Frugal Used Car Buying Tips

Buying a Used Car? Here’s What You Need to Know

used car buying tips A new car loses 11% of its value the moment you drive it off the lot. After five years, the car has lost more than 60% of its original value, on average. The initial loss in value, plus lower taxes and insurance costs are all part of the advantages of buying a used car.

However, there is a lot more research involved in buying a used car versus a new car to make sure you don’t end up with a lemon. Here are the best used car buying tips you need to know before buying a used car.

Figure Out What You Need

Rather than getting car envy with an attractive looking convertible coupe, figure out what you really need in a car. If you’re a five-person family, you’ll need something kid-friendly. If you haul a lot of materials, you’ll probably need a truck. Deciding what your must-haves are will help you narrow down your focus to a few cars that will meet your needs and steer you away from the attractive but useless features of a shiny looking car.

Research Reliability

The reason used cars get a bad reputation is because you don’t know where that car has been. With a new car, you know you are pretty much covered under warranty.

You can reduce the risk of purchasing a lemon, or even gravitating toward purchasing a lemon, by looking at the reliability of a specific car make and model.

Consumer Reports offers great annual lists that research which used cars are the most reliable and have the best resale value. The Center for Auto Safety also provides information on safety defects, recalls and lemons. Doing your homework and researching reliability of used cars will allow yo to make a wise purchase and save you money on auto repairs.

Know Your Price 

Once you’ve selected which used car you’re leaning toward purchasing, it’s time to narrow down how much you’re willing to pay. It’s a known fact that some cars have better resale value than others.

Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book offer great tools on what the cost of a used car should be. A lot of factors go into deciding these prices, such as mileage, features, and wear and tear on the car. Know the retail value of a car before you start negotiating and set a limit on how much you’re willing to spend. Never accept the first offer.

Ready to buy? Get your car’s history 

Whether buying from a dealer or a private party, it’s always necessary to do research on the specific car you are buying. You can research a car’s history with its Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN.

CarFax is a great tool that offers a detailed vehicle history report.  Also having a third-part y mechanic (rather than the dealer’s mechanic) take a look at the car will help reduce any costly surprises later on.


Buying a used car is a great way to save money, as long as you do your research beforehand and are smart about your purchase.

Readers: Would you consider buying a used car or is the extra cost of a new vehicle worth it to you?

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