Ultimate Guide To Buying Best Used Cars Online In 2023

Buying used cars

No one can deny the thrill and excitement of buying a brand-new car. However, for most people, it is not a feasible option, and thus, they go for buying used cars. Gone are the days when buying used cars online or offline was a degrading thing. Today, the used car market is as popular and thriving as the new car market.

Used cars or second-hand cars no longer mean a degraded vehicle that can barely work. You can easily find high-end vehicles with superior features in the current used car market.

Currently, in the used car market in the USA, where supply is limited & prices are high, in some cases, buying a new car is cheaper than a used one, especially in the latest model category.

There are a lot of challenges in getting what you desire in a used car circle. However, with the right instructions and tools, you can get yourself a ride that meets your budget and needs.

Thus, we bring you this buy-used car guide that will teach you to step by step how you can buy a used car in the easiest possible way. Let’s get started and have that much-awaited car in your driveway.

12 Easy Step-By-Step Guides For Buying Used Cars Online In The USA

Buying used cars online

 If you are inclined towards buying a used car instead of a brand new one, the main reason is that you want to save money. However, this does not mean you go for just anything. Avoid going for the cheapest ones, as they might save you money in the beginning.

But with time, the maintenance cost will pile up, costing you as much as a brand-new car. Whether you are buying a used car in California, Texas, or any other American state, you need to know the right way to approach the situation.

There are a few crucial things you need to consider to ensure you get the right vehicle at the right price with all the features you desire. So, if it is a sleeper car, full-size sedan, luxury car or economy car, you can get it all in the used car market.

1. Set Up A Budget

The first thing to do before you start exploring used cars for sale near me is set up a budget. You need to set up the maximum limit on the amount you can easily spend on buying your next ride. Make sure you set your purchasing limit to an amount that you can easily pay off. Do not go for a budget that you can not handle.

Apart from considering monthly installments and downpayment for the car, think about the total cost of owning it. This all includes registration, insuring the ride, downpayment, and maintenance costs.

2. Cash Or Financing

Whether you are renting a car, buying it, or simply in the market to sell my car, the medium of purchase is always a big question. Decide if you will pay for your car in cash or with the help of outside financing like a loan.

If you have the money as per your budget in cash, then you do not need to worry about financing. However, if you are among the most used car buyers out there, you will require money help.

Firstly, if you are looking and buying used cars near me from a dealership, then you can ask them to provide you with financing. Most car dealerships, whether selling brand-new or used cars, offer their customers one of the best financing options.

However, if you wish to make the most of this benefit, have a pre-approved loan in your hands. This way, the car dealerships work to match your pre-approved loan, and you easily get a better deal.

Do not expect to get a better financing deal if you have no other financial aid with you. Secondly, if you are buying a used car from a private seller, most likely, you are on your own.

You need to look for your financing. And this is where having a pre-approved loan comes in handy. Always make sure you have financing with you beforehand, whether buying a car from a dealership or a private seller.

3. Determine The Features You Need

The next thing to buy used cars cheap or expensive, is to decide on what features you need. Deciding what features are non-negotiable for you and what features you can skip can help you find the right car at the right price.

You can settle on features by considering the reason for the purchase and how you plan on using it. Seating space, cargo size, safety features, infotainment system, air conditioning, advanced safety features, music system, speakers, USB ports, and smartphone charging are some of the top features that you can go through.

Make those features a priority that you need the most. Wants should be left for the last, as you may have to drop them from your buying list.

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4. Decide Where To Buy The Car From

Before you finalize your purchase, ensure the place you wish to buy the car from. You can easily buy used cars from the best online and offline marketplaces. Autotrader, CarMax, autolist, carvana, and Autozin are some of the best online marketplaces and auto retailers.

Craigslist and Facebook marketplace are top private party sales platforms. Apart from these online options, you can always check your nearby car dealerships for an in-person experience.

The clearer you are on your type of seller: private party, independent used car dealers, franchised car dealers, online marketplaces, and best used car websites, the better you will be able to move forward.

5. Check The Car’s Price

After you have finalized your required features, car model and place to buy it from, it is better to check its price. Simply because you are buying a used car does not mean any price that is offered to you is right.

Before finalizing the deal, look up the car model and its current market price on trusted online platforms like Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, and National Automobile Dealers. These platforms provide a proper guide on a vehicle’s market value based on its age, mileage, and other conditions.

By doing this, you will learn if the price asked by your seller is acceptable as per current market value or if you are getting ripped off.

6. Contact Sellers

Now that you are sure of the type of vehicle you want, the place (online or offline) you want to buy it from, and the price going on in the market, it is time to browse the sellers.

You will find quite a few sellers listing the car you want on sale. Contact them and ask if the vehicle is still available for sale. Ask about everything related to the vehicle’s condition, buying price, and any issues the vehicle might be having.

7. Ask For Car Title

It does not matter if you are buying used cars from a dealership, online platform, or a private seller. You need to ask for a valid car title.

The car title tells the true ownership of the car. You need it from your seller so that they can transfer that title to your name, and you become the legal owner of that ride.

With the help of car titles, you will learn how many people have owned it before you and more. So, do not purchase a car if the seller is unable to provide you with a valid car title.

8. Do Not Forget The Vehicle History Report

Whenever you are buying used cars, whether an off-roader like the Jeep Wrangler or a smooth sailor like BMW or Mercedes, it is crucial you learn if it has issues like car shakes on acceleration or more.

Not every seller is going to be 100% honest with you. Thus, to ensure you know everything, ask for a vehicle history report. The vehicle history report holds all the information about a vehicle’s accidents & maintenance and even tells you about its title.

A vehicle history report is derived from its vehicle identification number or VIN. You can get this report easily if you buy from a dealership or online platforms like Carmax used cars.

Asking for a vehicle history report is a must if buying from a private seller. A vehicle history report steers you clear of potential problems a vehicle might be having. If you are unable to get a vehicle history report on a vehicle, either drop that model or that seller.

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9. Test-Drive Is A Must

The best way to ensure that a car model is right for you is to test drive it. Test driving will tell if the vehicle is comfortable enough and can even alert you to any potential problems it might be having.

Sometimes, a vehicle looks good and amazing in every manner but is a big letdown when you drive it. So, ask your seller to conduct a test drive.

While taking the test drive, keep your eyes open for certain things:

  • Inspect if the legroom, headroom, and cargo capacity is enough. You do not want to have a ride that is too small or tight for its purpose.
  • Check for the warning lights when you start the car. They turn on for a few seconds when you start the engine, but after that, they should be off.
  • Check exclusively for engine, brakes, airbags, and oil pressure. They are the most important car parts. This is a must if you are to buy used cars for parts.
  • Pick up a test drive route that has rough pavements, hills, and even that highway stretch. This way, you will learn if the vehicle can run smoothly on all terrains.
  • Ensure the visibility is good, especially if there are any blind spots. If this is a big concern, you can have the best security and safety accessories installed in your car.
  • Pay close attention to how the vehicle accelerates, stops, brakes response, and more.
  • Also, check for any unusual vibrations and noises while driving. This could be a sign of worn tires or suspension parts.
  • Lastly, check for all other features that are important to you.

10. Have A Professional Inspect Your Car

Every car seller, whether of a brand new car or a used one, praises their vehicle left to right. No one ever tells you if there are any issues or drawbacks.

A vehicle that seems to be in good condition to you can be filled with problems. So, instead of guessing, you should have a professional mechanic inspect that ride.

Generally, used car inspection costs between $100 to $300 in the USA. It might sound a lot for many buyers, but it is nothing compared to what you will be spending if the ride you buy turns out to be faulty.

All used car sellers should allow for such inspections. If a seller pushes back, giving excuses like they have had the vehicle inspected, it is a clear sign that they are not trustworthy.

11. Negotiate To Get Best Price

Negotiating is a daunting task for many buyers. However, it is something that you should never avoid. Never settle for the first price offered by the seller. This indicates that you have little to no knowledge about the used car market and your vehicle.

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Such a thing gets you ripped off. Thus, negotiate with the seller to come to a price that is acceptable to you in every aspect.

You can do this by:

  • Comparing the seller’s asked price with the market’s average price.
  • Negotiate for the overall car price, not the monthly installment prices.
  • Make an offer a low side. Then, improve it slowly with negotiating.
  • Take your time with the process. Do not hurry.
  • Ask about any fees before making the deal. Some dealers include bogus fees that can ruin all your negotiations. So, ask about it beforehand.

12. Do Not Forget Car Insurance

Before finalizing the deal and making the purchase, add the vehicle to your auto insurance. If you already have car insurance, then add it to your new ride. And if not, then buy one that covers your used car in every aspect. Insurance is a must if you want to protect your ride.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Buying Used Cars In 2023

Vehicles are the necessity of the hour. You need to have one for an easy commute on a daily basis. Not everyone can go by using public transport, and not everyone can buy a brand-new car. All such people who need a private vehicle but can not afford to buy a new one, buying a used car is the perfect option.

Buying a pre-owned vehicle comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are skeptical about owning a used car, you should go through all the benefits and harms you can encounter with it.


  • You get to purchase the car at a significantly lower price.
  • It is cheaper to insure a used car.
  • Despite what the majority of people believe in, most used cars come with a reasonable warranty period.
  • If you find a good dealership, you might even enjoy a more extended warranty period than the original warranty from the car’s manufacturer.


  • You might have to spend money on repairs after buying the car.
  • Used cars always come with higher mileage, so the car’s lifespan decreases accordingly.
  • You typically don’t have the luxury of choosing from a wide range of cars, models, or colors as you would have if you were buying a new car.

Are There Any Benefits To Buying A Used Car Online?

Whether you buy two seater, four-door car, SUV, premium gas ride, or good gas mileage pickup from an online used car marketplace, you are bound to enjoy some perks.

Here we have some of the best benefits you can enjoy by shopping for your used car online:

  • You can find the exact specifications and features you need for your car
  • It saves you time and is hassle-free
  • You typically get a more comprehensive range of options online
  • Transparent transaction
  • Enjoy a doorstep test drive
  • Easily reachable customer service should you require assistance


Buying used cars is a great option for people who want a personal ride but can not afford to spend much. Online purchasing is even better as you get all the information in one place without much hassle.

All you need to do on your part is not get swayed easily. Despite being an online deal, test drive the ride, have a mechanic inspect it, negotiate, and then only move forward with the purchase.

Dylan Miller

I am a Chicago native and regular contributor to "Locar Deals". I have a master's degree in English, am an automobile content creation specialist, and have written professionally for a variety of automotive companies over the past few years. I write on a variety of vehicles, from high-end luxury cars to ten-year-old gas guzzlers and everything in between. And I love sharing valuable car buying tips with consumers from all walks of life.

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