Factors in choosing a used car include pricing, value, financing options, aesthetic condition, mechanical condition and the vehicle's history. Researching the vehicle before making a decision helps the consumer get the best deal or avoid buying a car full of problems that will cost money down the road.
Narrowing down the price range and vehicle models saves time on the car lot. This also allows the buyer to use the Blue Book value to determine the average price of a specific model based on condition and whether it is sold at a dealership or by an individual.
Used car dealerships typically offer financing, but consumers should shop around with banks and other lenders. Get pre-approval before shopping for a used vehicle if you want to secure financing without being limited to the dealer's options.
A physical inspection of the car is the first step in determining if it is a solid choice. Look for signs of damage, rust, worn parts or leaks underneath the vehicle. A test drive gives the consumer a feel for how the vehicle runs. Check for a smooth ride and listen for unusual sounds that could indicate a problem.
Dealerships sometimes offer certified used vehicles that are inspected and guaranteed. Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle if it isn't certified. A final check is the vehicle history report, which shows owner history, title issues and previous accidents.