4 Used Car Buying Tips for Finding the Most Reliable Vehicle

It’s always a little nerve-racking to purchase a new car—especially when you buy used. Prices for preowned vehicles are more affordable, but they don’t give you the peace of mind you can get with a new car. You never really know if you’ll discover problems with a used vehicle until after you buy it. Fortunately, though, you can decrease that risk with preparation and research. Just use the following used car buying tips.


Figure out your finances.


First, figure out your budget. It’s a good rule of thumb to use no more than 20% of your take-home pay for car-related expenses. That number includes car payments, insurance premiums, repairs, and similar needs. After you decide that, shop for a pre-approved loan option if you need to borrow. Check with different lenders to find the best rate, and then take your loan approval with you to purchase your new vehicle.


Do your research.


One of our most important car buying tips is to always double- and triple-check a preowned vehicle’s quality before buying it. Never purchase without a test-drive, and always have a mechanic inspect the machine, even if you have to pay for that service yourself. Fortunately, some car lots include inspections in their deals, so ask the sales staff about covering mechanics fees.


It’s also a good idea to run a vehicle history report and check a car’s accident history and its number of previous owners. If your dealership doesn’t have one, you can get a report through services like CARFAX or AutoCheck.


Finally, research the vehicle’s value before negotiating a price. Pricing guides such as the Kelley Blue Book will help.


Think through negotiations.


Negotiating can be a stressful part of the purchasing process. But fortunately, we have some used car buying tips to help with haggling, as well.


First, always be prepared. Never start negotiations without a preapproved loan, a vehicle history report, and information from a pricing guide.


Second, start on the phone. If you negotiate at the lot, you’ll be more likely to leave with the car, even if you don’t get the deal you want.


Third, start low. Never begin with the price you want to pay because the seller will always negotiate higher.


Fourth, be ready to walk. Don’t ever let a salesperson talk you into paying more than you can afford.


Find the right insurance.


Remember to add the vehicle to your auto insurance policy when taking ownership of it. Our agents are happy to help you find the right rate for your new purchase.