Four Things to Know Before You Begin Shopping for a Used Car

Searching for your ideal, quality used car doesn't have to be a puzzle of endless possibilities. Put all the pieces together in advance and you might just walk away with a prize purchase.

  1. Do Your Research Ahead of Time

Take advantage of the plethora of information at your fingertips and search the Internet for pertinent price data and incentives regarding the used cars that interest you. Check resale values, trade-in values and know what you can expect to pay before you leave home.

  1. Take Advantage of Model Year-End Clearance Time

Shopping strategically may help you earn deep discounts on your used car purchase. Buying during a model year clearance event incentivizes your process in that dealers are often more motivated to clear out older inventory to make room for the new models. Increased new car sales mean more used, trade-in options for you. Greater selection can help you achieve greater value.

  1. Get to Know Your Dealership

Schedule an appointment with your dealer to discuss your options. A friendly, knowledgeable dealership representative may be able to offer you greater incentives, rebates and sales, including affordable financing options. A proactive approach on your part demonstrates your level of commitment and may help you negotiate a better deal.

  1. Take Time to Evaluate Your Choices

Once you decide on your ideal dealership, make and model, be sure to physically examine the car inside and out. Check the interior for cleanliness, usability and wear. Look under the hood and walk the exterior of the car, observing the condition of all components. Ask to review maintenance records and talk to your dealer about the car's history. Don't neglect the small things because they could become tools for price negotiation at the sales desk. Remember, buying a car can be a weighty investment and you should be satisfied from the start.

Using these four steps may simplify your search and increase the quality of your used car purchase, leaving you more time to enjoy the ride.

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