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How To Buy A Used Car

How to buy a used car link to Edmunds website


This article on How To Buy A Car website aims to answer your question on How To Buy A Used Car. The process of buying a used car can be completed in seven steps:

  • Finding a used car
  • Checking the history of used cars
  • Get your car checked by a mechanic
  • Finding finance for the used car (optional step)
  • Negotiating the used car price
  • Finalizing your deal
  • Getting an extended warranty to protect yourself from heavy repair bills

This article will cover each step in detail, thus protecting you from buying a lemon.

How To Buy A Used Car – Road Map For Used Car Purchase


Step 1: Finding a used car


Unlike a new car purchase, buying used cars is different. Each used car is entirely unique with a different history, mileage and price. The first step in used car purchase is used car search. Fortunately, with the arrival of Internet this has become a lot simpler than what it used to be. You can find used cars online at:

Of all these sources, we recommend you to check large used cars websites such as TrueCar.com and Edmunds.com. Not only these websites have huge listing of used cars, they also offer free vehicle history report for select listings.

Step 2: Checking the history of used cars


You can get to know the history of used cars with the aid of vehicle history reports. These reports offer details on previous owners, accident data, odometer rollbacks and much more. Hence they are very important when buying a used car. If you are searching for used cars in TrueCar.com and Edmunds.com, you will be offered a free vehicle history report for select listings. However, if a vehicle history report is not available for the used car of your choice, you can get vehicle history report from VinAudit.comVinCarHistory.comVinAlert.com and VinUnited.com. For more information on vehicle history report visit this YouTube video.

How to buy a used car

A word of caution! Please do not rely on the vehicle history reports offered by the used car owner or used car dealerships. There is a good chance that these might be modified such that they favor the seller. Also ensure that Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is same in the various locations of the car i.e. insurance policy, title document, vehicle registration, driver’s side dashboard and driver’s side door.

Step 3: Getting your car checked by a mechanic


The next step during the purchase of used car is to get the car checked by a professional mechanic. You can find a mechanic in online directories such as YellowPages. You can also order vehicle inspection online at CarChex. Getting your used car inspected is important despite getting vehicle history report because vehicle history reports are not fool proof. Moreover some local governments do not supply accident report to the providers of these vehicle history reports, and accidents with a damage of less than $1000 are not reported in used car vehicle history reports.

Step 4: Finding finance for the used car


If you are planning to buy a used car by paying cash, skip this step. You can get used car finance quotes from online providers such as 1800AutoYesmyAutoloan.comAutomotive and Web2Carz. Even if you are buying a used car from a dealer, we recommend you to get car loan quotes online as this is a profit area for the used car dealer and the interest rates offered by the used car dealer are normally higher compared to the rates offered by online loan providers.  A word of caution! Used car financing is usually not available for cars more than five years old.

Step 5: Negotiating the used car price


In this step we will show you the process of how to negotiate for a used car. Before you begin negotiating on the price ensure you have the AutoTrader or KBB used car value details, car inspection report from professional mechanic and vehicle history report.  Also ensure you have taken the car for a test drive and have clarified any abnormalities noticed by you. While negotiating the price, forget about the price quoted by the seller. Offer a price to the seller based on the data you have at hand. Do not forget to add extra amount for the options available in the car and subtract for high mileage (an average of 12000 miles in a year is considered normal), bad tires etc.

Step 6:   Finalizing your deal


Once you completed the price negotiations, the next step will be finalizing the used car deal. Keep the following in your mind before making payment and driving away with your car:

  • Even if you are a cash buyer, do not pay for the used car using cash. Pay using a check or credit card. This will safeguard you against any unexpected issues that arise after closing the deal
  • Ensure that you have the title.  Never take delivery of your used car without the title, even if the title is with the lender
  • Never buy a used car from the used car dealers with the clause “as is” in the sale deal. Used car dealers are supposed to offer a minimum warranty of 30 days. However, when buying from used car owners it will always be “as is”.

After completing the purchase, check with your state regarding procedures for transferring title and do the needful to get the car registered in your name.

Step 7: Getting an extended warranty


Although this is an optional step, it is highly recommended when buying a used car. Extended warranties safeguard you against heavy repair bills. Do not opt for extended warranties offered by the used car dealers. They are usually priced higher when compared to the options available online. We recommend TocoWarranty, CarChex and SmartAutoWarranty. Before you buy warranty for used car, get extended warranty quotes from multiple providers and choose the plan that is comprehensive and affordable. For additional information on extended warranty and companies offering extended warranty quotes, please click here.

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