Finding the Best Used Car

Buying a pre-owned car can help you save a lot of money, but it also comes with some challenges. Even when you buy your used car from a trusted used car dealership in Tucson, you should come into the experience prepared if you really want to get the best possible deal. With that said, though, it’s not rocket science. We normally recommend these straightforward used car buying tips to help drivers save as much money as possible while finding the best pre-owned vehicle.

Decide What You Want

When you visit an independent used car dealership, you’ll find all kinds of makes and models. This can make it hard to narrow down your search unless you already have a good idea of what you want. Think about your budget and lifestyle as you determine whether you want a sedan, truck, SUV, or something else. If you can narrow it down to a few specific models that you like, it will be even easier to do your research.

Know the Market Value of the Used Car

This is why it might help if you know exactly which make and model you’ll be looking at. To be fair, though, sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’ll find at a used car dealership. One of the benefits of shopping at an independent dealership is that you’ll be exposed to all different makes and models of pre-owned cars.

In that case, don’t be afraid to get out your smartphone at the dealership and do a few quick searches. Just tell the salesperson that you need a break to look at a few things. They should understand since they want you to be an informed buyer. Look up the type of used car you’re thinking about to see what kind of price range is fair.

Think About Age and Mileage

Is a car’s age or its mileage more important? There are a lot of different opinions about this issue, and it really seems to depend on the vehicle. In any case, it’s good to know a few things so you can understand the pre-owned vehicle you’re considering:

  • The average vehicle gets driven about 10,000 to 12,000 miles each year. Divide the total mileage of a car by the car’s age to see how many miles per year it’s been driven. If the yearly mileage for a vehicle is well over 12,000 then the car could be considered high-mileage for its age. That makes it less valuable than similar cars of the same age.
  • On the other hand, a car that’s been driven much less than 10,000 miles per year would be considered more valuable than other cars of that age.
  • Most vehicles depreciate quickly for the first five years or so, then depreciate much more slowly.
  • You can make sense of how age and mileage affect the value of a vehicle by looking at similar vehicles online to get a few examples.

Take Your Time With the Vehicle

Don’t rush the inspection or feel pressured to hurry if there’s a salesperson with you. Look for tears, stains, and other signs of wear and tear. Take a whiff to see if everything in the car smells normal. Look under the hood to see if it’s oily, cracked, or showing other signs of engine problems. Finally, sit in a few different seats to make sure everything is comfortable.

Take a Test Drive

This is an important part of your inspection. Test features like the sound system, heat, and air conditioning. Make sure there are no warning lights on, the brakes work well, and the car handles nicely. You shouldn’t smell, hear, or see anything unusual.

Check the Vehicle’s History

The used car dealership should be able to give you a full report of the vehicle’s history so you can see if there’s a pattern of repeated problems. If the same thing has been fixed over and over, you can probably guess why the previous owner bailed on the vehicle. You may even want to have a mechanic take a look.

Visit Cactus Auto in Tucson

Here at Cactus Auto, we’ve been building our reputation within the Tucson community since 1986. We know what it takes to identify the best-used cars, and we stock our lot with them. Our experienced staff can help walk you through all of the options as you identify which vehicle is the most precise fit for your needs. Stop by today to find your pre-owned vehicle!