Used Vehicle Buyers Guide

October 13th, 2022 by

Buying a car is a major financial decision. You want to make sure you’re making the right choice regarding the vehicle you purchase and the financing option you select. This is particularly true with used vehicles, which come from various sources and often with uncertain histories. To ensure you get the right value for your money, consider these seven tips for buying a used car.

Make a List of Requirements and Preferences

Used Vehicle Buyers Guide

Before you start looking at the used cars available on the market, write down a list of everything your need in the vehicle you purchase. The first question is, “why do I need a car?” If it’s for commuting and other ordinary motoring activities, factors such as comfort and fuel economy are probably more important than power, performance, and size. However, if you plan to use the vehicle for transportation — of people, things, or both — then passenger accommodations and cargo volume are of greater importance.

Consider your preferences as well. For example, what sort of drivetrain, infotainment features, driver-assistance technology, and color do you want? Would you like leather upholstery, or is cloth perfectly suitable? By determining your requirements and preferences beforehand, you’re creating a plan that clearly defines your vehicle prospects, thus making the task more accessible when you finally start looking for cars.

Set a Budget

Another preparatory step is to figure out how much you can afford to spend on a used vehicle. Remember that the sticker price of the vehicle you buy is only part of what you’ll spend in the long term. Taxes, insurance premiums, fuel, and maintenance are some of the ancillary costs to consider.

Determine whether you’d like to pay the entire cost upfront or acquire financing as you set your budget. You can apply for financing online or use our payment calculator to help you figure out your budget.

Browse Online

Now that you’ve defined the parameters of your used car purchase, use online resources to find vehicles that match your automotive and financial needs. For example, you can easily click through our inventory of used vehicles from your home. We carry a diverse range of makes and models, including all of the major domestic and import brands. Use the filter options on the left side of the page to limit the options according to your preferences. As you browse our inventory, list every model that merits further consideration.


Now is the time to research every model on your list. Again, using online resources, look into the specifications of these vehicles to assess whether they truly meet your criteria. If, for example, you’re looking at a 2017 Ram pickup truck, one of the best resources would be the official Stellantis press kit page for that model. For similar information on other makes and models, try typing the year and name of the vehicle you want along with the word “media” or “press kit” in your preferred search engine.

Other information that may be helpful for your search would be the Kelley Blue Book values of the vehicles in which you’re interested. All you have to do is input the details of a vehicle to see how much it may cost. This information is helpful because it gives you a baseline for how much you should pay for a particular used car.

Ask for a Vehicle History Report

A vehicle history report is a document that details a broad array of information about the background of a used vehicle. The report tells you the vehicle’s odometer readings, whether it was involved in any accidents, what repairs it has undergone, who the previous owners were, and more. To get a vehicle history report, simply note the vehicle identification number and then run it through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. What you learn about the car can tell you whether it’s worth the money.

Test-Drive and Inspect the Vehicle

The vehicle history report can only tell you so much about the car you’re considering. To ensure the car is operating as it should, ask the dealership for a test drive. During the test drive, be mindful of these factors:

  • The sound of the engine.
  • The sound of the transmission.
  • The feel of the brakes and the emergency brake.
  • The feel of the ride at both low and high speeds.
  • The feel and sound of the steering.
  • The alignment of the tires.

If you experience anything that seems odd during your test drive, there may be an issue with the vehicle. You can ask the dealer to handle the issue before you commit to the purchase and negotiate the terms accordingly.

In addition to a test drive, paying for a vehicle inspection is a wise investment. Seek out a mechanic, brand specialist, or mobile inspection specialist who can thoroughly examine the interior and exterior of the vehicle to determine whether it’s in top working order. This measure can give you some peace of mind about the quality of the vehicle before you hand over your hard-earned money.


At this point, you have learned everything you could about the history, functionality, and condition of the vehicle you want. Using that information, negotiate with the dealer to come to the fairest price for both parties. If all goes well, you may end up paying less than you’d initially expected.

If you’re in the market for a quality, affordable vehicle in Carmel, New York, we’re the dealership for you. In addition to our vast inventory of used vehicles, we offer regular specials on new Chryslers, Dodges, Jeeps, and Rams, so check regularly to find the perfect deal for you.

When you find something you like, let us know. Call us at 855-815-6623 or submit an inquiry form via our contact page to schedule a test drive. Then come down to our dealership at 1952 U.S.-6 here in Carmel, New York, to get behind the wheel. We look forward to seeing you drive home in a vehicle you love.

Photo Credit: Ready for Notes by Kenny Eliason is licensed with Unsplash License

Posted in Vehicle Tips