Industry Insider: How to Successfully Buy a Used Car

As new cars will depreciate in value the moment you drive them away from a dealership, it makes perfect sense to purchase a second-hand vehicle instead.

However, there are many factors to consider when buying a used car. Not only will you need to ensure it is dependable and suits your budget, but you also must organize the appropriate paperwork to ensure you can legally drive the vehicle.

For help getting started, here are some top tips on how to successfully buy a used car.

Set a Vehicle Budget

Before you start browsing the different used cars available near you, you must identify the right budget for you.

It could help you to set an expectation for the types of second-hand cars you could purchase at a dealership or from a private seller.

Consider the Vehicle’s Running Costs

It’s not just the price of a vehicle you will need to consider. There are many associated fees when owning a car, so you should learn more about a make and model’s running costs before you sign on the dotted line.

For example, you’ll need to factor in:

  • Car insurance
  • Gas prices
  • Maintenance costs
  • Various taxes and fees

If a car will cost you more than 20% of your monthly income, it probably isn’t the right vehicle for your personal finances.

Make a Sensible Choice

While you might dream of owning a two-seater convertible, it might not be an ideal choice if you have a large or growing family.

For this reason, you should make a decision that’s ruled with your head and not your heart.

Also, don’t be dazzled by a used car’s low price tag, as it could have a small mileage, which will not be ideal if you regularly need to undertake long commutes to and from work.

Always choose the features you need over the features you want, which will ensure you don’t regret your decision in the future.

Register the Vehicle

After you have purchased a second-hand car from a private seller, you’ll then need to complete both the registration and title at a local DMV. You can then legally drive the car on the road. If you fail to do so, don’t be surprised if your state issues several penalties. To find out more, read this article for registration and title processes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

How much a car is worth can be debatable, as their value can quickly depreciate over time.

For this reason, you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate when buying a used car, which could help you to save a considerable amount of money.

Most car owners will expect a buyer to barter a little, so they might be happy to lower the price upon request.

You also should request to take a car for a test drive before purchasing, which could reveal small problems that could help you convince a seller to decrease his or her price.

The money saved could potentially pay for your first month’s insurance, gas or taxes.


Featuring the Subaru Crosstrek