What is the easiest way to search for used cars?

what is the easiest way to search for used carsSearching for a great used car can be exciting as well as exhausting. There are so many different factors to consider when searching for a used car, including its costs. You can easily enter your ZIP in an online comparison website and compare car insurance rates. This basic step can help you make car ownership more affordable. First, however, you have to find a great car to buy. So what is the easiest way to shop for used cars?

Know What You Want

It can be fun to browse a few used car lots close to home, taking in the interior and exterior design of dozens of different makes and models. After you have visited a few used car lots, however, you can easily begin to feel frustrated. In most cases, browsing used cars is not helpful with finding a great vehicle. It simply gives you a glimpse of what you could own without helping you review the factors that are most important with car ownership. Knowing what you want is a first step toward a faster and easier buying process. Consider these factors:

  • Passenger seating requirements
  • The power of the engine
  • The functional use of the vehicle
  • Special features you may want or need

The Cost of Ownership

After defining factors important to you when buying a used car, you can likely narrow down your options significantly. With the makes and models you are now considering, you can then analyze the cost of ownership. Consider that every car will have different costs associated with it, and some of these costs may vary from vehicle to vehicle. These include:

  • The fuel efficiency rating of the vehicle
  • The cost of car insurance
  • The annual cost of repairs and maintenance
  • Specific repairs and maintenance required on a specific model
  • The type of financing available to you

All of the above factors can be reviewed online with a few basic Internet searches, except for the vehicle-specific repairs and maintenance. You can compare car insurance rates online by entering your ZIP into a rate comparison website. You can research financing options, the fuel efficiency rating and the annual cost of repairs and maintenance for a specific vehicle.

What This Tells You

is the easiest way to search for used carsThus far, the used car buying process has not taken you away from your computer. The Internet is a wealth of information, and you can learn quite a bit about the different makes and models available with just a few minutes of time and effort. By taking these steps, you have narrowed down the options available based on how they conform to your needs. Then you have ranked them according to cost of ownership. When you begin searching for cars now, you will have a better idea about what makes and models you are most interested in.

An Online Search

If you visit used car lots, you may now find that in-person searching is more effective. However, you may have better luck shopping online first. There are several used car websites that can be utilized, as well as local classified listings and local dealership websites that show used cars on their lot. As you search, make a list of the top five to ten options that meet your needs and that have the best combination of sales price and mileage. Generally, the more miles a vehicle has on it, the lower the sales price will be. However, some car sellers who want to sell a vehicle quickly may reduce the sales price lower than competing vehicles. Keep in mind that while a vehicle with higher mileage will be more affordable, it generally will require a greater level of repairs and maintenance.

Scheduling the Test Drive

You may now have a list of five to ten different cars that you are interested in buying. If these are vehicles on dealership or used car lots, you can simply drive over to the lot and request a test drive during business hours. Cars that are offered for sale direct by owner will require you to make an appointment for a test drive.

During Your Test Drive Visit

It is important to review a vehicle thoroughly before you buy it, and this is especially true when buying a used car. Once you buy a car, any mechanical or cosmetic issues become your problem to deal with. Identifying these problems beforehand can help to prevent you from buying a vehicle in poor repair, or it may give you fuel to negotiate a lower sales price. During your test drive visit, thoroughly review the vehicle with a visual inspection. You may not be a mechanic, but even an untrained eye can spot fluid leaks, dings and scratches in the paint job and more.

easiest way to search for used carsA Mechanic’s Review

After your own visual inspection, request approval from the seller for your own mechanic to review the vehicle. This extra step can help you to identify repairs that may be necessary now and in the future, such as a transmission replacement, brake replacement and more. These issues can be costly, and you should be aware of them before you buy a vehicle.

Deciding which used car to buy is a big job. By taking a few key steps, you can make the process of finding a great car faster and easier. After you have found a car you want to buy, be sure to visit a rate comparison website, enter your ZIP and compare insurance rates for the vehicle.

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