A Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing a Used Car
Start writing a post

A Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing a Used Car

A Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing a Used Car

Buying a used car is a smart money move. You'll get more bang for your buck, as the value of a new car drops dramatically the moment it's driven off the lot by its new owner. Plus, you still get the shiny feel and the "new-car smell" when buying used rather than brand new, so what's not to love?

However, if you are new to purchasing used, you may not know where to start. So we compiled a list of what every beginner should know before making the plunge and purchasing a used vehicle.

Create a budget

You never want to walk on a car lot or go to salvage car auctions without establishing what you can and cannot afford. Take a look at your monthly income and determine exactly what you can put towards a new vehicle, and break this number down into chunks so you know what you'll need to put away each week to make your purchase work. And when you create this budget, stick to it! A budget is only helpful if you commit to it long-term.

Don't look at features you can't afford

This may sound obvious, but it's so easy to fall into this trap: avoid focusing on any features you know will be outside your budget. Keep your budget in mind when looking at car features, brands, and makes and models. Plus, doing so will help you narrow down your search to figure out what you really need (versus what is simply tempting).

Write down the non-negotiable features

As you begin your search, take out a pen and paper and write down the non-negotiable features you need in your car. This can be anything from what you need the car for, to the color you'd like. Here's an example list:

  • Large car for road trips and vacations
  • Large trunk for carrying groceries
  • Four doors
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Backup camera
  • Automatic gear
  • Electronic stability control
  • Airbags around perimeter of the car

After you create the list, number your features in order of importance. This way, you'll be less overwhelmed when you walk onto the dealership lot to look at what's available.

Check the Kelley Blue Book

Once you narrow down some features you'd like, the next step is to understand the value of the car you're looking to buy. It's always a good idea to double check the Kelley Blue Book to get accurate pricing information. The KBB also lists what the car is worth, as well as the average lifespan of the car, so you can know what to expect when you're purchasing.

Request a Carfax Vehicle History Report

You never know what happened to your car in the past. Cars can be literal treasure troves of hidden information that you may not see until it is too late. For example, if your car was in a flood, you may not see that the underbed is lined with rust that can be incredibly costly to fix down the road. Requesting a Carfax report will prevent any surprises and give you a better understanding of whether the car is right for you.

Ask a mechanic to look over your car

Consulting a mechanic is the best way to be absolutely sure your car is in top shape before you buy. Most car dealerships offer this service, so be sure to double check and request it before signing on the dotted line. If anything, a mechanic's consultation can give you peace of mind that your used car is ready to go.

Buying a used car doesn't have to be hard when you follow these six steps. As long as you stick to your budget, understand what to look for, and consult a professional, you'll be on your way to purchasing the best vehicle for you and your family's needs.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

TikTok Made Me Buy It: Flawless's Skincare Fridge

I bought and tested one of TikTok's popular products so you don't have to.


I spend a lot of time on TikTok and I never know whether the products I see are worth it or not, especially when I'm looking at the price. For Christmas, my aunt got me a gift card to Ulta. I didn't know what to buy. I have way too many palettes and lipsticks. I have my essentials. What else could I need? Then it hit me that I saw a lot of people these past few months showing off their skincare fridges. So, the second I thought of it I went on the Ulta app and bought it. So, here are my thoughts.

Keep Reading... Show less

37 Cute And Unique Pinterest Board Titles

Let's be real, the hardest part about Pinterest is thinking of a cute title for your board.


I don't know about anyone else but I have recently become re-obsessed with Pinterest. Like, I am spending a stupid amount of time on Pinterest daily now. While I have been binging Pinterest I have found that I love making cute and aesthetic boards but it is SO hard to come up with a name to match it. So, I scoured the internet and my brain for you. Happy pinning!

Keep Reading... Show less

This Is What Type Of Person You Are Based On Your Favorite Cereal

Your cereal preference reveals more than you think.

Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

Whether you eat cereal for breakfast or a late-night snack, you probably have a favorite. Little did you know that what you prefer says a lot about your personality.

Keep Reading... Show less
Alexis Hoffman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked Instagram How 2020 Was, And Maybe It Wasn't The Worst Year Ever

2020 is a year to remember but it's not as bad as we made it out to be.


It's finally 2021 and we're honestly all just happy that 2020 is over. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ever since I watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," I've been a major Matthew McConaughey fan. I've seen most of his movies, and I definitely got way too excited when he finally made an Instagram! So when he announced he would be releasing a memoir titled "Greenlights," I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on this book. And so did the rest of the world, as the book began to flood social media.

Truthfully, I would much rather read a fiction book and dive into another world than read a nonfiction book - even if it is one of my favorite celebrities. But I had a feeling this book wouldn't disappoint or bore.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Armie Hammer Scandal Discourse Is Kink Shaming And Harming Actual Victims

The rumors surrounding Armie Hammer has resulted in some very toxic and harmful discourse.


Sex is something that occupies a very significant place in our lives. Even asexual people can have an active sex life. With the various types of people that comprise this world, it obviously results in various sexual interests. And unconventional people can engage in some pretty unconventional sex practices. Even the most conventional people on the surface might surprise us with their sexual fantasies.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments