The Ultimate Used Car Buying Guide

Buying a used car can be a daunting task, especially when you don't know what to look for. With so many options and potential pitfalls, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But don't worry, the experts at Car and Driver are here to help you navigate the used car market and find the perfect car for you. We'll provide our recommendations on the most reliable models, advise on the purchase of a certified used or used vehicle, and give you tips on how to get the best deal.

Before you start shopping, it's important to set a budget and do your research. Check out Edmunds and KBB to get an idea of the fair market price for the type of car you're looking for. Once you've established a budget, take a look at the types of cars that fall within that range and target some that interest you. When it comes time to negotiate, never put your price first and make the seller work to start the negotiation.

Keep your maximum price in mind and remember that every penny comes out of your pocket. If possible, ask a mechanic to inspect a used car before completing the transaction. You can also use our guide to estimate the market value of the real car you're looking at by evaluating its condition based on factors such as age, mileage, and options.If you decide to buy, go to the seller and inspect the vehicle. Take a friend and meet in a high-traffic neutral area; some jurisdictions allow transactions in the local police department parking lot.

If the seller refuses to meet somewhere safe, consider it a warning and move on.Buying from a dealership is different than buying from a private seller, and you can usually get a better deal if you buy a used car from a private seller. Contact your dealer or retailer to see if you can get the VIN number for the specific vehicle you're interested in. In California, the biggest problems you're likely to face in a used car will come from past accidents simply because people drive everywhere.Hertz sells nearly 200,000 bankrupt cars, and it doesn't take much money to land a near-new car. Whether your family is celebrating Toyotathon or December to Remember, the winter break has been a great time to buy a new car, as dealers would lower prices to tempt bargain buyers.In October, an article in the Wall Street Journal suggested that Carvana's experience was not necessarily a positive one.Once you've found some great cars in your area and narrowed them down to the one you want, it's time to figure out how you want to finance that car.

It's smart to get pre-approved for a car loan because it simplifies the buying process and puts you in a stronger position at the car dealership.Most sales require a deposit after clicking the “buy” button and for the balance to be paid within a set period, allowing you time to inspect the vehicle.