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how to buy a used car

Buying a car is no easy decision, whether you decide to go for something brand-spanking new, or you choose an older model for its affordability. Whether you’re buying a car for the first time or you’ve had previous used cars before, it’s always good to know what you should be looking out for in order to get the best option for you and your needs. So with that being said, here are six tips for buying a used car.

Do Your Research

First, do your research when it comes to the type of car you’re after. There are so many makes and models available that it can be quite overwhelming with knowing where to start. If you’ve bought a car before, then you’ll likely have some idea of what works for you and what doesn’t. However, when it’s your first experience of buying a car, you’ll likely have a lot of research to do in order to understand what you require and what don’t need in a car. Think about the features you’ll need and whether you prefer to have something that looks the part as well as running the way you’d like it. With newer models, you’re likely to have more access to technology, whereas older models are going to have very basic systems in place.

There are a lot of electric and hybrid models hitting the new and used car market now too. These can be a great option for those looking to move away from traditionally powered cars. There are many models like Prius and Teslas for sale for great prices now. If you’ve never thought of buying an eclectic vehicle before, why not take a look and see if it could work for you.

Some of our favorite places to research used cars are Cars.com and Edmunds though Kelly Blue Book is the top guide available that will tell you what to expect to get when selling, or pay when buying a used car. However, we also encourage you to check out car bloggers for reviews before making a decision too. Sites like Guys Gab tend to be more subjective on their car reviews and include actual user experience opinions rather than cut and dried journalist reports.

It’s worth making a list of the things you like and want, as well as the things that you don’t want. That way, you’re more likely to make an informed decision instead of one you might later regret making. Start looking at  to begin with, and expand your search depending on your preferences.

Give Yourself A Reasonable Budget

A reasonable budget is something that you want to give yourself when buying a car because new or old, they’re not a cheap commodity. They’re expensive to buy and also costly to run too. With that said, you want to set a budget in regards to your overall spend. This will be how much you’re going to pay for the car and this might be dependent on the finance option you choose.

The running costs are something that needs factoring in because that might be a lot more than you’d expect. It’s dependent on the car itself and what sort of fuel it operates on. Certain cars will have higher taxes and insurances to pay, so it’s good to know all this before you put any deposit or payment down. 

Try to keep costs down where you can so that you’re not stretching yourself too thin.

Go Through Trusted Sites & Companies

Going through trusted sites and companies not only gives you peace of mind that you’re shopping with legitimate individuals but you’re also going to get the best advice and guidance. While there are plenty of car lots where you can buy a used car, almost every new car dealership also offers used cars as well. Not only does this ensure that you have the backing of a corporate dealer network but also can be certain that there's a service department to back it up. For instance, if you buy a used Dodge from Norristown CDJR, it is almost certain that you know where to take it for OEM level repairs and that they have been authorized by the manufacturer to provide that level of service. 

That being said though, an established dealership isn't the only solution. There are plenty of used car networks today such as Carvana and CarMax that have shed that slimy "used car dealer" stigma.

If you’re not sure of who to approach, then it’s always worth asking friends and family for their recommendations. Usually, when it comes to things like this, it’s always good to get advice from those you trust, especially when it’s a costly expenditure. 

Bring A Friend

When you’re buying a car, especially if it’s used, it’s good to take along a friend. Even if you’re going to a recognized car dealership, it’s always useful to have someone there who might know a bit more about cars than you do. A friend can be useful when you’re perhaps approaching a private seller and may be going to an area that you don’t know and therefore you’re not sure of what to expect. Taking along a friend can give you that support and the backing just in case anything did go wrong or it didn’t seem right.

When picking a friend or family member, choose someone who is going to be able to  also give you advice on the car itself. Someone experienced in buying cars would definitely be useful to have.



Go For A Test Drive Or Two

Thinking about the car you want might all be well and good when you’re looking at the spec, but if you don’t like how it feels when you drive, then there’s really no point in getting the car. You should drive a car that you feel comfortable in and that will enable you to be a better driver as a result. So with that being said, if you’re happy with the car itself from appearance and the spec, then make sure to take it for a test drive or two. Two test drives are ideal and this could be on separate days where weather conditions might be different.

This will help to get a real feel for the car and to also spot any errors or lies within what’s been sold to you. Pay attention to everything when you’re driving it so that you know it’s the right car for you.

Make Sure You Have All The Documents 

And finally, like with anything that you buy, you’ll always be providing with documents. Documents for buying a used car should be all the previous paperwork that is in reference to the car. Be sure to have all the documents you need in order to know that what you’ve been told is legitimate, especially when it comes to its MOT and relevant tests/check-ups. Don’t be afraid to ask for this information, especially if it hasn’t already been provided. If they refuse to or make excuses, then that’s likely going to be a red flag for you.

Buying a used car is something that takes time and research. Make sure you do your digging on what you want and that you only buy a car that is right for you and your needs.

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.