Shopping for a used car can be exhausting if you don't know what you're doing. Between cycling through some of the 16,802 franchised dealers in the United States and navigating the actual car-buying experience, it can be difficult to know the best ways to shop for a used car. If you're looking to buy your next car used, here are some do's and don'ts to make sure you have the best experience possible.


  • Have a rough idea of what car you want: Even if you don't know exactly what make and model you're looking for, having a vague idea of what sort of car you're looking for is an incredibly helpful start. Do you need a minivan to transport lots of people, or are you looking for a smaller, sleeker design for your car? Know what your car will be used for before you start to shop for a used car, so you get a car that's the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

  • Keep your budget in mind: It can be tempting to immediately go for the flashiest car on the lot. However, remembering your budget is essential for a good car buying experience; this way, you don't accidentally fall in love with a car you can't afford.


  • Forget your research: If you do have a specific make or model in mind, or even a specific car that you've found online, don't forget to research the car. If you don't do your research, you could end up buying a car that costs you more in the long-run due to maintenance problems.

  • Buy the first car you see: By impulsively going with the first car you see on the lot that catches your eye, you might be looking past the car that's actually right for you. Take your time and test drive a few different cars before you make your final purchase.

Next time you start visiting used car dealerships to shop for a used car, keep these tips in mind. You'll be able to find the right car for you and feel confident in knowing you've taken your time to make the best choice possible on your newest vehicle purchase.

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