An Insider’s Guide to Buying a Used Car

Used Cars

Buying a used car can be quite overwhelming, especially if you are new to the game.  But, we have been in the business for some time so, we have a few tips to share to help make it easier for you.  Here goes…

Before you even go to see the car, do your homework:

  • Determine Your Needs and Wants: When buying a used car you really have to pick your battles.  Say there are numerous used cars that are for sale in your area.  But, you may want an automatic, candy red, car.  However, the only one that is available that meets your wants is above your price point and only has 2 doors, when you need 4.  So, instead of overpaying for color and the convenience of the automatic transmission you purchase the available manual, black,  car in great condition below your price point.  
  • Check Out Any/All Car Forums Online:  Take note of any make/model/year specific information.  There is a lot out there that will help you determine which available used cars are going to fit your needs.
  • Phone a Friend: If you know someone that has owned or currently owns that same make/model/year give them a call.  Make sure you pick their brain about anything that they have experienced.
  • Unicorns Do Exist:  Well not really but, in the used car business a “unicorn” is the rare budget beauty that is like 5 years old, but only has 25,000 miles on it. So, search out a unicorn because they do exist.  We had a 2008 Ford Mustang California Special traded in and it only had 15,000 miles on it, just goes to show you.  Within the past few months we also had a 1992 Ford Mustang convertible with 52,000 miles, another unicorn.

Then go see it:

  • Ask to See Inspection Documents
    • Academy Ford’s used vehicles all pass the MD State Inspection (MSI), so we will go over that checklist with you as well as any work that we performed on the vehicle to make sure it met the standards of the MSI.  
  • Get a Vehicle History Report
    • At Academy Ford we will provide you with a Vehicle History Report i.e. AutoCheck so, that you are aware of any reported incidents if applicable.
  • Test Drive (See our Top 5 Test Drive Tips)
  • Don’t Assume you Can’t get Financing
    • Depending on the vehicles age and mileage there could be various options for financing.  In general if a vehicle is 7 years and lower with 80,000 miles or less, the banks will finance a loan for you  contingent upon your credit history. 
  • Ask About your Warranty Options
    • Some of our newer model year used cars will still have some time remaining on their manufacturer’s warranty, which is transferable to a secondary owner regardless of  manufacturer.
    • Our Ford Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles come with an incredible warranty.  Check out the details here!
    • Generally, most of Academy Ford’s other used vehicles that are 80,000 miles or less will come with a 3 month/3,000 mile warranty.
    • Then some of our 80,000-100,000 mile used vehicles come with a 1 month/1,000 mile warranty.
    • The rest of the vehicles over 100,000 miles will not come with a warranty, but we definitely recommend purchasing additional warranties through our finance department for the high mileage used vehicles.

Do you have any other questions about buying a used car? Let us know in the comments section below.

One Response to “An Insider’s Guide to Buying a Used Car”
  1. Jake Gibson says:

    Great point about requesting a vehicle inspection report & test driving the vehicle. My wife’s car is always breaking down, we’re looking into donating it & searching used auto sales for a replacement. I was surprised to read that there’s both financing and warranties on used vehicles. That’s great to know going into this.

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