When shopping for a used car, keep a budget in mind and stick to it. Arrange financing and research the car values on the J.D. Powers website for that particular vehicle. J.D. Powers offers ratings for thousands of different makes and models.
J.D. Powers rates each car and truck using an index score and gives each a Power Circle rating, ranging from five power circles for the best to two for the worst. Cars scoring a two usually score at around 20 percent of the range below industry standards, notes JDPower.com. Cars receiving a five Power Circle rating must fall within the top 10 percent of industry standards and are rated as "among the best" in their class.
Prospective buyers can use these ratings to help determine the best automobile for the money.