Tips, Tricks & Trends

Consumer Reports Best Tips For Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car can be enjoyable if you focus on the amount of money that you are paying in comparison to new car dealership costs, but it can also be stressful. There is a small gamble you take when buying a used car, and for many people, there are red flags that aren’t as obvious to check for as they should be. If you aren’t a frequent car buyer – which most people aren’t – then there are probably some tips you don’t think about when you’re headed out to shop for a new car. Consumer Reports compiled a list of the best advice to use when shopping for a used car, and it can save you from buying a lemon and help you get into a car that’s best for you.

Prices and financing on a used car

The biggest benefit of buying a car used as opposed to new is that you are typically paying a fraction of the new car price. This also makes it a little bit harder to figure out exactly what price is fair for the car you are looking at. There are websites like Kelley Blue Book that help us get a better idea of how a used car should be priced, but there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

Used car buying
Used car buying | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The first thing that you should look at is the car’s condition. If there is any visible damage to the body, headlights, and interior that would be costly to repair. The second thing that you should look at is the car’s mileage. Higher mileage cars run a higher risk of needing major repairs as mechanical pieces wear and break over time. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a car with higher mileage, but it is something that affects the car’s overall value.

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When it comes down to it, car sales are a business and dealers are looking to make a profit, but it important to be aware of what the car is actually worth and not be bullied into paying more than you need. Many car dealers offer the ability to register your car at the dealership and that is a necessary additional cost to take into consideration as well.

Looking for a reliable used car

It is always a good choice to take the car you are looking at to an outside mechanic to have it looked over for any problems. Car dealers should not have a problem letting you take your car to a local reputable mechanic to have it privately inspected, and it typically costs less than $100.

Used car showroom, United Kingdom. (Photo by Steven Miric/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)

You can also use websites like forums and Consumer Reports to see what previous owners have to say about the car’s reliability. YouTube is another great source for checking out potential cars. With just the car’s VIN, you are able to check for any recalls applicable to the car, and you can usually verify if the recall has been fulfilled by calling your local brand dealership or the NHTSA safety hotline.

RELATED: Best Used Compact Cars To Buy If You Value Fuel Economy

Buying a used car is a great option for many people, and you cannot deny the savings. While some people have problems, most of the time the issues you may have with a used car can be avoided by following these tricks and being diligent about your research.