Car Buying Articles

10 Steps to Buying a Used Car


10 Steps Buying Used

  • Choose the right vehicle for you by making sure the car suits your needs.

  • Consider all cars in the class you have chosen and make a target list of three cars.

  • Look up the car on and check its reliability and consumer reviews.

  • Check the TMV price on the car you want to buy (adjusted for mileage, options, color and region).

  • Look up the True Cost to Own (TCO) for the car you want to buy.

  • Decide how you are going to finance your car. If you are going through a bank, online lender or credit union, obtain loan approval before you start shopping.

  • If you are financing the car, use the payment calculators to determine the monthly payment for the car you want to buy.

  • Search Edmunds Used Vehicle Listings and other online classifieds for the used car you've decided to buy.

  • If you are buying from a dealership, contact the Internet department and simultaneously solicit quotes from multiple dealers.

  • Ask the salesperson to fax you a worksheet showing all the prices, taxes and fees.

  • If you are trading in your old car, check its TMV and print out this information.

  • Bring your worksheet with you to the dealership so you can compare these numbers to the figures on the contract.

  • If you are buying from a private seller, call the person and verify the pertinent information. Get the VIN and run a vehicle history report.

  • Test-drive the car under your normal driving conditions.

  • Take the car to a mechanic for an inspection unless it's a certified pre-owned car, backed by the manufacturer's CPO warranty.

  • Negotiate your best deal.

  • Read the contract carefully before signing and always make sure you get a clean title.

  • Inspect the car for dents, dings and scratches before taking final delivery.

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Most Recommended Comments

By arnelbdr
on 12/11/11
9:43 PM PST

Is it advisable to pay cash when buying used car on dealership?

Recommend  (1,656) (209)

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By rpap1
on 02/09/11
5:01 AM PST

You have two links here that don't work, how come?

Recommend  (40) (32)

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