10 Steps to Buying a Used Car

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited April 2017 in Editorial
image10 Steps to Buying a Used Car

How to locate, price and negotiate to buy a good used car.

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  • rpap1rpap1 Member Posts: 1
    You have two links here that don't work, how come?
  • cinbun911cinbun911 Member Posts: 1
    Thanks for the great tips. Craigslist is a great resource, but also a mine field. It is essential to take any vehicle to a mechanic to be checked out and also to run the Carfax.

    One additional California tip, the seller is responsible for having the vehicle smogged before a sale and a smog certificate is good for only 90 days.
  • msminkck1msminkck1 Member Posts: 7
    Update this please because what I'm finding in what is being asked for used cars is more than ever before.
  • arnelbdrarnelbdr Member Posts: 1
    Is it advisable to pay cash when buying used car on dealership?
  • envwluvenvwluv Member Posts: 0
    I'd like to be reminded to thoroughly seal the deal. What if that occurred during the transaction and my purchase was not completed correctly?
  • ehh2ehh2 Member Posts: 1
    I like to buy a new car and take care of it and drive the wheels off of it. Usually the interest rate is cheaper on a new car and you also know whether the maintenance has been performed and whether it has been in an accident.
  • wiggum2000wiggum2000 Member Posts: 1
    Someone I know just bought a car from a friend for $10K. Can he just tell the DMV it only cost him $1000? This would reduce his registration fees by over $700!
  • joe_consumer60joe_consumer60 Member Posts: 1
    Ok, so a helpful tip here would be a listing of the car models that are comparable (i.e. built for the same market) as you stated in the article:

    "...You might want to think of vehicles in the same class. For example, if you really want a Toyota Camry, you should also be on the lookout for a Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord or Nissan Altima. These cars were built for the same market..."

    For those of us who don't follow cars, models or features except when we need to purchase a new/used car, it would help us to know how to compare "apples to apples" !
  • justmyopinionjustmyopinion Member Posts: 0
    Recent experience has indicated that Edmunds delivers a "Blue Book" price on used cars more indicative of the true market. Unfortunately Kelly Blue Book appears to return a price from $700 - $1800 greater.
    That's why dealers seem to always show you the Kelly analysis, so you should be prepared to show them the Edmunds analysis that directly contradicts the Kelly Price! As another post said, DO YOUR HOMEWORK prior to getting anywhere close to a dealer.
  • mikeyp53mikeyp53 Member Posts: 55
    This is pretty generic information. The biggest omission in my opinion is the valuation process for a used car. Mention the price from Edmunds to a dealer and they will immediately tell you its nonsense and then use NADA, KBB or some other obscure "black list". The point is most used cars are marked up 30- 50% from their trade in value. If you can't negotiate at least 1/3 off the asking price, walk out.
  • 3t_3t_ Member Posts: 1
    I am thinking about purchasing a 99 Lexus SC 300 with 100,000 miles. Blue Book value with clear title is around $7500. He is willing to sell to me for only $4800. The car looks great, but the only bad thing is it has a salvage title from a repair made to the back. Is the $4800 a good price for this vehicle with the salvage title? Would you purchase?

  • canewhitecanewhite Member Posts: 4
    Buying a used car comes with its fair share of risks, therefore take your time to do your homework before closing the deal. The test drive is your only opportunity to check the car's general mechanical condition and to find our for sure that it meets all your needs.
  • bigedthemanbigedtheman Member Posts: 1
    what about, when buying from a private party, how to ensure that their is no lien or loan collateralized by the car?? How do you ensure that is not an issue?
  • nadia2nadia2 Administrator Posts: 5
    Insightful comment.
  • komradkomrad Member Posts: 1
    arnelbdr - Cash is king.Why give money away in interest payments?
  • ruelspotruelspot Member Posts: 8
    Buying a used car can be an advantage, especially if you are try to save money. That said, if you don’t do the necessary research and ask the relevant questions, you could end losing.
  • usedcarbuyer17usedcarbuyer17 Member Posts: 1
    This article is simply asinine. A true slap in the face to all consumers looking to purchase a used vehicle! Everyone knows that there are only 9 steps to buying a used car, and this article milks one more step just to acquire more currency with more space for advertisements! Ridiculous!
  • usedvehicleusedvehicle Member Posts: 1
    Hello...I'm looking a purchasing a USED vehicle 2002 BUICK CENTURY 143k MILES...I reside in MI & the vehicle has come from the southern states. When purchasing a used vehicle what is the max range one should consider? ex: we are in 2017, so 10 - 7 years? Just wondering..... Thank U
  • EdmundsEditorsEdmundsEditors Member Posts: 1
    I'd say 10 years max when looking at a used vehicle because at this time it's possible that it has passed through multiple owners, and not all owners treat or maintain their cars the same. In addition, it's also important to look into the recalls for the year of the vehicle you are interested in - if there is any chance that it HASN'T been taken in to a mechanic for the recall issue, it can affect the life of the vehicle once in your possession.

    Hello...I'm looking a purchasing a USED vehicle 2002 BUICK CENTURY 143k MILES...I reside in MI & the vehicle has come from the southern states. When purchasing a used vehicle what is the max range one should consider? ex: we are in 2017, so 10 - 7 years? Just wondering..... Thank U

  • SarahGSarahG Member Posts: 1
    Buying a new car would be better if you wanna save money, do a necessary research before buying a car, this will help you saving money :)
  • fred3381fred3381 Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2019
    Dealers are always out there to sneak in the hidden charges. I would highly recommend you guys to always check and ask about specific charges. I was purchasing a used BMW at a local dealership. The deal was done I was going into sign the paperwork and my friend just asked me if I looked into the history of the vehicle. Mind you this was my first transaction at a dealership so I was a bit confused. Regardless, my friends advice ended up saving me $11,999 for a car that was involved in TWO accidents on the report I pulled up on https://www.vehiclecheckpro.com At the end of the day.. never trust dealers. They will seem nice but at the end of the day if you think about it.. its just another commission check for them.
  • To Avoid extra charges on vehicle, the best way is to get a mechanic by your side, Though for a pre-purchase Inspection the mechanic will charge, but he can definitely help you find a better deal.
  • Katty_SmithKatty_Smith Member Posts: 1
    Thanks for this article. I've also had doubt about how to buy a used car with correct money and without fraud. Once I read this blog I got more clarification and information.
  • KilnarKilnar Member Posts: 1
    Would like to get ahold of a 2007 Hyundai Sonata GLS XM with a Sunroof. Cloth interior. Anyone private sellers willing to sell? Reply ASAP.
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