Try this easy-to-follow, 11-step guide to shopping for a used car

Shopping for a car is easier said than done.

But it’s done every day – sometimes by shoppers who don’t know what they’re doing.

We’re going to try to make sure you aren’t one of those by sharing the most common steps to shopping for a used car, according to a survey conducted by the website CarStory.com.

120916-sc-try-this-easy-to-follow-11-step-guide-to-shopping-for-a-used-car

Here’s what to do, emphasizing the steps most-often used, with each step followed by the percentage of survey respondents that identified it:

  1. Calculate amount you can afford (68 percent) – It’s a less emotional step than, say, going to the dealership right away, and a good way to begin a thoughtful
  2. Search for vehicles online (86 percent) – Hundreds of vehicle models come out each year, which means you literally have thousands of used-car choices to sort through.
  3. Read online reviews (53 percent) – Online, print, wherever you can find something that informs you about the vehicles you are considering.
  4. Narrow down your search (52 percent) – Use whatever factors are most important to you – reliability, fuel-efficiency, design, color, etc. – to get to a favorite handful.
  5. Consider other vehicles (60 percent) – After narrowing the field, compare your choices to vehicles you might (or might not) have considered earlier, because you could be surprised.
  6. Check vehicle history (59 percent) – This is a must for any used vehicles on your list.
  7. Test drive (74 percent) – Although it’s surprising that 26 percent of shoppers don’t do this.
  8. Check vehicle’s market value (59 percent) – Because you’ll need to know that for Step 9.
  9. Negotiate price (56 percent) – It’s the step almost everyone dreads. But if you’ve done your homework, you should be more comfortable.
  10. Negotiate financing (41 percent) – It’s the other step almost everyone dreads. Most experts suggest arranging your own financing so you can bargain like a cash customer.
  11. Drive the car home (76 percent) – Or go back to step 5. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

One step we left out – because taking it kinda depends on how much they know about cars – would be to ask friends and family for their recommendations. But, as we said …

That should do it. Now you’re ready to go car shopping. And drive home your next vehicle.

More Like This

My car does what? Many drivers confused by the latest technology

My car does what? Many drivers confused by the latest technology

Cars have never been more loaded with computer technology than right now. And, it’s possible that drivers have never been more confused. That technology includes adaptive cruise control, tire-pressure monitoring, curve-speed warning and two dozen other systems, according to the…

The mobile websites phablet smartphone users find most useful

The mobile websites phablet smartphone users find most useful

Many smartphone users find TrueCar shopping website simply phabulous. TrueCar, which offers to make every vehicle shopper “an expert in 60 seconds or less,” scored highest of 10 third-party websites among users of large-screen smartphones – phablets – in a…