Head to Heads & Advice 

Used Car Buyer’s Guide

Simply buying a car is easy enough. But buying the right used car? That’s a completely different story. AutoNation USA sells used vehicles from all over the spectrum of makes and models. Without a place to start, you might find yourself quick lost in a sea of vehicles with a wide variety of features, specifications, styles, and prices. What are you looking for? AutoNation USA is the best place to start. Our staff members are quick to help and eager to point you in the right direction. But for those of you hunting for advice behind the screen of your mobile device or computer, this is the used car buyer’s guide for you. Take a look at our 5 tips for buying a used car and begin the process early. When you’re ready to come in, find the AutoNation USA used car dealer near you and either give us a call or an impromptu drop-in. We’re ready to make the process of getting that perfect vehicle into your driveway as simple and streamlined as possible.


Tip #1 – Know Your Needs & Your Numbers
AutoNation sells over 30 different manufacturer brands. Each brand has a number of models. Each model has a number of trim levels. Do you know what you need, and how much you can afford? Consider your lifestyle. If you’re regularly hauling children from Point A to Point B, you may be looking at a minivan or an SUV. If you’re in the need of a fun vehicle that will slick your hair back, a convertible sports car may be more to your tastes. How about a hybrid sedan for commuting to and from work? Know your needs. Once you’ve identified the style of vehicle you’re interested in, figuring out your brand comes a little easier. Premium luxury brands tend to have higher price points because of their added features and prestige. Compare vehicles in the category of your choice to see what price ranges you would be able to accommodate. Knowing how much you can reasonably afford makes narrowing down your vehicle-of-choice list much simpler.


Tip #2 – Get Pre-Qualified
As an additional step to knowing your numbers, go ahead and drop by your bank of choice before you stop in at your local AutoNation USA dealership. Talk to your financial adviser and work to get pre-qualified for the amount of money that will cover your preferred price point. Often this conversation is illuminating and may even change what price range you have already decided on. Getting pre-qualified also removes the hassle of working to get qualified after you’ve found the vehicle you want, reducing the time invested and the risk of letting a vehicle get away because the financing didn’t work quite the way you expected.


Tip #3 – Test Drive Your Top Vehicle Choices
You don’t have to fall in love too hastily with any one vehicle. Once you’ve established what type of vehicle you want and how much you can afford to pay for it, select at least three vehicles that match those requirements. For instance, you might need a sedan for typical driving in and around town, but not one that necessarily has all the bells and whistles. You may consider putting a Honda Accord on your list, as well as the Toyota Camry, in that case. Test drive all of the vehicles that you may be interested in, and take a friend or family member with you when you do. They’ll be able to give you a passenger’s perspective- and some good company.


Tip #4 – Inspect & Research Your Vehicle
Take a look at the vehicle histories of the cars that are still sitting at the top of your wish-list. In person, inspect the tires, electronics, seats, and exterior conditions. When you test drive the vehicle, make sure you drive it as though you expect to drive it for the foreseeable future. How do you like the gauges? Are there interior quirks you don’t like, either model- or vehicle-specific? Does the air conditioning work the way you’ll need it to in the scorching summer sun? Does the driver’s seat feel as comfortable as you want it to? Don’t be afraid to be picky. If you don’t like something about one vehicle, jump to the next. Even more than that, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Staff members are information warehouses and they are eager to help you find out what you need to know.


Tip #5 – Take Your Time & Understand Your Warranty
Don’t feel rushed. AutoNation USA used car dealerships are here to help you get the right used car for you and your family- not to push you into a vehicle that may or may not fit your best interests. In addition to taking your time with actually buying the car, take time to get familiar with the warranties and return policies associated with the vehicles of your choice. AutoNation USA staff members can explain the guarantees attached to their vehicles in a clear and concise fashion.

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