What To Look For When Buying a Used Car

April 4th, 2023 by

You know the manufacturer, model, and even the color of the used vehicle you wish to buy. But there’s so much more to consider about shopping for a used car before you get behind the wheel. We want to make sure that you’re going to be able to make an informed choice and drive away happy. So, let’s take a look at some of the most important things to look for when buying a used car.

Used Cars For Sale


2017 Chevrolet Cruz in blue in a used car lot in Crestview, FL

Most used car shoppers only look at price tags. But what they should really be looking at is a car’s value. How does the sticker price compare to the market price reported by Kelley Blue Book or other measures? There’s a critical difference between affordability and value. And just because a car fits within your budget doesn’t mean you’re getting a good deal. You should always look for vehicles priced below market value and ready to move off the lot.


Mileage is often the second thing used car shoppers look for after price. The average should range between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year. So consider a vehicle’s total mileage relative to its age to get an idea of how hard the prior owners were driving it. In some respects, a 10-year-old model with 50,000 miles may be better than a 5-year-old car with 70,000 miles. And around 150,000 miles is a good general benchmark for when many parts need replacing.

Certified Status

Some dealerships certify pre-owned cars. A certified pre-owned car is one that has passed a rigorous inspection. This means it’s had all the necessary repairs to get the vehicle up to specific performance, emissions, and safety standards. Certified pre-owned cars are usually only a few years old and have relatively low mileage. They are also accident-free and in “like new” condition. These cars can offer a new car experience at a used car price. This is one of the main reasons many shoppers look specifically for vehicles with certified pre-owned status.

Model History

Some models rank higher in their performance history as used vehicles than others. For instance, the Chevrolet Cruze has earned itself a reputation as one of the most reliable compact cars on the road. When it comes to used vehicles, reliability, along with cost and ease of repair, can go a long way.

Warranties and Maintenance Packages

Warranties, maintenance packages, and roadside assistance plans don’t only come with new vehicles. Many of today’s used cars are offering the same. And considering that you might be purchasing a vehicle several years old with tens of thousands of miles under the hood, it may be a good idea to ask about these sorts of plans when you shop.

Payment Flexibility and Trade-In Opportunities

The price of a vehicle is only one facet of its affordability. Of equal importance is how you are able to pay for it. Look for a used car with flexible payment options like upfront cash, loans, and leases. There may even be opportunities for Florida state tax deductions on vehicle purchases and trade-in opportunities. These are options that can lower your out-of-pocket responsibilities. It also helps when a dealer offers preapproval so you can see what your financing may look like before you shop.

Accident and Repair History

Used cars have already been on the road, many of them for years. This means there’s a chance they’ve been in an accident or at least had some sort of repair work done. It’s essential that you try to find out about any repaired or replaced parts that may not be 100% original. It’s equally important to know about anything that could present an underlying problem or concern. Fortunately, looking up a vehicle’s accident report and repair history is easy. Moreover, most used car dealers will provide the resources to do so.

Safety Ratings

You should never overlook safety, whether buying a used or new car. Automotive safety technology continues to get more advanced with each new generation of vehicles. You can search for a vehicle’s safety ratings on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety websites. You can view a snapshot of a car’s safety features on both.


Prior ownership means that used vehicles might sport aftermarket accessories and upgrades that differentiate the car from others of the same make and model year. This sort of customization is one of the benefits of buying a used vehicle. So, we recommend that you pay attention to any tech, safety, style, or convenience features that aren’t standard.


A used car may have active subscriptions to things like SiriusXM radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, and other Bluetooth services. When checking out a used car, it never hurts to inquire about any active or available subscriptions. You should also remember to ask when the active subscriptions expire and how much they might cost to renew.

Holiday Sales

It’s common for car dealerships to have sales around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and other holidays. When looking for a used car, look beyond the “what” and the “where” and consider the “when.” Waiting a few weeks or even just a few days may end up saving you a bundle in the long run.

Now that you know what to look for when buying a used car, you should also know where to find it. And so many shoppers on the Emerald Coast in Florida look to Allen Turner Chevrolet in Crestview. We have a large and diverse inventory of both new and used cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans.

In addition, our used car selection includes a wide variety of makes and models to provide something for every driver and budget. We even have certified pre-owned cars, and our financing center and trade-in program make it a breeze to get behind the wheel of the vehicle of your choice.

Visit us today on South Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview, Florida, to look for your next used car.

2017 Chevrolet Cruz LT by Greg Gjerdingen is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Posted in Info