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10 Tips for Buying a Used Car, from Kelley Blue Book

The used-car market is a great place for shoppers who want a dependable and practical…

  • August 15, 2020

The used-car market is a great place for shoppers who want a dependable and practical vehicle, without the new-car price tag. Today, used car quality is better than ever, but the buying process can still be daunting.

Luckily, the experts at Kelley Blue Book have made it simpler by sharing their insider tips on How to Buy a Used Car.

From budgeting to signing the paperwork, these 10 pointers will make purchasing your perfect used car easy, and maybe even fun.

Follow These Tips:

Figure out how much you can afford – The first, and most important step is to figure out how much you can afford to spend whether on monthly payments through a loan or outright. Don’t forget to factor in recurring costs like fuel, maintenance and insurance as well.

Find the right vehicle for you – While the variety of options may be staggering, it also means there is a better chance of finding the used car that fits all your needs. To find cars and read expert reviews, visit’s Car Finder or read reviews from the editors.

Find used-vehicle prices – After choosing a potential vehicle, it’s important to check its price. Check out the Car Prices section on for accurate pricing data. Strongly consider certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles that are certified to be good as new and come with warranties that can be even better than they would be for a new car.

Check your current vehicle’s price – Whether you’re putting the money toward your used-car purchase or opening up a spot up in the driveway, visit My Car’s Value on to see how much the car you currently own is worth if selling it is part of the plan.

Get financing lined up – Explore your options when it comes to financing. While some dealers offer financing, it’s important to consider alternative options from your bank or credit union and pick what’s best for you.

Contact sellers – Once you’ve pinpointed the car you want, it’s time to inquire about it. Make sure to ask questions about the specific vehicle. If you’re considering buying from a private seller, be sure to find out if they have a clean title.

Get a vehicle history report – Checking the vehicle’s history is a great way to avoid potential problems. The history report of a vehicle can be found through the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and will let you know if the car has any issues.

Examine and test drive the car – Take it for a spin! Yes, this is the fun part, but make sure to stay objective about the vehicle’s full condition to give it a proper inspection.

Negotiate a price – You’ve found the used car for you, and if you’ve followed these steps, you’ve done your research and have a Blue Book price for the car (an advantage and great starting point). Stay within a reasonable price range and don’t over-extend yourself.

Do the paperwork – While this may sound mundane, it’s necessary. On top of signing the sales contract, make sure to get every other necessary document in order.

With all the excitement of having the keys in your hands, don’t forget to add your vehicle to your insurance policy.

Need some help with this? AERO makes the car buying experience easy. We have trusted partners who can help you search for a car and we can help you determine how much car you can buy. Start here!