Whether it’s from another person or from a dealership, it’s important to take your time and be diligent when buying a used car. Follow these tips from other drivers and you should have no problem at all.
Know your limit.
I’m talking financially and, in a way, logically. What I mean is “I have $5000 to buy this compact sedan so I save money, drive my small family and can park in the city much…oooooo look a mustang!” isn’t logical and beyond what you need (no matter what your inner child says).
Do your research.
The most important thing I do and I’ve bought/sold a total of 20 used cars in as many years without ever having bought a lemon is:
Research the model to death (sometimes to a fault) to understand what model I want, known weak points, typical repair and cost intervals and price points. I use fan/blogs for that model vehicle when possible.
Go to used car auctions.
You likely won’t be able to do a pre-vehicle inspection with your mechanic, but you will have a good opportunity to save a lot of money. You may have some gremlins to deal with, but overall you’ll probably come out on top.
My Dad has done this on his last 3 Volvo’s and despite the mechanical issues he ran into with 2 out of 3 of them, he was thousands ahead of the curve compared to what e-bay or dealerships wanted for the same make, model, and year.