Dave Ramsey: 8 Tips for Buying a Used Car Right Now

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Finding a dependable used car within your budget seems like finding a needle in a haystack — but trust us, they do exist! With the right research, you won’t have to end up paying a small fortune for something that’s useless.

According to Dave Ramsey, buying a pre-owned vehicle doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You can come across many great options that are both financially smart and come with few risks by following the advice below. Here are eight tips to steer you in the right direction:

1. Set up your budget

When deciding how much to spend, you want to keep in mind that you’ll be paying off your car in full. This is a smart choice as you’ll avoid making monthly payments and will save thousands of dollars in interest. 

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2. Find the car you need right now

When shopping around, you’re not necessarily looking for your dream car. Realistically, you’ll want something that fits your needs and lifestyle for where you are right now. Ramsey suggests sticking with options that are compact and energy efficient, like sedans, hatchbacks or hybrids.

3. Compare different options

Once you’re ready to start shopping — don’t just jump on the first offer you come across. You’ll want to research different options and analyze the pros and cons. This will be especially helpful when negotiating later on. 

4. Determine whether the car is worth its cost

Digging up all the possible info you can get on a car is your best bet towards finding the best deal. According to Ramsey, you’ll want to research how much you’ll need to spend to maintain the car like oil changes, new tires, fluid flushes, as well as any long-term repairs.

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5. Take the car for a test-drive

You should never purchase a car without first taking it out on a spin. This will let you gauge how well it drives and whether any strange noises come up. Also pay attention to how smoothly you change gears, whether it struggles to pick up speed, and how well the breaks feel.

6. Factor in car insurance

You don’t want to be blindsided by how much you’ll have to chalk up for insurance. Luckily, it’s cheaper to insure older vehicles than new ones. A 5-year-old car, for example, is about 27% less pricey to cover than its brand-new counterpart.

7. Always get a used car inspected

You should initially do the inspecting yourself and then hire a mechanic to give it a more in-depth look before purchasing. This ensures that you end up buying something that’s reliable and not just a big piece of junk. After taking the car to a garage or doing a mobile inspection — the mechanic will give you the printed results.

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8. Don’t be afraid to negotiate

No matter what state the used car is in — you should always try to negotiate the price down. Keep in mind, you should always bring your research to the table to get the best offer. And don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t feel you’re getting a fair deal.

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