Still feel overwhelmed? Approach it like this: for your vehicle, you want to find a car that is big enough for you, has great safety features, and will keep you going for a long time. For the used car dealer you choose, look at their inventory, reviews online and their website, the financing options they can help you with, and the long-term support they provide. It can seem like a lot of work right now, but it will pay off in the end.
Step One – The Right Car
When you start shopping for anything, you have to figure out what you are looking for and find the model that checks all those boxes. There are a lot of different features and options you can consider with a used car, but it can make things easier to focus on the most important ones first. Consider the following three areas and then go from there.
Size and Design
Knowing how large a vehicle you need is a great way to eliminate a lot of models at a used car dealer that will not work for you. If you have a big family or large group of friends, then you should consider a full-size sedan, which has four doors and room for two or three people to sit safely in the back. On the other hand, if you do not need that passenger room, then a smaller model can be ideal.
Perhaps the single most important factor when looking at different vehicles is the safety features it has. Look for things like blind spot information systems with lane change alert, rear and front parking assist, and emergency collision detection. In general, newer models at a used car dealer have the chance of offering more safety features than older ones, so keep that in mind. Of course, seatbelts and airbags are great, but they are standard (particularly seatbelts) and not something you have to go out of your way to find.
Reliability and Performance
As you start narrowing down your options, do a little research into any model that catches your eye to see how reliable it has been for other drivers. Before you visit a used car dealer, you should also consider what kind of performance and power you are looking for. While a sports car is not right for everyone, if you know you want a speedy two-door coupe, then look at models from recent years to see what kinds of features they might have. In particular, look at what years started a new generation for these cars, as that typically marks a redesign and new options becoming available.
Step Two – The Right Dealership
Once you know what you want, or at least have some good ideas, then it is time to find the right used car dealer. You might be tempted to go with a private seller offering the vehicle he has owned for the last decade, but there are some major pitfalls with that route. In particular, you lack any peace of mind when buying from some guy across town, and there is nothing you can do if you discover major problems with it a month or two down the line.
When choosing the right used car dealer, arguably the most important factor is the inventory that dealership has to offer. It does not matter what kind of financing they can offer or how much their customers love them if they do not have a car that meets your needs. A large inventory gives you many more options to choose from, and it tells you that dealer is serious about selling used vehicles.
Dealer Website and Reviews
It is the 21st Century, so use modern technology to help you shop. Before you choose a used car dealer, take a look at their website and see how well it is designed and presented. It should be easy to use, with clear options that let you browse their inventory and see what kinds of financing options they offer. You should also look for reviews of the dealership, on their site and other sites that offer business reviews, to see what others say about them and how they were treated.
You might be scared or nervous about financing and even see it as a dirty word; while you are not alone in feeling that way, in reality it is nothing to get anxious over. Financing is simply a part of buying a used vehicle, and a good used car dealer knows how to work with you and make the process as simple and straight-forward as possible. Whether you have good credit or poor credit, see what kinds of financing options the dealership can offer you so you know what to expect ahead of time. If you ever feel like they are manipulating you or deceiving you about financing, then get out of there immediately and find a dealership that treats you with respect.
This might not be something you think about right away when looking to buy a used car, but it is important and can save you a lot of time and hassle down the road. Look for a used car dealer that has a service center with trained and certified staff. If you choose a dealership that sells a particular brand of cars, and you buy a used model of that brand, then you know their technicians specialize in your vehicle.
When shopping for a car, long-term maintenance and service needs are probably the last things you are thinking about. But standard maintenance will always be a necessity, and the unexpected has a way of happening. It is better to choose a used car dealer that can help you for years to come: whether you need a routine oil change, have questions about your vehicle and its maintenance, or a larger problem comes up.