How to Buy a Used Car from a Dealer and Get the Lowest Price Possible

January 27, 2012

Learning how to buy a used car from a dealer gives a lot of people peace of mind that they will not have if they buy their used car from a private owner. Others do not feel that a used car dealership can be trusted and would prefer buying from a private owner. No matter what your personal preference is, here's how to find the best price at a used car dealership.

Step 1: Ask Questions

Ask yourself the following questions: What kind of used car are you looking for and why? What kind of mileage do you expect to put on it? How much can you afford to spend? How long do you expect to keep the car?

When considering the amount you can afford to spend, make sure to also consider the amount it will cost to keep the car running properly. Answering these questions will help you determine the ideal model for your needs and budget, and will also help you determine the oldest model of car you're willing to buy and the highest mileage you will accept.

Step 2: Shop Around

When making a commitment to purchase a high ticket item such as a used car, don't limit yourself to just one used car dealership. While it is possible to find the perfect used car the first place you look, it is unlikely. Shop around and look at sale ads and newspaper advertisements to find the best price used car dealership.

Step 3: Run Some Tests

Unless you happen to be an auto mechanic, the tests that you will perform will probably include nothing more than test driving the vehicle and listening for any suspicious sounds such as knocking and squeaking, or checking to see if you feel any vibrations. If it is feasible, take along a friend that can help you listen for sounds that you might not catch yourself. There are some other things that you should consider looking at, including the mileage, the tire wear and the lights. Also be sure and give the car a visual inspection to spot any indications that it has been in an accident, such as paint or parts that are mismatched and dents.

Step 4: Do Your Research

To begin with, ask questions of the dealer. The law requires dealers to notify you of any circumstances of the vehicle such as a salvaged title. Ask questions and get the answers in writing to protect yourself from future problems. Ask for a vehicle history report. Many times a used car dealership will offer the vehicle history report up front, to reinforce what they have told you and to show that they are honest. Do not be afraid to use the Internet to read reviews that others have left about the vehicle you are considering buying. Word of mouth is another way to learn about the used car dealership you choose and to find out if they are reputable.

These steps can take time to complete, but by breaking the process of buying a used car down, you can ensure that you're making the best investment with your money.