How to Buy A Car – Do Your Research

When you’re in need of another car, whether a new or used one, make sure you do your research properly or you may find yourself with another money pit or worse.

How to buy your car is as important as doing your research on it. There are some steps I recommend taking before you buy your next vehicle.



What are you using it for?

Ford Taurus Wagon

Do you use it for work to go back and forth, pick up the kids from school, run errands, or move stuff? Do you want a car, crossover, suv or a truck?

I needed another station wagon. Moving is so much easier when you have a wagon. It’s very useful and I needed it to move things, go on trips, grocery shopping, and other reasons.



Your Budget

It’s important to know how much money you need in order to be able to afford your next car. How much do you want to spend?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
  • Car Cost
  • Insurance
  • Any Repairs (if used car)

My wagon was $500. It was an estate car because the owner had passed away and she had sat on a farm for some time. It had been taken good care of before that.


Get the VIN number

If you are looking at a vehicle you’re interested in, you’ll want the VIN (vehicle identification number). You can use your cellphone to take a picture of it. Most of them are at the bottom of the windshield, and some are other places like the door or on the body frame.


The VIN number will be used to check the service record at a dealership through the Service Dept. You can also go to a dealer online to check the service record and check for any recalls as well.

Make sure you run the VIN number by your insurance agent. You’ll want to know how much money you’ll have to spend to insure the vehicle.


Rental Car Companies Resell Their Cars

Did you know that you could buy a rental car once it’s gone to resell for low miles? Granted they aren’t perfect, but you could get a really nice vehicle from them.Lincoln Nautilus

They have low priced cars and high end ones. You could buy a cheap Nissan or a Lincoln for a good price and low mileage. (High mileage ones are lease vehicles.)

Rentals and Lease cars are also sold through the car auctions.

They do business similar to dealerships. You can use your old vehicle as a trade-in. Find out if there’s any discounts for Military or anything like that. (You don’t ask, how are you going to know?)


Online Car Shopping

Top 7 Mistakes Women Car Buyers Should Avoid
Car Buying Mistakes

If you’re looking for a particular vehicle, make sure you type in the search bar – year, make, model of the vehicle and search the listings separately. You’ll see these cars listed in eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, dealers and other places.

If you do find one, call or email that person and ask them if it’s still available and could you come by to look at it. It’s also important to make sure that the car is solid and not rotting out. Bring someone who knows vehicles or your mechanic if he has a few minutes to spare, to take a look at it.

Do your research to see what people are getting for that particular car. Search NADA (National Automotive Dealer Association), and KBB (Kelly Blue Book), to find out what it’s worth. (Use the KBB one if it’s being sold by a private party and the NADA if it’s a dealer.)


Check Reliability Reviews

Toyota Review


Say you found a 2019 Toyota Camry. You want to know how if it is reliable. Edmunds Car Reviews is a great place to get a good review on a vehicle. I have used this site myself when researching cars. They also have great tools for other car research as well.



Best Time to Buy from a Dealership

I had asked a few dealer sales people when they thought the best time of year was to buy a car with all discounts, lower prices, trade ins and such. They specified that the best time to buy a car was in February for the President’s Sale Events that they have.


Department of Motor Vehicles

The motor vehicle department will charge you tax on your car (most states). Here in Connecticut I found out that it’s .0635 cents on the dollar on the NADA(National Automotive Dealer Association) value of the car.

You have to make sure your car taxes are paid to date(if applicable) or you won’t be able to register the new vehicle.


I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.

7 Replies to “How to Buy A Car – Do Your Research”

  1. The above tips are great; always do your research. One more tip may help someone.

    My dad was a huge car buff and he gave me a tip whenever purchasing a used car. He told me to look in the trunk. The condition of the trunk will tell you the condition of the car. The trunk is clean, organized if anything’s in it, the car’s been well taken care of. If the trunk is dirty, empty oil bottles, or just full of junk, the car hasn’t been taken care of, stay away. This tip has never steered me wrong.

  2. Very useful tips Sylvia! I don’t know that much about cars, but me and my wife are thinking about buying a car soon. We will definitely think carefully about our lifestyle and what we truly need the car for! It’s easy to get distracted by less practical things.

  3. Great post.

    I have just sold my car last year and I have learnt that one must rather buy a car cash (which is what I will do now) because of the interested incurred and the hardship of selling it especially if you bought it 2 years ago.
    Also selling it was a mission so I do recommend not going online to buy as threat can be dangerous rather the auction cars.
    I didnt know about rental companies selling cars.
    Thank you

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