June 9, 2023

With each passing day purchasing a car becomes more straightforward and you have to take specific steps to ensure you get the best vehicle for you. Buying a used car should be taken with care to ensure you get a reliable car at a great price. Especially when you get a certified pre-owned car usually in its best shape and will give you an almost new car experience, follow the following steps to purchase a used car.

Set Your Budget

Setting a budget is one of the most critical steps in purchasing a car. When the dealer wants to know the kind of vehicle you want, they ask you for your budget. A budget gives you an overview of what you will spend. When writing down your budget, you have to factor in additional monies you will spend other than the buying price or monthly payments. The other factors include the insurance costs, gas costs, state registration renewal fees and regular maintenance costs. It is always advisable to buy upfront in cash as you will still have maintenance costs to cover.

If you are considering paying with a car loan, you should try the 20/4/10 rule to keep you in check with your budget so that you do not lose money. This system states that the minimum down payment of the car should not be less than 20% of the buying price and the car’s loan repayment period should not be more than four years. Then the ten stands for 10 percent of your monthly income, which should cover your monthly expenses, including the principal, interest payment and insurance costs. If you follow this rule well, you will ideally align with your budget

Know What You Want

An important aspect that should not be ignored is knowing what you want. Knowing what you want also sets the pace for your budget. Having the right car in mind will also lead you to research the right way to get the best deals and get the best quality car for the type you want. There are various factors you should look out for. If you are looking into buying an electric car example, you should research the range, the time it takes to charge fully and for a few miles, where you will get charging stations and whether they are close to your home. You should also check whether the car’s battery life can last you a long time. In this case, your budget will always determine the range of the car you will buy.

Suppose you are willing to buy a diesel or gasoline engine car. In that case, you could check out the engine capacity, the fuel economy of the car, and the engine’s efficiency. Another important issue you could also research is whether the car’s repairs and parts are available in your region and whether it would be economical for you whenever you want it repaired. It should also be noted that buying an electric car attracts tax incentives in some countries to encourage more people to buy the cars for environmental conservation efforts. Diesel and gasoline engine cars tend to be more powerful than hybrid and electric cars; hence if you want a car that will be used for heavy-duty, this might be the car for you.

When you are willing to buy a hybrid car, you should also consider the advantages and disadvantages of using a hybrid car. It combines a combustion engine and an electric motor making it more efficient than the diesel engine. You will spend less money on fuel when using this car than the one with a sole combustion engine while enjoying the perks of using an electric car. Also, make sure you research the types of hybrid cars and which ones will be more beneficial to you. One significant advantage of hybrid cars is that the batteries can keep recharging as you continue your journey. The only disadvantage of electric and hybrid cars is that they are more expensive to maintain and purchase.

You should also research the body type of the car you want to satisfy your needs. SUVs have larger bodies and ground clearance, making it possible to traverse off-roads comfortably. Pick-up trucks have an open cargo area that can accommodate large amounts of cargo and its ground clearance is perfect for off-road duties. Sedans are smaller than SUVs, have the traditional trunk cargo area, and can be used for day-to-day activities and travels.SUV’s and hatchbacks have a different trunk than the sedan, an extended cargo area, only Vans have sliding doors and can handle more people and cargo compared to the other vehicles. A coupe is simply a sedan that accommodates only two passengers, while a convertible is a coupe without a roof.

Another essential aspect that should not be overlooked is the safety ratings of the car and the measures taken by the manufacturer to ensure it is good at avoiding crashes. The car should also have systems to make sure the occupants are safe in case of an unavoidable crash. A heads up is you should avoid cars that have just been introduced into the market. These cars usually have some hidden defects which the manufacturer may be unaware of, and they use the first year of production to gather any information. In case these defects are severe, they may cause damage.

It would be wise to research all aspects of buying your car to make sure you get the real deal. You should diversify your research methods from online pages to visiting dealerships to taking opinions from other car owners and users.

Leasing Vs. Buying

Whenever you want to buy a car, you should also weigh out the options on the table, for example, leasing. Leasing involves paying monthly payments to drive a car, but the car does not belong to you once the lease ends. The payments paid for the lease are usually significantly lower than the monthly car loan payments. Here are some of the advantages of leasing a car:

  • You get to drive a car when it is at its best
  • Leases may include scheduled maintenance so that you won’t spend extra.
  • You can drive a car that you may not have been able to afford.
  • You do not have to worry about fluctuation of the car’s value.
  • There may be tax advantages that come especially to business owners.

However, it should be noted that at the end of a lease, the total money you pay might be higher than buying a car in the long run. Plus, you cannot drive an unlimited number of miles you want since there is a limit. Plus, you cannot modify the car you lease as you need to return it to the showroom as you got it. It would help if you considered the option that is best for you.


If you buy a car, you should look at your financing options, whether you will go for direct lending or dealership financing. Direct lending involves direct borrowing from a finance company or a bank. One advantage for a direct loan is you get pre-qualified before you shop for a vehicle. Dealership financing is when you apply for the financing directly for the dealership which sells the deal to the bank. The advantage of dealership financing is you get multiple financing options due to the dealer’s relationship with banks and finance companies.

You should make sure you get the best financing deal to make sure you the payments are affordable without breaking your bank. You also have an option to purchase GAP insurance to cover the costs just in case anything happens to the vehicle. When trying to get dealership financing, make sure to inquire the following from the dealer:

  • Add-ons such as gap policies, window etching and warranties and service contracts.
  • Whether the dealer offers manufacturer incentives that may save you money
  • Ask for discounts or special prices and
  • Your annual percentage rate includes the amount you pay the dealer for handling the financing.

Make sure you know and understand all the terms of the contract before signing it.

When checking for car financing, you should make sure you check on a few aspects to make sure you qualify and will not be denied. Such aspects include:

  • Knowing your credit score is crucial as it is what is checked first before any other information. Make sure you have a good credit score or fix a bad one before you apply.
  • Make sure you apply for your loans for 14 days, as any effects on your credit score are only recorded as one Car Financing.
  • Ensure your loans are within the limit you can receive, or you can budget for.

In case you have a trade-in option, you should also consider it. A trade-in is when you trade in your old car for a percentage of the total car cost, saving you money. To get the best deal on trade-in, make sure your car is in good condition and repaired whenever there is an issue. Some dealerships accept trade-ins while others do not.

Test Drive the Car

This is one of the most critical procedures that you do not want to miss. Make sure you visit different dealerships and test drive the car that you would like to purchase. Listen to the car’s engine, its movement, and the sounds from the car and the steering wheel. Also, notice the braking, the transmission system, and the suspension. Make sure the used car is in perfect condition, as most dealerships may sell you a substandard car if you are not careful. Test driving will also give you the chance to rethink whether that is the type of car that will you’re your need.

Find the Right Dealer

To find a reputable dealer, you need to do a lot of research that may involve using many avenues, from visiting the dealerships one by one by yourself or even getting recommendations from other car owners and family and friends. You may also need to check for the dealers that offer certified pre-owned cars. These are cars that have been slightly used and are as good as new.. If you do not fancy making your way to dealerships’ physical location, you may also consider online purchasing at the comfort of your house. All you need to do is browse different dealers and select the one that satisfies you the most.

After successfully identifying a dealer, you will need to negotiate the price of the used car you want to purchase. Make sure you take your time and reach a price you will pay comfortably without putting your livelihood at risk.

After the purchase is thoroughly made and all the paperwork signed, you will need to check the delivery options available to get your car. Some dealerships fancy delivering the car to your doorstep, while others deliver to the designated pick-up points. You may also drive away with your car if you want.


Buying a used car is risky, but will be rewarding provided you do your due diligence in searching for financing and choosing the right vehicle. Stay within your budget, always test drive the vehicle you wish to purchase, and enjoy the ownership of a new vehicle.