Used Car Shopping Tips for Savvy Consumers

If you are in the market for a used car, you will soon discover that car prices are high even for older models. Supply and demand has pushed up used car prices, especially for vehicles that are fuel efficient. It is very difficult to find a used car that costs under $3,000 unless you’re willing to settle for a very old car or one that needs a lot of work.

The following shopping tips can get you behind the wheel of a used car for less money:

1. Know the market. Likely, you know the type of vehicle that you want. It may be a sports coupe or a family sedan. Begin to check ads on Craigslist and local listing sites to gauge the market. For instance, if you want a midsize sedan that is about five years old with less than 75,000 miles on the odometer, your search criteria should be for cars in that range.

2. Pinpoint your model. Now that you know the market, you need to identify the vehicle you want. Another factor is your budget, therefore if you have $10,000 to spend or finance, then that vehicle should fall within your price range. If it it doesn’t you will need to either change your model, the model year or adjust your budget, perhaps all three.

3. Shop around. There are so many places you can look for a used car. Private sellers flock to sites such as Craigslist and eBay — you should check these sites out as well. Your local new car dealer has vehicles on the lot including some that are certified new and come with a warranty. Besides private lots that exclusively sell used cars, there are larger companies such as CarMax and Auction Direct that also sell used cars.

4. Inspect and drive. Never fall for a vehicle because you love its looks. When shopping for a used car, visit the dealer during the daytime when natural light can show the car’s imperfections including scratches, dents and other blemishes. Look for signs of paint touch up, wheels that are cracked and bumpers that are rusted. Ask the owner or dealer for a comprehensive repair history and take the car for a test drive, listening for sounds out of the ordinary. Obtain a CarFax report and have your mechanic check the car for soundness.

5. Negotiate with knowledge. As a savvy car shopper, you need to know what a car is worth. Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and Consumer Reports are among a handful of sites that can give you accurate information about the price of a car. With this information in hand, you have an excellent starting point for buying a car. Know the car’s value and be prepared to hold your ground when negotiating. If the dealer or private user can’t or won’t lower his price, then simply move on to the next car.

Car Buying Tips

Avoid rushing into the used car market even if your current ride has bitten the dust. Step up the search process, but don’t short cut your research. You want to ensure that you find the car that you need and not get stuck with the one that you think you must have.