If you’re looking at a new car and can’t afford to buy new, you’re probably wondering what the best used cars to buy are. Combing through the pages of Consumer Reports and Edmunds can help you determine specific make and model years to target (or avoid), but there are also a few general tips that you might not know can help you find reliable, affordable used cars.
- Look for CPO Cars
You should always perform an inspection before buying a used car, using a checklist found online or in a car magazine. But this can be tricky if you have no auto background. In that case, you may want to take the extra precaution of looking for local car dealers offering certified pre owned vehicles, which have been inspected, refurbished and certified by the manufacturer.
- Save for Recent Model Years
This won’t work if you’re looking for a super cheap car as quickly as possible. But if you can afford to hold off on buying even a little while longer to save up, buying a recent model year (say three years old, instead of eight years old), you may get a much better value. New cars depreciate most steeply in the first years of ownership, as soon as they’re driven off the lot. But many people still trade them in a few years later with no major mechanical issues. So by paying a few thousand dollars more than you initially planned, you can get a car with most of the benefits of a brand new vehicle.
- Scrutinize Cars From Flood States
If you’re looking at an out-of-state used car, investigate whether it may have been damaged in a flood. Flood damage is easy to conceal, especially to untrained eyes, so unscrupulous owners may ship them out of state where they—and their numerous mechanical problems—can be passed on to you.
- Avoid Granny Cars
At first glance, these cars seem like the best deal. They look pristine and have low mileage, only having been driven back and forth to church or doctors’ appointments a few times a week. But you’ll want to carefully inspect the engine before buying such a vehicle, since such occasional around-town driving is actually much harder on a car than freeway driving.
Your turn: What do you think are the best used cars to buy? Share your opinion in the comments. More information like this.