How can I find good used cars?
Thoroughly researching used cars is one of the best steps you can take prior to making a purchasing decision. Finding all the facts about a car allows you to buy the vehicle that best fits your budget and needs. Keep these tips in mind while conducting the search for a used car. After you’ve done your fact-checking, enter your ZIP code to compare car insurance rates for your new purchase online.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Used Car
Buying a car is a big decision. When buying a used car, there are a number of factors you should keep in mind to ensure that you are making a smart purchase. Carefully evaluate a car before you make a final purchasing decision.
- Your Budget - This is probably the single-most important factor you’ll need to take into consideration when shopping for a used car. Establish a budget before you begin your search.
- Your Needs - How are you going to use the car? Will it be an everyday vehicle or do you plan on taking long road trips? Search for a vehicle that is suited to how you want to use it.
- Your Mechanical Know-How - If you’re thinking of buying an older car or a classic, seriously consider how much mechanical skill you have. Only purchase a high-maintenance car if you have the money or skill to keep it in good running order.
- Insurance Costs - Buyers often overlook the cost of insuring a used car. Be sure to get reliable insurance quotes before going through with a purchase.
Understanding Used Car Prices
You’ve evaluated your budget and have begun searching for that perfect used car. If you haven’t purchased a used car before, you may not be familiar with used car pricing. You can find general price information in publications such as The Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides. Take into consideration the following factors, which impact used car pricing.
- Make, Model and Year - These are probably the most important factors that impact overall used car price.
- Overall Condition - It should go without saying that a car in excellent condition will command a higher price than a car with many mechanical or body issues.
- Mileage - The total number of miles on the engine can seriously impact price. Even if the original engine has been replaced, you should pay attention to this figure. The transmission, radiator and other mechanical components may have suffered heavy wear.
- Luxury Options and Add-ons - If the seller had significant modifications made to the car, they may ask a higher price. Expect to pay a bit more for a high-quality stereo system, aftermarket rims and other body modifications.
Where to Find Used Cars
Finding used vehicles for sale is easy no matter where you live. It’s best to have a make or model of car in mind before you begin a serious search. Knowing what kind of vehicle you’re looking for can help you slim down your search field and can make the research process more manageable. Keep the following markets in mind as you begin your used car search.
- Local Newspapers and Classified Ads - In many area, special publications are dedicated solely to ads for used cars, trucks and leisure vehicles. If you buy a used car locally, you’ll have the advantage of meeting the owner face-to-face and seeing the car before you buy it. You can also be sure that the car will pass all the necessary smog tests in your state or municipality.
- Online Auction Sites - Keep in mind that you may need to pay for the shipping or transportation of a vehicle if you buy it from an individual who lives outside your immediate geographic area. Buying a used car online has many advantages, including a greater selection of vehicles and a broader price range. Websites that allow sellers to list cars are particularly convenient if you’re looking for a specific vehicle and cannot find it in your local area.
- Traditional Car Dealerships - If you have an established relationship with a car dealer in your area, you may wish to buy from him or her. Some car dealerships also offer certified pre-owned vehicles. Such cars have been screened for a variety of mechanical and performance issues; they are generally sold with a warranty. Keep in mind that you may pay a higher price at a car dealership than from a private seller.
Buy with Confidence
Above all, don’t make a rash decision when purchasing a used car. Do your research and evaluate the vehicle thoroughly before making a purchase. Once you’ve gathered your facts, be sure to enter your ZIP code to compare car insurance rates and quotes online.