Advice for Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle

By Product Expert | Posted in Tips and Tricks on Monday, October 17th, 2016 at 5:38 pm
Tips for Buying a Used Car

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Before the rise of the internet, shopping for a pre-owned car used to be a much more challenging endeavor. However, times have changed, and with many online automotive resources readily accessible, you’re able to arm yourself with much information — giving you the ability to make a wise car purchase decision. Check out these tips for buying a used car. 

Assess Your Budget

Before you even start hunting around for a used car, you’ll want to assess how much you’re willing to spend. Evaluate your budget and calculate your maximum monthly payments. You’ll also want to research your financing options, while also accounting for the costs of tax, title, registration and insurance.

Look for a Car that Best Fits Your Needs

While it’s easy to be attracted to the “flashy” elements of a car or be drawn to one that’s out of your price range, it’s best to look for one that accurately fulfills your needs. Make a list of all the things you need you car to do (e.g. commute to work, good fuel economy) and cross-reference it with the desirable qualities of a vehicle (e.g. body style, colors).

Utilize the Internet for Research

The internet provides a wealth of information to help you in your car buying decision, including sites like Kelley Blue Book and Carfax, as well as reviews from owners of your targeted model. Also, you can head to the websites of manufacturers, for often they provide information on their previous models.

READ MORE: Advantages and Benefits of Buying a Pre-Owned Car

Communication with Seller

You’ll want to make sure you ask the right questions when communicating with the seller of a vehicle. If buying from a private party, ask why they are selling the vehicle. For both private party sellers and dealerships, ask them to describe the vehicle’s condition and request to see the maintenance and mechanical records of the car. Also, ask if it’s o.k. to take the car to a private mechanic for inspection.

Advice for Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle

Check Vehicle History and Safety Report

Every car should have a vehicle title with Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Get the VIN number from your targeted model and use it to get both a history and safety report. AutoCheck is a good online resource to get the vehicle history report, while you can view the car’s recall history by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website.

Pre-Owned Vehicles in Jacksonville FL 

Walk-Around and Test Drive

Give the vehicle a thorough walk-around. Check for things like uneven tire wear, signs of possible body repair or repainting, underbody elements and the condition of each foot pedal, which may show signs of driver abuse. When test driving the vehicle, use this opportunity to gauge its driving characteristics. Things to look out for include seat comfort, cockpit ergonomics, dashboard warning lights, engine noise, steering vibration and brake condition.

Price Negotiation

Before negotiating a price, utilize online resources like Kelley Blue Book and Carfax to determine the car’s average value. Unless the seller states from the onset that the car has a “firm price” or “no haggle pricing,” you can typically negotiate downward. If buying from a private party, you generally can get a cheaper price, but usually the car is sold “as is,” without the assurance of warranty protection that you’ll often get with a dealership. Also, many dealerships sell Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, which enables you to extend the warranties out a number of years.

For more tips and tricks for the automotive world, we encourage you to follow us on the AutoBasics Blog.

29 Responses to “Advice for Buying a Pre-Owned Vehicle”

  1. Danni Black says:

    I really like your tip about utilizing the internet for research when it comes to buying a used car. My husband and I have been thinking about buying a used car for a while now since we are going to be starting a family in the next few years. We will have to keep this information in mind while we are searching, thank you for sharing!

  2. Xavier Salas says:

    I love what you wrote about accessing your budget in this article. Before you purchase any car, I believe that it would be important to know how much you are willing to spend. How much you are willing to spend can change the way you look for a car. A lot of people simply forget that you are not just paying for a car, but you are also paying for tax, title, registration, and insurance as you said. Definitely looking forward, I will think about these words and make sure that I not only have a good deal on a car, but my title and registration fees are not too high. Thanks again for the article!

  3. Luke Smith says:

    Thanks so much for the comment you made about how a pre-owned car won’t lose value as fast (or even at all) as a new car. I would think that this would make the insurance cheaper, and make your investment more sound. In many cases you could probably still buy from a dealership as well and take advantage of any warranties they have to offer, even if the manufacturers warranty has expired.

  4. I really like your tip about making sure that you give the car a walk-around as well as a test drive. That is something that I haven’t done in the past when I was buying a car so I think, since I’m looking into buying a used car, I’ll be sure to do it this time. My husband has been driving my car for the past few weeks since his broke down. I got a new job last week so I will need a means of transportation to get to work. I’ll be sure to keep these tips in mind while I’m searching for the right car for me. Thanks!

  5. Kyle Winters says:

    You never want to skip out on the test drive when buying a used car because it gives you an opportunity to test things like the handling and brakes. If the seller refuses to let you test drive the car than that should be a huge red flag that something is wrong. After all, most vehicle sellers understand that you might be hesitant about the vehicle and that you’d want to see how it feels on the road.

  6. My son just finished all of his classes to get his license, and we thought it might be a good idea to get him a new car. I love that you say to go online and look at reviews from owners of cars you are looking at. I know that I would love to hear their experience with the car, and some of the common problems they ran into.

  7. Sophia watson says:

    The tips are really helpful in buying a used car. We can go online and can do some research and compare both price and condition of different used car. We should also check the historical background of the car and should find out whether the car is associated with any types of criminal activity or not. But, we should inspect that used car by a trusted and certified mechanics before buying it. Because if there is some thing wrong with that car, then our mechanics will find out. If the damage is minor one then it could be fixed by a repairing center, but if the problem is major then you should avoid to buy such car.

  8. Donna Walker says:

    It was a challenging task to buy a pre-owned car before the rise of internet. But now time has changed a lot. By performing online search we can gather much information which are helpful to take proper decision while buying a used car. By online research work we compare the price & condition of different used cars. We should know the vehicle identification number. By using this we can find out the historical background of the car & safety report also. We must go for a test drive & check for things like uneven tire wear, signs of possible body repair or repainting,condition of foot pedals. Other things to check out includes seat comfort,dashboard warning light,engine noise,brake condition etc.

  9. The article makes a fantastic point about how important it is to check the vehicle history before buying any used car. After all, there are several factors included in any vehicle’s history that could determine whether or not you decide to buy it. For example, if the car was used for long commutes then you might consider passing on it since it would have way too many miles.

  10. I am thinking about getting a used car for sale in my area and I would love some tips to get the best vehicle possible. It was really helpful what you said about walking around and test driving the automobile. This will make it easier for me to see what feels natural to drive and what I like stylistically.

  11. Ashley Turns says:

    I like your advice to get the VIN number of the used car you are considering so that you can check out its history and safety report. My husband and I are in need of a new vehicle, and we are wondering how to find the best one. We will definitely have to check out the used car’s VIN number so that we can make sure it is a safe vehicle.

  12. It is really a good tips you have shared. Before purchasing any used car one should inspect some following things which is very helpful. First of check vehicle history.You need to ensure about Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Get the VIN number from your targeted model and use it to get both a history and safety report.Take a test drive before purchasing it. Make a price negotiation these are all primary tips before purchasing a used a car.Apart from that,the other tips are communication with Seller, use internet for searching of a good car, look for a car that best fits your needs, assess your budget.

  13. I appreciate you helping me understand how to buy a used car! One thing that you mentioned that I liked was that you should assess your budget before you buy so that you do not spend too much money. My son is looking to buy a car that he can make adjustments too, and I think that this information is going to be really helpful!

  14. John Cohen says:

    While there are brilliant public movement alternatives, there are certainly the moments where having your own convertible makes the life less complicated. That is the reason why the demand for the automobile is increasing day by day. But due to the limited financial status, some individuals choose a used wheel as their means of conveyance. By purchasing a used automobile, the buyer can take the advantage of the low depreciation cost, low insurance cost, warranty, and roadside assistance. However, all these things can be possible only after making a safe score. In that case, you should follow the above instructions to avoid expensive repairs down the road. N.B- Since, a used convertible is more susceptible to damage, so you must have a good knowledge of the car care missions to circumvent the bane of your life. Truly, a purposeful info. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. I really appreciate how you said that a car should be affordable. I also like how you mentioned that they should have the features that are essential to you. My husband and I are looking into a used car dealership to buy a new family car that is safe.

  16. Zofia Gael says:

    I liked your tip about price negotiation with the research that one do before went to the dealership. This is really helpful because it gives confidence to the buyer since they will know all the information they need to make a good offer. Thank you so much for sharing. Please contact

  17. Kara Hands says:

    Due to financial instability, many people now-a-days prefer to buy used cars. We should follow some tips while buying a used car. First we have to fix our budget. By that we will be able to search for used cars within a limit. Then we should look for a car that suits our need,our lifestyle fitting our budget. We must check the vehicle history report to know whether any accidents has occurred in the past. We must try to get the vehicle identification number & from this we can collect information regarding the servicing of the vehicle in the past. We must go for a test drive to know whether different parts of the car are working properly or not. If you want to buy the best pre-owned cars at the lowest price please visit:

  18. These tips are really important when you consider buying a used car.- used car sale in dhaka bangladesh

  19. The tips discussed in this post are very helpful if you want to buy an used car. These days used cars are coming with certification. Vanderstyne Toyota offers a wide selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks and SUVs. We will find the used vehicle you need at a price you can afford.

  20. Jay says:

    Do I need to make sure the car is registered? Or does the seller have to do that? I don’t want to break any law when I buy this car.

  21. Raymond Mckenzie says:

    Buying a pre-owned vehicle comes with the following advantages.
    1)Insurance cost is low.
    2)The registration fee is much less than the registration fee of a brand new motor car.
    3)The shopper can have a greater medley from which to select.
    4)The used vehicle has a lower price tag, that means a purchaser will get more bang for his buck.
    Sometimes, it can be risky to buy a pre-owned one. Thus, prior to snapping-up a handed-down roadster, make sure it is a certified one. Your responsibility has not over yet. You have to take good care of your older intermediary, like I used to take care of my cast off Jaguar- , for keeping the convertible risk-free and safe for a lasting moment.

  22. Thanks for your comment about how you should look for an auto dealer that offers cars that you can afford. I also like how you said that they should communicate well with you and address your concerns. My husband and I are looking for an auto dealer to buy a car from for our family.

  23. Emma Megan says:

    Buying a used car is much more complicated than buying a new one. There are concerns about what may be breaking or already been fixed. In this blog the author has shared some tips for buying a used car. First we have to set a budget in our mind and then according to that budget we have to search for used cars. We have to look for a car that suits our requirement and lifestyle. We must check the vehicle history report or safety report to know about the past maintenance records. If it has not been maintained properly, we must do it’s proper servicing at a reputed auto repair center and for this you may contact:

  24. Kacie Goodman says:

    Many people who are economically not stable generally prefer to buy used cars. Here in this blog the author has shared some tips for buying a used car. First we should set a budget and then we should search for used cars matching that budget. After that we should check the vehicle safety report or vehicle history report in which we can find the past servicing details of the vehicle. Then we should go for a test drive. Besides all these things, a thorough inspection of the used car must be done by a proficient car mechanic. Finally we should negotiate the price before purchasing the used car.

  25. This is an excellent tips in buying used cars but I would say that extra caution should be made when buying cars posted on social media sites such as facebook.

  26. I like how you mentioned that when buying a used car you should assess your budget. I have been thinking about buying a used car. I will definitely keep your tips in mind when deciding what car to purchase.

  27. easton says:

    I like the tip that you gave to choose to take a test drive before you decide to buy the car. My wife and I have been talking about finding a new car, and it would be important for us to know that we can find one that we will be able know was the right choice. If we choose to find a new car, I will be sure to take it on a test drive beforehand.

  28. Kate Hansen says:

    I like how you included that you should look for a car that will accurately fulfill your needs. My son is wanting to buy his very first car and he’s wondering if he should buy a used one. I’ll make sure to pass this information along to him if he decides to buy a used car.

  29. I really appreciated your idea that you should make a list of all the things a car should do and see if they fit with the style of the car you are looking at. MY son recently returned from a service mission in another country, and he is thinking about starting to work a bit before heading back to college. I think he will need a car for that, and right now he has enough money for a preowned one, so we are looking into finding a good dealer.

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