Used car buying guide

We have discussed how to buy new cars. This article will introduce the strategy for buying used cars.

image In US, most people have the experience of buying use cars. Since the value of a new car drops fast in the first several years, it is wise to buy a used car with optimal performance price ratio. Sometimes consumers are in the middle of transition, indecisive to make car selection, or short of budget, so they have to buy used cars. In this article, we would like to share some best practice with you. Hopefully, it helps.


1. Identify car brand and model under budget

The most critical factor of buying used cars is reliability, because consumers always worry about the high repair cost. To understand and compare the reliability of different cars, we recommend you to read Consumer Reports. This magazine does not publish any ads to ensure the fairness, so it is very helpful for our daily life. Regarding used cars, it provides detailed annual assessment data from many repair shops based on the repair ratio and recent 10 years’ reliability evaluation of different car models.


According to the recent trend, Japanese cars are the most popular used cars, and European cars and American cars are followed. In general, Japanese cars last longer, and their scrap length is the longest in the junk yard. We always see Japanese cars over 15 years still running on the road. Another advantage of buying used Japanese cars is lower repair cost compared to European cars. Although the overall quality of American cars improves a lot recently, they are still far behind Japanese cars. In particular, Toyota and Honda always have outstanding reliability.

2. Where to buy used cars

There are many free used car ads in every city. You can also find them in local supermarkets. is another active online media to exchange information between buyers and sellers. After contacting the seller, buyer can ask for more details about the car, such as year, brand, model, mileage, title status, condition and etc. If seller is willing to provide CarFax or VIN#, buyer can check the car history and schedule the test drive.

By the way, CarFax is an agent to provide car history report. Once you input a car’s VIN #, you will see the details of Accident Check, Mileage Check, Recall Check, Emissions Inspection and car transaction history. It is very helpful reference if you decide to buy used cars.



3. Identify the price of used cars

image Kelley blue book provides a good reference for use cars pricing. Once you input year, brand, model, mileage, and zip code, kbb will provide different prices based on different conditions. Kbb normally provides private party price, suggested retail price and certified pre-owned price. In general, the price of used cars is below book value.




4. Buy car insurance

After purchasing the car, it is necessary to buy car insurance. Here is a list of auto insurance web sites to provide free quote. You may compare their prices to make a wise decision.

>21st Century Insurance
>State Farm
>Liberty Mutual
>AAPR auto insurance

5. Change title and apply for a new plate from DMV

Changing title always involves pink slip. During the transaction, seller’s signature on the title document is required to release the title, and then buyer brings this signed title to DMV to change title. Both buyer and seller need to fill the address and price on the pink slip. Based on the price, buyer needs to pay the local sales tax. Buyer also needs to bring the car insurance card to apply for a plate.

If you still have your old car to throw away, please click here to get a free estimate. If the price is acceptable, your car will be picked up at no cost.

Save some money on Gas too, CashBack on gasoline credit cards


6. Best practice (You are very welcome to send your story to

To summarize, the following four steps provide a useful guideline to select used cars.

Inspect. If there are some remarkable problems on the body or in the parts, you may get a professional inspection or negotiate price with the seller.

Smell and hear. If there are any strange smell or noises once the car starts and runs, further mechanical inspection is recommended.

Ask. During your conversation with the seller, you should ask for car history and why the seller is selling the car.

Test. During the test drive, you should try different speeds/functions and observe any potential risks involved.

If the used car has salvage title, you should be more careful of checking the detailed damage condition in the accident.


At the end, we wish you the best luck in all your future endeavors to buy a satisfied used car.

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