At S&E Auto Sales, we know that the world of used cars can be a tricky one to navigate. There are so many different factors that go into the decision-making process for this type of purchase. It’s important to think about what you’re looking for in your next car, and then find the right match based on those specifications. In this post, we will go over some of our best tips and things to consider when buying a used car.

Stay within your budget

When you’re looking for a used car, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. Find out how much you can afford to spend on a car and stay within that budget. Additionally, don’t be tempted to overspend just because the car is pre-owned. It is common to try to buy higher-performance cars because their used prices are much lower, but they may also cost more to maintain. Stick to what you can afford, and remember to factor in other costs, like insurance and registration.

Check the car’s history

One of the most important things to do when buying any used car is to check its history. You can get a report from Carfax or AutoCheck that will tell you about any accidents the vehicle has been in, as well as any major repairs it may have undergone. These are crucial to know before you make your purchase because they significantly impact the car’s overall value.

Look at the car’s features

It is also important to look closely at the vehicle itself. Test drive it and check under the hood for any leaks or other issues. Look inside of it as well, to make sure everything works properly. You should even consider checking out how often the tires need replacing by looking through them yourself before you buy a used car. This way, you can buy the best vehicle for your needs and budget.

Examine other costs associated with buying a used car

There may be other financial factors to consider before purchasing a pre-owned auto, such as sales tax or additional fees if you are trading in another vehicle when you purchase the new one. We highly recommend being aware of all the costs associated with a car before you commit to buying it.

Also remember that there are other costs associated with owning a vehicle, such as insurance, registration fees, and regular maintenance. These will all be even higher if you have a more expensive or higher-performance car as well. Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover all of these expenses so that owning a car doesn’t put too much of a dent in your monthly budget.

Although used cars typically cost less than new ones, they may also cost more to maintain in the long run due to issues with previous owners or accidents. Make sure your budget allows for these additional costs.

Get preapproved for the loan before you visit the dealer

If you’re looking to buy a used car, it’s important to get preapproved for the loan before you visit the dealer. This way, you know exactly how much money you have to spend on the car and won’t be tempted to overspend. It can also help you negotiate a better price with the seller.

In addition to this, preapproval can also reveal issues with your credit. If you have a low credit score or inaccurate information on your credit report, it would be best to know about it ahead of time so that you are able to fix it before talking with actual representatives.

Shop around for the best rate

A lot of people don’t know this, but dealers often increase their interest loan rates well above what you actually qualify for. If you qualified for an interest rate of 5%, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a dealership to offer you a 7-8% rate for your car loan. This is also a reason that you should get preapproved for your loan; if you are given a low rate, you can use it as leverage when you visit a dealer and negotiate.

Take the car to a mechanic after negotiating the price

First, negotiate the price with your salesperson based on any problems you may have already discovered. Then, take the car to a trusted mechanic for a final inspection. Make your negotiated price contingent on a clean bill of health from the mechanic.

Mechanics typically charge around $100 for a used car inspection and it’s the best $100 you’ll ever spend; if the car turns out to be completely fine, you’ll feel safer knowing that you won’t be buying any expensive surprises. If there are underlying issues that you were unaware of, you will be happy that you learned of them sooner rather than later.

Take a test drive to see how it performs

There are a few things to look for when test driving a used car. First, you want to check for any unusual sounds from the engine. Also, pay close attention to the way it handles turns and curves – if there are problems with alignment or suspension components, they will feel like they’re “throwing you around” in the car.

Finally, test the brakes and make sure they feel like it will be safe to drive the car. What you should look for is a gradual increase in pressure when you apply more and more force to the pedal – this is an indicator that the brake pads are still good. If there’s too much resistance on the pedal or it feels like the car isn’t slowing down at all, that could be a sign of bigger issues with the brakes. You also should not feel any pulsation.

If you can, it may also be a good idea to test drive the car in a variety of different conditions, such as during the day and at night, on the highway, and in the city. This will give you a well-rounded idea of how the car actually performs.

Buying a used car can be a great way to save money or get your dream car for less but it’s essential to be aware of the potential issues that can come with it. By following these tips, you can reduce the chances of buying a lemon and end up with a car that you love.

If you’re looking for a used car, make sure to check out our selection of hundreds of different vehicles online at or in-person at S&E Auto Sales!

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