Tips for Buying a Used Car, by Jason David Simpson

As the owner of New Deal Used Cars in Glendale, Arizona, Jason Simpson has 20 years of experience screening, buying, and selling used cars. As an independent dealer with an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, Jason Simpson consistently supplies the people of Arizona with high-quality cars at affordable prices. If you are shopping for a used vehicle in Arizona or elsewhere, he recommends the following strategies to make the process a success.

1. Stick to your budget. Know how much you can spend, both in a down payment and in monthly payments. Remember to take interest into account. Consumer Reports agrees; these amounts will largely determine what cars you are able to purchase, which helps narrow your search.

2. Need, not greed. With used cars, you want to choose one that suit your needs over one that is eye-catching. Have a large family? Need to tow a boat? Your used-car search should include these criteria to find the best car for your dollar.

3. Comparison shopping. The Internet is a fantastic way to compare prices on the used-car models in which you are interested. If you have narrowed your search to one or two car models, search for the best prices in your area and compare vehicle statistics.

4. Historical research. The U.S. Government advises that you always perform a thorough search through a car’s history. Using tools such as CarFax or looking up the vehicle’s VIN number are excellent ways to find out if your potential car has sustained any major damage.

5. Do a double check. Be detail-oriented when shopping for a used car. Check the odometer with the mileage claims on the ticket, and consider hiring a third-party mechanic to look over the car. He or she can spot any issues that the dealer does not disclose to you.

6. Warranties. Ask about any warranties, manufacturer- or dealer-based, that are available with the car purchase. Read a warranty carefully, taking time to understand exactly what is covered before buying the vehicle.