« Back to Automotive News

How to Buy a Used Car

Buying a Used Car in Harrisburg Buying a new car near Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and Trevose is fun and easy when you know how the process goes. To help you out, we created this guide on how to buy a used car.

Are you ready to find your dream car? Then read through the information below! Feel free to contact us at Faulkner Auto Group if you have any questions.

1. Set a Budget.

The very first step to buying a used car is determining how much you can afford to pay each month. You can either pay for a used car with cash or take out an auto loan.

If you’re paying cash, budgeting will be easy. However, you don’t want to spend all your savings. You’ll still need to set aside money for registration and insurance.

Most people take out an auto loan to pay for a car. Before visiting a dealership, you can fill out a finance application to get pre-approved, which will help simplify the buying process. If you’re planning on trading in your current ride, you can value your trade to determine how much money you could put toward a new ride.

The more money you put down initially, the less you’ll have to pay each month. Ideally, your total monthly auto expenses shouldn’t be more than 20% of your monthly take home pay.

2. Decide What Kind of Car You Want.

Figuring Out Your Used Car Budget

Now that you have a budget in mind, this next step is where the real fun begins. Finding a new car can be exciting, especially with so many body styles, colors, and features to choose from.

If you’re not sure which vehicle is right for you, think about your needs and lifestyle. If you have long commutes, then consider a fuel-efficient sedan with lots of technologies to help keep you entertained and safe.

If you have or are planning to have a family, then you may want to get a spacious SUV or minivan. Maybe you need a vehicle to haul heavy equipment for work or leisure. If that’s the case, then a tough pickup might be right for you.

You’ll also want to think about your must-have features. If you live in particularly cold climates, then you may need heated seats. If your job requires lots of traveling, a navigation system may be at the top of your list. Keep in mind that the features you need or want will have to fit within your budget.

3. Check Vehicle History Reports.

Once you have a few cars on your wish list, you’ll need to look through each one’s auto history. A vehicle history report will give you an in-depth look at a car’s past, and show you such things as:

  • Number of previous owners
  • Any past accidents
  • If required maintenance was performed on time

To look at a history report, you’ll just need a vehicle identification number (VIN). Then, once you look through all the information, you’ll have a clear understanding on whether you should buy the car.

4. Test Drive a Few Cars.

Narrowing Down Used Cars to PurchaseAfter narrowing down your list of cars even further, it’s time to go on some test drives. The test drive is the deciding factor on which automobile will be your new ride.

Before you actually drive the car, you’ll want to take a good look around it. Pay attention to any possible scratches, dents, or differences in paint color.

Next, it’s time to look inside the car. Check the upholstery for any rips, tears, or stains. Get in the driver’s seat and make sure you’re comfortable behind the wheel. Plus, check that all the buttons and controls are within reach and work properly.

While going on the actual drive, pay attention to how the car is performing. Are the brakes responsive and predictable? How does the steering feel? Are there any blind spots? If everything looks and feels good, then it may just be the one for you.

After the test drive, ask lots of questions, as the salespeople at the dealership are there to help. Take notes, and feel free to test drive a couple vehicles more than once. This way, you can accurately determine which car you’ll end up purchasing.

Check Out Our Used Cars

Now that you’ve read our guide to how to buy a used car, you’re that much closer to getting your dream ride. If you’re ready to start the car-searching process, contact us at Faulkner Auto Group. We love helping drivers in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and Trevose with all their automotive needs, and we look forward to doing the same for you.