One of the best ways to get a best buy used car is to narrow down your list of automotive candidates to a few promising models.
The best way to buy a car is to start by deciding:
- what kind of car you want?
- what options you want?
- if the color matters
- if it will be new or used
- you will lease it or buy it
What will you need your new car for? What kind of mileage do you want it to get? (Does a hybrid sound good?) If it’s going to be a used car, would you prefer to buy it from a private seller or a car dealer? How old can the car be?
Before you talk to anyone who could sell you a car, you really should write down what you’d like. The better you know what you want, the better you can negotiate and the less chance you have of regretting the car you buy or lease. So what’s important to you in a car-safety? Number of doors? Automatic or manual transmission? Air conditioning? Anti-lock brakes? Air bags? Sound system? Power windows? Locks? Seats? Mirrors? Cruise control? Sunroof? Upholstery material?
How to use the internet to refine your search
There are a lot of places to go for opinions on the web, but most promise more than they deliver. If, like us, you’ve decided you want an eight-passenger SUV with high a safety rating, that’s not made in America, you can read what real people really think about the few models that are available at epinions.com/auto?tab=1. We don’t get anything from this recommendation. This site has had more helpful information on every vehicle we’ve looked up than any other.
Real people, who have experience with the particular make and model you’re interested in, and nothing to gain or lose by being honest, can be an invaluable help. When my wife was researching our new car, she found one negative comment about the Honda Pilot-that keys, pencils or anything else that fall between the driver’s seat and the center console are almost impossible to remove. We can live with this. She read feedback on other cars here that got them cross off our list. We’ve loved everything about that car except for this design flaw, and we knew about it before our first test drive.
Once you’ve read what real people think about the cars you’re interested in, go the manufacturer’s web sites for the cars you’re interested. At these you’ll be able to:
- see the features of the cars up close
- determine the cost of a car
- build your car online
- be able to find dealers in your area if you want to take a test drive
There are drawbacks to manufacturer and dealer web sites, of course. Manufacturers’ sites are geared toward selling you a car. They will fill pages with benefits and features of cars, and include graphics, testimonials and other verbiage that’s more useful in catching your eye than in providing helpful information.
By the time you arrive at the dealer’s lot, you should have a good idea about which model you want, the options and accessories you’re interested in, how you expect to pay for the car and, if applicable, how much your trade-in is worth. To get the best buy used car can be broken down into four main steps: ask questions (mostly to yourself and your spouse), shop around, test drive the cars you’re interested in and conduct research.