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There are many benefits to buying used cars. In fact, drivers have a better chance of negotiating a deal on a quality used car versus a brand-new one. If you’re currently in the market for a used vehicle, you’ll want to have a step-by-step plan before heading down to the dealership. Here are 10 ways you can get a good deal on a used car, according to U.S News:

1. Conduct your own research

Ahh, research. Not everyone loves it, but it’s extremely important during shopping. For instance, you’ll want to consider what vehicle is going to fit your price range, driving needs, and lifestyle. You can also read reviews and online rankings by automotive gurus. Another research tip is to explore the marketplace and try to find the best possible price.

2. Get pre-approved first

You always want to start the financing process and get pre-approved for financing before you begin shopping. Why? You want to find a financing deal that will be best for your current situation, not on the dealership’s terms.

3. Search the net

As you search for that perfect used car, consider thinking outside the box. If you can, look for used cars in surrounding cities, on Craigslist, or on Facebook Marketplace. Additionally, Carmax and Carvana can bring vehicles directly to you from other areas.

4. Shop when others aren’t

According to U.S News, “Used car prices are set by supply and demand. When supply is low and demand is high, like today, prices will be high. As a used car buyer, look for places in the market with ample supply and low demand.” For example, you might want to shop for a convertible in New York City during the winter.

5. Analyze the deal on the used car

Ensure you’re cautious when working with a salesperson at the dealership. They may try to include the value of your trade-in, the financing, and the vehicle price together. You’ll want these three parts in separate transactions.

6. Try not to focus on the payment

It’s easy to drive all your attention to monthly payments but try not to do this. Instead, you will want to consider the car’s total cost, including any fees, interest, and taxes on the loan. Thinking about all three will get you the monthly rate you want.

7. Find special used car deals

You may want to think about purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle. These cars are low-mileage and late-year models, so you know they’ll be in like-new condition. They also come with warranties backed by their automaker. Plus, you might be able to find special financing deals.

8. Know where you shouldn’t buy

A used car dealership window 'SALE' sign and reflection of models on the lot in Detroit, Michigan
A used car dealership window sign | Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sometimes, buying at the wrong dealership won’t get you a good deal. This means the chances of you getting a lemon may increase. So, even with bad credit, try to avoid Buy Here Pay Here dealerships. They price their cars high on top of high-interest rates.

9. Watch your emotions

Buying a car can be exciting, but it’s also a huge investment. When it comes down to the transaction, it’s best to keep those emotions to yourself. If you’re a first-time car buyer, bringing a friend or family member may be best.

10. If you think you’re getting a bad deal – walk away

The best thing you can do when shopping for a car is know when to walk away. There is no legal obligation until you sign on the dotted line. If something doesn’t feel right, step out and take a second to yourself to think.

All in all, buying a used car doesn’t need to be a daunting task. On the contrary, it can be an enjoyable experience with the proper research and information!


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