Let’s look at what kind of cars you can expect to buy with a specific budget:
||Used car types available
||Compact sedans, hatchbacks, and a few SUV alternatives; mostly 2008-15 models
||Compact and midsize sedan models, hatchbacks, some early hybrid vehicles and trucks, and more SUV options; mostly 2014-19 models
||2022 sedans, hatchbacks, hybrid vehicles, and a wide range of trucks and SUVs; some sports cars and luxury vehicles, like the Toyota GR68
||Newest SUVs, sedans, sports cars, and luxury models
Searching for a Used Car
In the digitally connected world, you can either visit a used car dealership or try a number of online options:
- Social media resources like Facebook Marketplace
- Paid sites like Autotrader, Craigslist, and eBay Motors
- Used car dealers that have apps and strong online aggregates, like CarMax
- Local big-name dealerships
Exercise due diligence to ensure that when you’re buying from a private seller, online or otherwise, you’re doing so in a safe and legally-sound manner. We’ll look at some safety best practices in a later section to make sure your transactions run smoothly and legally.
Determining How Much a Used Car Is Really Worth
If you buy through a reliable used car dealership, like CarMax or Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, a lot of prices will be non-negotiable. Still, you can always assess the price of a vehicle by comparing its cost online.
Trusted online used car price estimators like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Consumer Reports list price ranges for a wide range of vehicles3. Regardless of whether you make an assessment yourself, compare prices, or use an online evaluator, test drive the car and take it to a mechanic. More on how to execute a comprehensive inspection is below.
Following Best Safety Practices When Buying a Used Car
Especially if you’re buying a used car from a private seller or someone online, you want to be aware of popular scams and the laws in your state pertaining to used car sales.