Used Car Buying Guide

September 26th, 2022 by

There’s no better feeling than driving away from Federico Kia in a brand-new car. You can get that same feeling from driving one of our used or certified pre-owned cars, especially if you have a tight budget or just want to reap the savings of buying used.

Our used car buying guide is designed to take the hassle out of finding and buying your next used car. Here’s want you’ll need to know as you search through our extensive inventory.

Consider Your Budget

Make this your first step before visiting the showroom. First, decide whether you’re paying with cash or through financing. For the latter, you can obtain financing directly from the dealership or through your local bank or credit union. There are also other outside sources to rely on for your auto financing needs.

Once you have your financing in place, consider the cost of the vehicle plus recurring costs. These typically include insurance premiums and overall maintenance.

Know What You Want

Next, decide what type of vehicle you need or want. If you need something for your everyday commute, for instance, then chances are you’re looking for a used vehicle with good gas mileage and an impressive track record for reliability. If you want to bring the family along for road trips, then a large family SUV is the vehicle for you. If you’re looking for a fun car with plenty of performance, then a sports car or muscle car is right up your alley.

Once you know what type of ride you want, make a list of the features you’d like in it. These include safety, infotainment, performance enhancements, etc. Narrow down your options based on that criteria and you’ll end up with one or two solid choices you can finally see in person.

Check Out Your Vehicle’s Backstory

Once you have a used car in your sights, grab a vehicle history report for it. Some dealerships offer them free of charge, but you can also buy one for any vehicle for a reasonable fee.

These reports often contain a treasure trove of information about your vehicle, including its full ownership and maintenance history. You can even find out if the vehicle was ever brought in for recall work and if it has a clean or salvage title.

Keep in mind that vehicle history reports only have what the dealerships, mechanics, and insurance companies choose to report. It’s not uncommon for a vehicle to be involved in a minor collision, for instance, only for the damage to go unreported by the owner, insurance company, or collision shop.

Check Your Purchase Carefully

When you arrive at the dealership in person, you’ll finally have an opportunity to look at your next used vehicle up close and personal. Take this moment to really get a close look at your ride. After all, a keen eye is important when it comes to your next used car purchase:

  • Check the body and paint for any chips, scratches, dents, dings, or other flaws that could detract from the car’s overall appearance.
  • Check the interior and look for any worn carpet or trim. Make sure the seats and armrests are in good condition. Make sure that all buttons on the climate and audio/infotainment controls are present and accounted for.
  • Take your used vehicle out for a spin and keep your ears peeled for any strange noises. Get a feel for the vehicle and how it handles in everyday situations. Make sure your test drive route gives you plenty of time to get comfortable with the vehicle.
  • If possible, have an independent mechanic perform a thorough vehicle inspection.

Don’t Forget About Your Trade-In

If you’re buying a new or used car, then chances are you already have a trade-in lined up. In most cases, the agreed-upon value of your old vehicle will go towards the purchase price of your next used vehicle.

Before you arrive at the dealership, get an idea of how much your old vehicle is possibly worth. NADA and Kelly Blue Book are great sources with a comprehensive list of vehicle values to look up. The value of your old car may vary based on a variety of factors, including its age, overall condition, mileage, and equipped features.

Once you have these figures in hand, see what the dealer is willing to offer for your trade-in. Most dealers offer a fair price that’s within the book value for your vehicle. Keep in mind that you can always sell the vehicle yourself if the dealer’s number is too low for your liking.

Once you’re ready to purchase a used vehicle, visit the team at Federico Kia in Wood River, IL. We have an extensive selection of high-quality pre-owned vehicles at our lot near St. Louis. Contact us today!