8 Tips for Finding a Reliable Used Car


Do you have a limited budget but need to buy a vehicle? If so, going with a used car is a smart option.

Along with there being significant price benefits, used vehicles have lower dealer fees, registration fees, and taxes. You can even use fancy words like “vintage” to describe your “new to you” used vehicle.

However, before diving in and purchasing the first vehicle you find, it’s a good idea to learn what to consider and how to find a reliable used car. Keep reading for some tips, advice, and helpful information to ensure you make the right decision for this important purchase.

1. Determine Your Budget First

When shopping for the best pre owned cars, it’s easy to get carried away. However, even if you have a limited budget, you can find some great options.

You need to make sure you focus on the reliability, rather than the included features. For example, it may be a good move to choose an older vehicle that is known for being more reliable over a newer model with more bells and whistles.

Figuring out how much you can afford to spend will help you avoid overspending and trying to purchase a used vehicle that is out of your price range.

2. More Isn’t Always Better

If you focus on finding reliable vehicles over luxury, chances are you will encounter some great deals. One of the reasons for this is that most car buyers are more focused on paint colors and leather than the vehicle’s reliability and function.

The more features a vehicle has, the more you will pay for repairs in the long run. This is especially the case for vehicles that are five to 10 years old.

Remember, the goal is to purchase a reliable used vehicle. Decide from the start to avoid trivial preferences that increase the value of vehicles, such as power windows, seating material, paint color, and more.

3. Look in the Right Places

You can look online for vehicles. Just be careful when you are filtering the listings. This will help you find options nearby and show you vehicles that have photos available.

More often than not, vehicle history reports will also be included for free when a used car is being sold online.

4. Stay Flexible

Do you have a make, model, year, and price in mind? If so, that’s a good starting point. You should also think about adding a few more items to this wish list.

When you do this, you can avoid panicking if your first choice used vehicle isn’t available or if the price is too high. Make sure you don’t add too much to your list either since too many choices can make the decision even more challenging.

5. Factor in All Related Costs

A common mistake for car shoppers is not considering all the costs related to owning a vehicle. Along with the down payment and set monthly payments, you must also cover the cost of gas, maintenance, parking, and insurance.

In some situations, this will more than double your budget. That’s why it is important to factor in the costs before you start shopping.

Purchasing a vehicle that runs on super unleaded gas or that requires ongoing, expensive maintenance or that costs more to insure is going to overextend you financially in some situations.

6. Consider Cars with Higher Mileage

Investing in a well-maintained, high-mile vehicle is not only more affordable but they are also going to last longer. Even though most people will avoid these vehicles, you should be looking at them to find a “hidden gem.”

Vehicles that commute on the highway 300 miles per week will have fewer maintenance issues than a car that is the same age, and that drives 150 miles per week in the city.

The vehicle with highway miles has fewer cold starts, fewer gear changes and transmission wear, minimal brake wear, and less wear to the suspension and steering.

If the car was maintained and had regular oil changes, it will last a lot longer than city-driven vehicles.

7. Find the Vehicle’s VIN

Every vehicle comes with a VIN, which is a Vehicle Identification Number. This number is what is used to generate the history report mentioned above.

The report will let you know the make and model of the vehicle, what repairs have been done, any recalls, and more.

You can use the VIN Lookup Tool on the NHTSA’s website. You can also get these reports from third-party providers.

8. Find the Best Financing

You can get quality financing for a used vehicle purchase. However, you need to ensure you are getting a good deal on this financing by getting per-approved before going shopping.

This is also going to help reduce the fees and other related costs that go along with financing.

Finding the Best, Reliable Used Car

If you are searching for the best, reliable used car, be sure to keep the tips and advice above in mind. These tips will help you narrow down the options and find the right car for your budget and needs.

Remember, not all used vehicles (or sellers) are created equal. It is up to you to put in the time and effort to find the right vehicle and best deal.

If you are searching for more car-related tips and information, be sure to check out our other blogs. We also post blogs on topics like digital marketing, home improvement, fitness, and more.