When you start shopping for used cars, it quickly becomes apparent that you have plenty of options. With makes and models from every year imaginable, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and go with the first car within your price range. Instead of caving too early and not getting the best deal, you should learn more about how to shop for a preowned vehicle that will actually work for you.
Short or Long Term
Is this a transitional car or something you hope to drive into the ground? If you need this car as a short-term replacement, sticker price and fuel efficiency are probably your biggest concerns. Think about how long you’ll actually have to use the vehicle, and then assess which features you can live without. If this is the car you’ll be driving for the foreseeable future, the amount you pay upfront should matter less than how long the car is expected to last. A little extra money at the outset is well worth it if you get another five years out of the vehicle.
Exterior or Interior Issues
Both the inside and the outside of the car are important, but you need to focus on what is actually selling you on (or turning you off of) certain used cars. If you can get a good vehicle at a good price and the only thing giving you pause is the color, is that an issue you can overcome? Remember that cars can be repainted, and perhaps you can make it a goal to save up for a color change. Similarly, is a cosmetic issue with the interior enough to make you look past a good deal?
When you really look at the used cars in your area and try to think about how you’ll feel once the novelty has worn off, it becomes easier to identify your real needs. Make sure you put in this effort when you start shopping around.