When it’s time to start looking for a vehicle, it can be an extremely overwhelming process if you’re not used to the process! Even if you have purchased a vehicle before, the auto sales business is enough to make your head spin!.

Some dealerships will attempt to offer extremely complicated financing options that can leave you on the hook to pay a lot more than necessary, through predatory finance, financial jargon that a normal car buyer wouldn’t be aware of since they’re not in the business of car finance. Be sure to do your research on the dealership you’ll be buying from, as buyers that have had this happen to them will generally have reviews that indicate this.

No matter what you’re looking for, if you’re looking for a car for sale online, there’s certain tips that are timeless, plus a few we’ve picked up in our own time looking for used vehicles.

Read on to find the ins and outs that could save you thousands when you’re trying to find a used car!

1. For the best price, buy a late model used car.

A new vehicle loses approximately 10% of its value the moment you drive it off the lot, and this number grows over the first few years of ownership. There’s not a viable method of regaining this value, as maintenance is seen as a regular expense as opposed to an investment. Maintaining a vehicle isn’t a matter of gaining, so much as stemming the loss of value over time.

Buying a used car from the past few years is the best move to make for your money, as you’re not taking on that extra cost of buying new, but should still be getting a vehicle that’s young and reliable enough to not worry about the constant repairs that can come with a much older vehicle.

In addition, cars within that timeframe often require less maintenance, and often have a lower overall cost to maintain when factoring in fuel and oil, as newer vehicles will usually have improved fuel economy.

2. Consider whether to buy from a dealer or a private seller for a best deal.

Besides pricing, there are several other factors that can affect the final outcome and price of the sale, including warranties, protection plans, and additional services that a dealership may offer, including roadside assistance.

With this in mind, if you’re looking to spend a little bit less at a dealership, see how many of those services they’re willing to leave out of the deal to lower the price. The entire transaction is negotiable, don’t be afraid to haggle a bit for the price. Dealerships will often be more willing to offer you the best deal, as private sellers are more focused on that one transaction they’ll be involved in.

3. Research your price range for your auto sale.

It’s important to understand the general tier and type of vehicle you’re looking for, as a price much higher than expected would be bad for your budget, but a vehicle with a suspiciously low price might have some surprises waiting under the hood that will ruin your budget just as much as the overpriced vehicle would.

Don’t be afraid to ask why the price is sitting where it is, as well as asking whether or not there is room for negotiation on the price. Most dealers will be more than happy to negotiate a little bit on price if it means the likelihood of a sale increases, whereas a private seller is far more likely to have a firm, non-negotiable price, due to personal financial reasons.

Time of month and the condition of the used car market overall can both factor in, so experiment with the time and day that you call for best results. Your own timetable may mean you have to buy sooner, but if you have the time to properly research and spend your time, you can end up with a much better deal on a car by waiting it out, especially if you left your contact information with a dealership in regards to a particular vehicle.

4. Research the vehicle itself.

In the age of the internet, most used vehicles will have a record of service, previous owners, accidents and more. The more you know about the vehicle, the more likely you’ll be able to negotiate a better price for the vehicle.

Many different sites will offer reports on the vehicle in question, including CarFax, Kelly Blue Book, AutoTrader and more! What makes these even more convenient is that they’ll show vehicles that nearby dealerships may be offering, meaning you could get that much closer to finding the vehicle of your dreams with just a few clicks!

For example, if you were looking for one of the used vehicles we have for sale, you could look directly at our website, or you can go through AutoTrader to see any additional information they have on the vehicle. Most dealerships will have their vehicles listed in multiple places, including their own website and many or all of the services listed above, but if there’s a dealership nearby with a good reputation, picking from their selection can simplify the process quite a bit.

Once you know as much as you can gather from the internet and other sources, it’s time to….

5. Take the vehicle for a test drive!

Even if you’ve driven a vehicle exactly like it before, same year, same trim, it’s important to get a feel for the one you’re buying!

Additional details can come up through the test drive that you might not have previously considered, like turning radius, acceleration, etc. Make sure the vehicle really lives up to what you want from it in particular.

6. Don’t forget about a trade-in!

This option is really only feasible for deals done with dealerships, but if you already have a vehicle on hand that you’d like to replace, don’t be afraid to ask how much they’re willing to pay for it.

For your own information, if you’d like to see how much we’d offer you for your current vehicle, check out our trade-in page!

7. Work on your negotiation skills!

This can vary a lot by dealership/seller, but it’s important to strike a balance on how much you can bring the price down. It’s best to be assertive without being too abrasive.

If you approach too softly, you may not be able to get the price down all that much, whereas approaching too harshly may make the seller think you’re being unreasonable, making them less likely to want to work with you.

Keep your upper price limit in mind, as the price should not go higher than the sticker price in the course of negotiation, but taxes, fees, etc. can make the price go higher than the agreed upon price. Be sure that you know what the final total is going to be before the paperwork is signed.

Be upfront about what you’ve learned in your time doing research on the vehicle. If the seller seems hesitant to mention something that your research has verified about the vehicle, this could be a sign of a dishonest dealership. Any information you have about the vehicle, for better or worse, can help you in the long run.

8. Keep an open mind!

You may end up finding a vehicle you never would’ve considered before. There’s a place for brand loyalty, but sometimes you’ll find that the perfect vehicle for you is going to be something entirely different than what you originally intended on looking for. As long as it fits your needs, budget and taste, surprises can often be better than the outcome you were expecting.

With that in mind, we’d recommend you take a look at our selections! Here at Castle Car Company, we focus on providing top of the line cars at below the line prices, and our selection shows that! Our vehicles are mostly late model year used cars, the best bang for your buck, with reliability you can count on!