Used vehicles are an excellent alternative to buying new, especially for buyers shopping on a budget. However, buying used has its own trials and tribulations, and you should be prepared before diving in.

Q: What are the benefits of buying a used car?

A: Used vehicles don’t need as many repairs as they used to. These days, cars are engineered to last longer than they once were. As a result, many used cars are more dependable than you’d think. You can also get a fairly new used car that’s only two- or three years old with many modern amenities at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Q: Why should I buy from a dealer versus a third-party seller?

A: A third-party seller is not a business. There is no way to check their reputation or integrity before making the transaction. In addition, they might be selling you a vehicle that has many invisible problems that you won’t be able to detect before you drive off in your new set of wheels. A dealership that sells used cars often has their vehicles inspected before putting them back on the lot and is bound by customer reviews and word-of-mouth.

Q: What’s the difference between a used car and a CPO vehicle?

A: All CPO vehicles are used, but not all used cars are CPO. CPO stands for “certified pre-owned.” Many dealerships affiliated with a certain brand will subject a used vehicle to a rigorous maintenance and inspection checklist before putting them back on the market with a factory-backed stamp of approval and, oftentimes, a warranty and roadside assistance. However, they’re often more expensive than typical used cars.

Q: How should I prepare when going to buy a used car?

A: Even if you buy from a dealer, it’s good practice to walk around the vehicle and give it a brief but detailed inspection before test-driving. Furthermore, you should have an idea of a particular make and model’s value before negotiating.

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