How to Get a Great Deal on a Used Car

Posted on 05/28/2010

In the market for a used car? You’re not alone. According to Edmunds, consumers bought 36.5 million used cars in 2008. That’s nearly three times the number of new cars purchased. Maybe you’re interested in finding a bargain or maybe you just want to avoid the huge hit in value that new cars take when you drive them off the lot. Either way, here are some tips for getting a great deal on a used car.

Know What You Want - Knowing what you want doesn’t just mean picking a paint color. You need to go into the process of buying a used car with a budget and a list of must-haves so you can get what you want at a price you can afford. Check out for the latest listings in your area, complete with photos.

Take Time for Research - As with any big purchase, the more you know the better deal you can score. Don’t show up on a car lot or respond to a want ad without researching various makes and models on websites like and Kelley Blue Book. That way you’ll know if you’re getting a bargain or wasting your money.

Be Flexible - Be flexible with certain extras and features. Don’t be deterred by a used car that isn’t your top color choice or is missing a sunroof. Some features may be deal-breakers for you, but the more you are willing to adapt the easier it will be to get a great deal on a used car.

Get Ready for a Trade - If you’re trying to trade in a car to offset the purchase of a “new” one, make sure you prepare. A clean car will typically fetch more money than a dirty one. Plus, know how much your car is worth so you can tell if you’re getting a good trade-in offer.

Prepare to Walk - Don’t like the deal you’re getting? Walk away. If you fall in love with a particular car you’ll lose your negotiating power. Try to remember that you’re after a great deal, and if you can’t get this car at a fair price, another one will come along.

By Alison Storm

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