Not everyone can go out and buy a brand new car, face these days prices often look like you are buying a home with some of the models. Often many people who don’t have the budget for a new car have to go out and look in the used cars category. However, just because a used car is the only option, it doesn’t mean that a person has to go out and get stuck with a lemon or a piece of junk. There are things that you can do to help you find a decent used car.

Before you even start looking at used cars you really need to set a budget for yourself. This goes for paying with cash, trade ins or even if you are getting some kind of financing. You need to know exactly how much money you are willing to spend and can afford to spend. If it happens that you are going to go with financing then this means you need to know just how much you can afford to pay each month, in other words the most you can actually spend each month, period, end of story.

Know what things will be deal breakers for you, whether it’s the cars mileage, type of transmission, type of brakes, and so on. Make sure that you have a list of all the things you prefer it to have and all the negatives that you don’t want to see in a car. This is very important. You really need to know what you are looking for before you go out looking at used cars.

Once you have your budget and all the deal breakers listed you should start doing some research online. By doing a little online research you will start to get an idea of the used cars that are in your area. Once you have searched your immediate area you might also want to go further with your research to surrounding areas, say with a 30 mile radius.

While doing your research never get tempted to look outside your determined budget or even your list of deal breakers, this can be dangerous because if you do, you may run across your dream car and then start telling yourself that if you do this or do that you should be able to handle the payments and overlook things that should have been deal breakers. Otherwise you could end up with one very costly mistake in the end.

While you are searching online for used cars you might want to start narrowing down your search to just a few types and then do research on these particular types of cars. See if there were ever any safety recalls, find out what Consumer Reports has to say about them, talk to anyone who may own the type of car or has before, even talk to your mechanic about some of the types of cars you might be interested in.

Once you have a couple of cars that you might be considering you should go to the Kelley Blue Book site and look these cars up. They are impartial and give price ranges that are based on the condition of cars. When you have information from this source it makes it far easier to negotiate with the person selling the car.

If you are considering buying from a car dealer and you have found a couple you are interested in, go to the lot on a Sunday when most dealers are closed and check out some of the type of cars you might be interested in. This way you won’t be harassed by pushy sales people.

When you finally have found a car that you feel interested in buying then call the dealership to make an appointment so that you can take the car out for a test drive. You want to do this so you can listen to the car, drive it at different speeds, test out the brakes, check the stereo, all the windows, heater, defroster, air conditioning, wipers and check for a spare and even check the fluid levels as well as checking all the tires.

Once you have done all of this and you still feel strongly interested in the car you really need to ask that the dealership to give you a complete Carfax report. There is no reason why they should not be willing to do this for you, if they do, get up and leave, it’s as simple as that. If they are willing to do so, make sure to read everything on the Carfax before doing anything else.

If you like what you see and read about the car then you are finally ready to sit down and negotiate some sort of deal that is fair for both parties. You will know your budget, have information from Kelley Blue Book and all the information on it from Carfax. All of this will help make it easier to negotiate with the sales person.

If all of this works out and you feel good about the car and the price then you should ask them if you can also have your mechanic check it out as well. If they say no, then the best thing for you to do is to leave and don’t go back. There is no reason a dealership should say no. If they say yes then have your mechanic check it out completely and if he finds anything ask that he makes a detailed report and show all the amounts for any fixes that might be needed. Then you can bring all of this to the attention of the dealership and you might be able to get the car at an even lower price. The dealership may require you give them a deposit before they let you take it to your mechanic, this is fine, as long as it’s refundable and make sure to get that in writing.

Once all of this is done both you and the sales person should feel good about the situation and now you should feel good about buying the car if all checked out well and you should be able to go home with a car you feel good about.

Note: If you don’t feel totally confident in yourself going to a dealership alone simply ask a friend to go with you who will help keep your grounded, especially during negotiations.