Buying a used car

After new car sales were all the rage a few years ago — with a huge percentage of those sales being leases — there are now more affordable used cars on dealers’ lots than the auto industry knows what to do with. In other words, it’s a pretty good time to look at buying a new used car if you’ve been thinking about getting rid of your old car for a while now. But if you don’t have any experience buying a used car and you don’t know where or how to start, the car buying process can seem a bit intimidating.

So just to help you out, here are a few simple tips to get you started when you’re looking at used cars for sale:

  • The first step, when buying a used car, is to figure out how much you can really afford to spend. You’re probably looking at used cars, and not new cars, because you can’t exactly afford a brand new car — and with the price of cars these days, that’s completely understandable. If a car is too cheap, seemingly without reason, that could be a sign that it’s had a bunch of repairs or has a lot of mileage on it.

  • On a related note, once you find a car you like, you should always check out its history report — and there are tons of resources available online, if not from the dealer, that will help you out here. You’ll want to know everything from previous repairs, to the number of tire changes/oil changes, to any problems that the past owner may have experienced. It isn’t the end of the world if a car has had some maintenance done in the past, but you’ll want to know about it before you buy it.

  • Finally, make sure that you take the car for a test drive, ideally through a bunch of different road conditions and traffic conditions. Sometimes a car looks good online or while it’s parked in the lot, but it just doesn’t feel right when you get behind the wheel — and that’s perfectly okay!

More than anything else, the best thing to do when you’re buying a used car is to take your time and do your research. A used car may not cost as much as a new car, but it’s still a big investment — and you deserve to know exactly what you’re getting!
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