Tips for Buying a Used Car

When you don’t have your own car, you resort to other means of transportation. Some of those like public transport and rideshare services are beyond your control.

You may be a safe driver yourself, but when riding with a Lyft or Uber driver, your safety is in their hands.

Crashes, unfortunately, happen whether you’re driving yourself or using public means. But if you consider the increasing cases of rideshare accidents, you’re probably better off driving yourself.

If you don’t own a car, you have the option of buying or renting one. Now, without a doubt, renting is a terrible financial decision long term, so is buying a brand new car if you’re not prepared financially. That leaves you with the easiest and most affordable option: buying a used car.

One thing, though, used cars come with certain concerns because they are preowned, which means you have to be more strategic and cautious than you would when purchasing a new car. A vin decoder is software that decodes your car’s VIN, and this allows you to get a more thorough history of the vehicle. It is a great option for people looking to buy a used car or those who run a business selling used cars.

The following tips will come in handy when buying a used car:

1. Fund Your Purchase

Money seems like an obvious first step, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision. Many people make mistakes when funding their vehicle purchases, and it all comes down to how much you can afford.

First, draft a budget to protect yourself from overspending. It’ll also help you figure out the source of funding.

If you have cash saved somewhere, you’re good. Otherwise, this is where you reach out to your bank or any other lender for an auto loan.

Other ways to fund your car purchase can be:

  • Personal loans: these are short-term, with high interest but safer as your vehicle won’t be repossessed if you default.
  • Credit card: if you have a good credit score, a dealer may accept partial or complete payment on the card.

2. Search for the Right Car

There are tons of used car dealerships spread out across the nation. Some have an online presence. Some don’t. You may need to search through online listings for dealers in your area and pay them a visit.

Alternatively, you could forget all the hassle and try online marketplaces. They have many advantages like searching by car model or price. Some well-established marketplaces like Autotrader and Carsdirect offer more resources, including financing.

3. Check Out the Dealership

Dealerships vary, and many don’t have a good reputation. If you want to avoid problems, start by researching the car dealer. Look for reviews to get a feel of their business approach.

When you’re satisfied with your online investigation, visit the physical location and confirm that what they advertised is what they have. Remember, numbers are often manipulated on online listings to reel in potential customers.

4. Consider Exclusive Stores

Car dealerships generally specialize in new cars and the latest models because they are fast-moving. But with the rise in popularity of preowned cars, many of these stores have a separate line dedicated to used cars.

The problem with buying pre-owned cars from a new car dealer is that the prices tend to be high. Also, they don’t often have a wide selection of vehicles to pick from because used cars aren’t their priority.

You’re better off going with stores that exclusively sell used cars. They have extensive selections and better deals.

5. Avoid Private Sellers

In today’s connected world, items exchange hands at the touch of a button. You look up “used cars for sale,” and you get tons of offers, including those from private sellers on social media, craigslist, or eBay.

While private sellers are usually bound by circumstances and can sell their goods at incredibly low prices, such trades come with many risks. Those sellers are not registered car sellers, which means whatever business you enter is not regulated, and anything can happen.

6. Bring Along a Mechanic

You can’t afford to be careless when dealing with used cars. Some have exchanged hands several times and may have problems you can’t immediately notice. Add to that the lack of warranties, and it becomes necessary to get the car tested and inspected.

It wouldn’t hurt to bring along a mechanic to give things a professional glance if you can.


Buying a used car isn’t complicated. The paperwork process is similar to that of a new car.

However, the thing with used cars is that you’d need to be thorough to avoid bad deals. Once you get your desired car and before parting with your money, run the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) through Autocheck’s vehicle History Report system. It’s super necessary!


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