Tips for Buying a Reliable Used Car From Consumer Reports

If you have been waiting for used car prices to fall, you are probably still waiting. Consumer Reports has some tips for buying a reliable used car if you can’t wait any longer. There are a few ways you can still get a good deal and get on the road without blowing your budget.

Consumer Reports has some tips for buying a reliable used car

Buying a used car like these options at a dealership
Used cars for sale are displayed at a dealership | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While used car prices haven’t exactly come down, Consumer Reports says prices have started to plateau. Buyers have noticed things have begun to level off, which means good deals on reliable used cars could be around the corner. However, not everyone can wait that long.

If you find yourself ready to get a new, used car, Consumer Reports suggests moving quickly and doing your research. If you have been keeping an eye on things for the last few months, you might already have some good information. For instance, check out the prices for new cars. Some used cars sell for prices close to or over the original MSRP.

“If you have to borrow money to buy the car, it may be better to find a new car that can qualify you for a lower interest rate, to say nothing of the benefit of a fresh factory warranty.”

Consumer Reports

If nothing else, it’s worth knowing the price of the new version. You don’t want to pay over MSRP for a car with 5,000 miles on it already.

Try to find a reliable option if you have to buy a reliable used car

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If a new car is totally out of budget and a slightly used car is still too high, go back a few more years. Consumer Reports suggests some reliable used vehicles like the Toyota Camry or the Honda CR-V. These options might provide a better value and still get you into a reliable automobile within budget.

Speaking of the budget, be sure to steer clear of high-interest rates, if possible. You don’t want to be paying more for the used vehicle than it is worth and set yourself up to be unable to pay down the line. Consider your budget and get financing based on what you can afford to pay monthly. Getting this information through your bank or credit union can give you a baseline to compare with what the dealership offers.

Don’t be afraid to expand your search a little if you aren’t finding the options you want. While buying a car used to be a local situation, you can buy a reliable used car on the other side of the country and have it shipped. CarMax, TrueCar, and even Consumer Reports’ Used Car Marketplace can help you find a good deal.

If you can narrow down your search, you can search websites like Consumer Reports for reliability and owner satisfaction. This can help find any known issues ahead of time and steer clear of an off year or two. Then, you have a shorter list to test drive and have narrowed it down a bit. If there is something you can’t live without, such as an upgrade or safety system, make sure you get what you want.

You might need to be more flexible than usual, but getting into a used car is ultimately the goal. Picking a less popular model might get you a better deal, especially if you show up prepared. Here are some SUVs that people love driving and owning to get you started.

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