How to Buy a Used Car

August 29th, 2018 by

Used Car Lot

Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, it can feel intimidating to buy a used car. Auffenberg Ford South Belleville wants to make that a little easier for our Fairview Heights and East St. Louis drivers. We’re here to help you out with the basics of how to buy a used car, from shopping to driving it home.

Contact Us

How to Start Buying Your Next Used Car

You’ve already started the first step toward buying a used car: research. A car is an expensive purchase, and there’s quite a bit to consider. You shouldn’t just jump into it. Here’s how to get started:

  • Are you trading in your vehicle? If so, it’s good to get a check-up from a mechanic, give the car a good cleaning, and value your trade-in. It might be easier to hold onto it, especially if you’ve got a teen who needs a car soon.
  • What do you want? Do you need a family vehicle, a work truck, or just an efficient commuter car? This will narrow your focus and make it easier to pick from the many, many used cars on the market.
  • Used or Certified Pre-Owned? Certified Pre-Owned (or CPO) cars come with quite a few perks and often have lower mileage than their used counterparts, but they can cost a bit more, too. Is added warranty coverage on your mind? Then you should choose CPO.
  • Make and model? If you’ve just got to have an F-150, then your job is pretty easy: find a model year and features you like, then take it for a test drive. If you just want a truck — or even more broadly, just a family vehicle — it’s good to start thinking about makes and models you like the look of or are known for dependability.
  • Price? If your budget takes any wiggle room out of your purchase price, it may be smart to shop for some more budget-friendly cars. They might be higher mileage or older vehicles, but they’ll still run well.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

After you’ve done your research and know what kind of car you want — make and model can be flexible still — it’s time to start shopping. You can browse online, apply for financing to save yourself some time, and start scheduling test drives. Here are some things to look out for if you’re buying a used car:

  • Detailed vehicle history report (with past service and repair history)
  • Potential dents and dings
  • Wear on tire treads and brake pads
  • Inspect the spare tire (if available)
  • Strange noises or smells during a test drive
  • Odometer readings and other stats that don’t match the vehicle you researched

It’s also a good idea to inspect hard-to-see areas, like the corners of a trunk. It’s easy for an unscrupulous salesman to hide damages or poor fixes for fender benders in places people don’t typically look.

How Many Miles on a Used Car is Too Much?

This is a personal choice. Some vehicles easily break 200,000 miles and keep running while others struggle to hit 100,000. If mileage is a primary concern, you should shop Certified Pre-Owned. A CPO car is low-mileage by definition and is generally better cared for.

Find Your Next Used Car at Auffenberg Ford South Belleville Today

If you have any questions about shopping for a used car, just contact our sales team today. With on-site financing for drivers of all credit backgrounds, Auffenberg Ford South Belleville makes it easy for you to find a used car that fits your needs.