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Tips for Buying a Used Car

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

If this is your first time shopping for a used car, congratulations, welcome to the wild, wild West! I’m about to help protect you, just follow my tips for buying a used car! Don’t get me wrong, you’re making a sound financial decision. You’re letting someone else incur the financial loss that happens when a new car is sold, and your choice makes sound economic sense! But, and isn’t there always a but?!? Buying a used car can be dangerous, and there are lots of people lurking out there praying on the uninformed, greedy, and gullible amongst us. But, that’s not going to be you, because you’re out here gaining knowledge, and that’s what EVERY used car shopper needs information! I’m about to share with you some tips and insight I gained over the decades I’ve spent working within the insane world of auto sales. Since you’ve landed on this article, I can see you’re hoping to become more informed, and that’s smart. I’d also suggest you consider my Used Car Buyer’s Guide, it’s for those people who want both the knowledge and a fool-proof system for getting the lowest price possible for their used car. It’s 100% guaranteed, so if you’re not satisfied I happy to give you a full refund, so be sure to check it out! So, there’s two options every used car shopper has, buy from a dealership, either a new car or used car dealer, both offer used cars. And, the other option is a private seller. The tips I’m sharing below should help you whichever method you decided you use! Here’s the best tip I can offer… be willing to walk away!

help shopping for a used car

Yep, all of the problems and heartache that happen during the used car buying process can be avoided if the shopper would follow this one piece of advice, always be looking for a reason to walk away! Walking away from a used car is often the best decision, and sometimes the hardest decision too! That’s because in many of these situations the seller prices the car so appealingly it’s hard for the buyer to walk away! That expression, you get what you pay for is rooted in reality! To avoid this problem you need to know what’s the right price for a car, based on its age, mileage and condition, and how to recognize issues, both mechanical, and non-mechanical in the vehicle. Checking the car’s mechanical condition is easy if you’re a mechanic. If you’re not, bring it to a mechanic, it’s a great way to protect the money you’re thinking about investing in that car! We live in a world that offers people many opportunities to borrow money, and that’s great, as long as you don’t over-indulge! Before you begin your car shopping know your budget and don’t let a car stretch your finances to the breaking point! When you’re factoring the amount of money, you can spend on a car be sure to include the fuel and insurance costs, because those are real, hard costs! Also, if you are going to be financing the car get all of that information in place before you shop. Again, it’s essential to know your budget before you start searching for cars!

With your financial picture clear, now it’s time to start car shopping. Buy what you need, not what you want! This is a common mistake! Many times people will let the appeal of a car’s looks and style override their needs. For example, a family of five, with young kids can’t have their primary car be a two-seater. So, be sure the car satisfies your needs for space and functionality. But, a lot of people don’t take the next step and check the car’s safety ratings. When you’ve found a vehicle that should be within your budget, and it meets your needs, be sure to see how it’s rated for safety, and you can do this at This is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and those are the people who conduct the crash tests, and they provide ratings for virtually every make and model. Once you’ve settled on a car, and you’ve begun to shop you’re going to see that cars that fall into certain age and mileage ranges. In other words, similarly priced vehicles will all be priced in a buying range that doesn’t vary much when the cars are the same model, year and similar mileage. You’ll also see outliers, cars that sometimes appear drastically overpriced, and some that appear to be an incredible bargain. If a car is priced far above what the market’s bearing there’s one of two things going on, it’s either improperly priced, or it’s got something that has caused the owner to inflate the asking price. Either way, the car will be sold, someone sees the added value, or the market will prompt the seller to lower the price they’re asking for the vehicle Yes, there’s the occasional magic idiot who willing to pay too much for a car, and some sellers hope to feast on this naïveté. Now, when the car is priced far below the going rate this should set off loud warning bells, but many whistle contently and ignore these sirens, I’m hoping since you’re reading this you won’t be one of them, and I’m comfortable calling them foolish! Why are they foolish? Because they’re not willing to think critically.

If, after spending a couple of minutes searching online for a car you can recognize what the market will bear for a vehicle, you don’t think someone selling one of these cars can do the same thing? Don’t you think they’d be happy to take more for the car they’re selling? But, the primary reason people are foolish for ignoring this warning is they are being motivated by greed. The word greed sounds ugly, and many things people do who are motivated by desire is, in fact, unappealing and unsavory! Greed is also the tool of those looking to swindle people because often losing one’s perspective is a by-product of greed. As part of my Used Car Buyer’s Course, I disclose the texts, emails, and real phone conversations I had with an online used car sales scammer. At one point during the conversation, I recorded the scammer thinks they’ve just taken me for $4,000! The people involved in this scam are awful humans who belong in jail. I provided all the information to the authorities, and I’m hoping these crooks are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but there’s part of the whole thing that pulled at my sense of right and wrong. At the very heart of this scam is an ugly scenario. These crooks use an incredibly low-priced car as the centerpiece of their fraud, and if someone actually bought that car, for that price, they would be taking advantage of the seller. I’ve actually wondered if the scammers justified their actions with the knowledge that the people getting scammed were willing to fleece the seller of an asset WAY below market value? I’ll probably never know. But, it’s crucial for a used car shopper to gather the proper information about any used car they’re considering purchasing So, you’ve found a car you’re considering purchasing. It meets all the criteria listed earlier, and now it’s time to contact the seller. The following information is essential for you to gather whether you’re shopping at a car dealership, or dealing with a private seller. You need to know:

  • Did the seller buy the car new? If not, how many owners has the vehicle had?

  • Are the service records for the car available?

  • Is the title clear?

  • How did the seller settle on the selling price?

  • Has the car been in any accidents, or had any mechanical problems?

  • Would the seller mind if you had your mechanic inspect the car before closing a deal?

Information you need about a used car before buying it

If I’m the one shopping for the car, a no to any of the above would be a reason to keep looking. Listen, unless you’re shopping for a unicorn, a unique, extremely difficult and rare vehicle, one of the best parts of shopping used is the selection! So, if a seller is going to be demanding or not willing to allow you to make a buying decision properly, I’d say… NEXT, and move on!

So, those are some tips and so the advice I’d offer to anyone willing to listen, and I’m glad you’ve made it here!

As a little reward, I’ll tell you how for only $67.00 you can have me virtually guiding you during the entire used car buying process.

Go and pick up a copy of my course. It’s specifically designed for used car shoppers. It provides all the knowledge you need to avoid being taken advantage of, in other words, how to make sure you don’t get ripped off! And, if you’re like me and you hate haggling, I give you a simple method to use logic to convince the seller why the price you’d like to pay is the proper price! It’s an easy-to-follow guide that even shares some of my real shopping experiences, and it’s priced at a no-brainer, low $67.00!

In closing, I wish you the best, and I hope these tips have helped!

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