Tips on Buying a Used Car

Most of us have dealt with the joy of buying a car. I dare say that many, if not all of us, have at one time or another owned/purchased a used car from someone. It can be one of the most rewarding, yet frustrating things to do. I am currently in the process of purchasing a used vehicle. I drove a company car last year for Young & Free Maine. What a great experience it was to not have to worry about a car payment for a year. Heck, I didn’t even have to pay for gas! Unfortunately, that ended and reality set back in. Now, my wife and I are sharing a car, and will soon be buying a second one.

I am a firm believer in buying used cars. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy a new car, because let’s face it, that new car smell is just so overwhelmingly awesome that everyone should have the chance to experience it! I got to experience it last year and it was awesome! Now, it’s smarter for me to buy a used car. Why? It’s less expensive, cheaper to insure and I like a car that has some mileage behind it. If you’re like me and are going to be looking for a car soon, here’s some tips on purchasing your new ride.


Take a look at what you want to buy and do some research on the make, model and year of the car. Believe it or not, some cars had good and bad years for production. Some are very reliable, and others are cheap for a reason. Make sure you know what the Kelly Blue Book value of the car is before even negotiating. It may be worth it to even print off the estimate so you have it in hand. It will help when you negotiate!

Be Ready to Negotiate

If you are going to a dealership to buy a car, be ready to negotiate prices. Make sure you do some research on what other places are charging, but go in ready to spend some time talking them down. As a rule of thumb, you should probably never pay exactly what the dealership is offering. They know you’ll want to negotiate, and even walking away from a deal is okay. Often times when you start to walk, they’ll come down on their prices.

Take a Test Drive

Don’t buy a car without going for a ride in it first. Make sure it feels good to you. Don’t be afraid to look under the hood, check out the cargo space and take it for a little spin. It may look shiny, but that new coat of paint could be hiding a lot of mechanical or body issues. Case in point, my sister bought a car, brought it to my mechanic and promptly returned the car back to the dealer because there were major rust issues underneath. Make sure you inspect/drive the car before you buy!

Check out this article on 10 Steps to Buying a Used Car the next time you are vehicle shopping. And remember, we offer really low car loan rates for our members!

What are your car shopping tips?

Seth P.

1 Comment

  • Courtney-Jo Arrants says:

    Don’t forget to ask a dealership for the CarFax report too!

    My husband and I purchased a new/used truck from Darlings in Bangor back in early March. The truck had just been traded in earlier the previous day and hadn’t even been reupholstered or buffed or anything yet.

    We took it for a test drive, got a quote on insurance, and checked the blue book value. They wanted $16,999 for it with only 89,000 miles.

    I asked them how much they would knock off the price if they didn’t reupholster and finish cleaning it – we would take as is. Then we asked for a military discount = more money off.

    When we were doing up the sale papers they had a documentation fee of $399 listed. I told them I knew what a doc fee was and that I wasn’t paying $400 for one. I’d give them $50 for it and if they didn’t like it I would go someplace else. They gave in and took even more money off. This had brought it all down to $14,000 and then I asked how much more they would take off if we financed through them.

    I already had quotes from Maine Savings as well as our auto insurance company USAA. The dealership couldn’t beat Maine Savings interest rate but they were able to offer us 60 months instead of only 48 + an additional $500 off the price, so we took it. We put $3,500 in cash down so wound up only having to finance $10,000. Pretty good deal.

    My advice: Don’t be afraid to ask for money off. They’re the ones wanting to make the sale, you can always go elsewhere.