Focus on Reliability
Narrow your shopping list by targeting models known for reliability, a virtue that becomes more important as a car ages and falls out of warranty.
Know the Value of the Vehicle
Condition, mileage, age, equipment levels, and the region all affect vehicle value. Know the true value of your candidate car, regardless of what the seller is asking.
Be Wary of Costly Add-Ons
Service contracts, glass etching, undercoating, and paint sealants are all unnecessary add-ons to help the dealership maximize its profits. Don't buy them.
Get Your Financing Secured
Go to a bank or credit union and be approved for a loan before you go to the dealership. The dealer may even try to beat their rate.
Visit a Mechanic
Don't let the dealer tell you they've inspected the car for you. Take the vehicle to a qualified mechanic that routinely does automotive diagnostic work.
More tips for used car buyers
Skip Extended Car Warranty
Surveys show it is rare that the premium you pay will equal the amount of a paid repair claim down the line—unless you choose a model known to have a troubled reliability history.