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How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car

Updated on January 8, 2013

No doubt cars are very important for us to make our life easier, smoother, and faster. But, not many people have sufficient money to buy a brand new car. So, they have to rely on used cars. To be honest, used cars are also very good if you can buy them smartly. There are 2 options to buy a used car: private sellers and used car dealers. You need to know the advantages and disadvantages before you buy a used car.

Private Used Car Sellers


Newer Cars: These cars are usually newer than the cars from the dealers as they might have to stay a long time in the lot.

Better Condition: Usually, you get a car with better condition with nice records.

Flexibility: If you can meet many private sellers, then you could get a lot of models of different ages.


No Return: Chances are very high that you will not get any returns, so clarify it before you make any deal on a used car.

Cash only: You have to pay in cash.

Tough Competition: If the seller does not need money quick, then he might wait to get a better price than you.

Used Car Dealers


More Flexibility: You will get a lot more cars than a private seller. In fact, you will get more than you need.

Less Competition: If you are going for a specific car, then it could be competitive. But, if you are going for only a reliable car, then you will have a lot of options.

Better Financing: If you do not have sufficient cash and do not have good condition to get a bank loan, then used car dealers are the only one option you have.


Chance of Getting Ripped off: Sometimes, dishonest used car dealers hide the problems of cars or sell low quality cars at very low rates. So, you have to be careful.

No Return: You may not get any return, so clarify everything before buying.

Higher Interest Rates: Unfortunately, you will have to pay more interests if you buy from a used car dealer.

These are the major advantages and disadvantages when it comes to buying a used car from a dealer or a private seller.

Now, is the time to know more information on how to choose a good used car. Please read the tips stated below very carefully.

Be comfortable: You have to be comfortable. Do not forget you have the buying power, so if you are not comfortable with anyone, then go for another seller.

Buy Later Part in the Month: Car dealers are always concerned to meet the monthly target, so buying later part in the month could be a positive approach.

Refuse All Extras: Refuse all back end extras. They are trying to cheat on you.

Do not Show Strong Emotional Attachment: If you show strong emotional attachment, then the seller will find it very easy to ask for a higher price. Also, you lose your negotiating capacity if you are too much emotionally involved.

Negotiate Smartly: Do not start with a very low price like 25% of the asking price, though you need to know the real price to get a nice deal.

Manage the Manger: Do not get afraid, nervous if you are asked to talk to the manager.

Do not Go for Old Cars: You may not get any financing if your car is more than 5 years old. Also, the interest rates will be higher. Always look for a car less than 3 years sold to ensure a nice financing.

Check History Report: This part is very important. Make sure you know if the car had any serious accident or the Odometer has been changed earlier.

Test Drive: You start the car. It is important to know how a used car starts. This tells a lot of things about the car.

Think about the Time: If the car has been staying in the lot for more than 3 months, then it is not a good sign. Make sure the used car has no serious problems.

Let the Mechanic Talk: You should test the car with a reliable, skilled mechanic. If he is happy with the performance, then it is all up to you.

Ask for the VIN: Run a Carfax report and an AutoCheck report to know more about the used car.

Do not Rush: Take your time. Visit few used car dealers or private used car sellers to compare everything and get the best deal on a used car.

Whatever your choice is, you need to do your homework well to get the best deal on a used car. You could visit Craiglist,, and to find out the potential sellers to get the best deal on a used car. Happy buying!


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    • mydubstepstudio profile image

      Paul Perry 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I can't even understand why people would consider buying a new car. It's such a waste of money, unless you are a millionaire or something but lets get real most of us need to buy a used car so thank you for this wonderful guide that you have made into a hub.

    • SolveMyMaze profile image


      5 years ago

      I would always be dubious about buying from a private seller. I know this sounds harsh, but like you said in your article, you can't exactly go and get a refund. I've also heard from friends that they've been sold dodgy cars by private sellers and it ends up costing them more in the long term.

    • Ms._Info profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      My sister recently bought a used car from a dealer. Buying a used car scares me though. I'm so afraid I'll get stuck with a lemon.

    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Smith 

      5 years ago from Florida

      These are great tips to remember when buying a used car. They can really make a difference in how much you end up paying and what quality of car you get.


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