
Shop new & used cars, research & compare models, find local dealers/sellers, calculate payments, value your car, sell/trade in your car & more at Cars.com.

5

495

Used Cars for Sale - Find Great Deals with CarGurus - CarGurus
Used Cars for Sale - Find Great Deals with CarGurus - CarGurus
CarGurus Instant Market Value™ is the estimated fair retail price for a vehicle based on similar listings in the market. We analyze millions of currently listed and recently sold cars to determine the CarGurus Instant Market Value™ for a vehicle based on year, vehicle condition, trim, mileage, transmission, options, region and other factors.

6

459

TrueCar
TrueCar
Shop for new and used cars and trucks. Read real owner reviews, get a discounted TruePrice from a Certified Dealer and save an average of $3,106 off MSRP with TrueCar.

7

425

CarGurus
CarGurus
Unbiased car reviews and over a million opinions and photos from real people. Use CarGurus to find the best used car deals.

8

393

Used Cars For Sale: 1,010,772 Used & Pre-Owned Cars | TrueCar
Used Cars For Sale: 1,010,772 Used & Pre-Owned Cars | TrueCar
Buy With Confidence. Get the best used car buying experience when you purchase from a TrueCar Certified Dealer who is dedicated to great service, and saving you time and money.

9

364

Used Cars for Sale Online Near Me | Cars.com
Used Cars for Sale Online Near Me | Cars.com
Browse cars for sale, shop the best deals near you, find current loan rates and read FAQs about financing and warranties at Cars.com.

10

337

Autotrader.com
Autotrader.com
Find used cars and new cars for sale at Autotrader. With millions of cars, finding your next new car or used car and the car reviews and information you're looking for is easy at Autotrader.

Used car videos considered

We analyzed 6,503 hours of the most informative Used car videos. These videos stood out the most:

Local Used car near you

Make & Model

New York, NY 10009

Signature Auto Group

9265 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

Major Auto Show

212 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Bling Bling Auto Sales Corp

79-11 Cypress Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Best Buy Auto Leasing

81 Prospect St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The Car Guys

425F Wild Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314

Next Car For You

109 Engert Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

World Wide Automobile

9818 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

Enterprise Car Sales

108-14 Astoria Blvd, East Elmhurst, NY 11369

Useful Used car Resources

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This comparison site is made up of our own opinions and views. The ranking is determined at our discretion and is not to be used for accuracy purposes. We can provide this service at no charges thanks to a combination of referral fees and advertising income we receive from various publishers and service providers. These payments may affect our rankings and the score we assign to websites, products, and vendors. Our ratings do not imply endorsement of any kind. This website's information, rankings, and vendor list is subject to change without notice at any time.