As the snow melts and spring weather appears, many people head out car shopping. Anyone looking to get the best deal on a used car this spring will benefit from these shopping tips. Buying a used car can be stressful; there are worries about the condition of the car, getting a fair price, and even things like trade-in value and of course car insurance quotes. While there is no way to get around some of these issues, the stress of used car buying can be reduced with a few simple tips.

Where to Buy: Dealership or Private Party?

One of the biggest decisions to make when purchasing a used car is whether to buy from a dealer or from the owner directly. Private party car purchases tend to be mean lower prices that a dealer might offer, but dealers often offer things like warranties and a thorough inspection of the vehicle.

There are pros and cons to both sides, but in the end it’s a personal decision. When choosing to buy from a private party, used car buyers can protect themselves by having a pre-purchase inspection done by a reputable shop. While used cars are sold as-is, major problems can be detected and avoided by having an inspection done.

When buying from a dealership, it’s a good idea to avoid small fly-by-night dealers who may not be honest. Larger dealerships will back the vehicles they sell. Small dealerships may be reputable as well. But be sure to check on their reputation before buying.

Don’t Get Taken on Trade-In

Trading in a car on a newer model is a simple way to avoid any time without wheels as well as to get the whole transaction done all at once. It avoids the time and effort required to sell a car, but in the end it often costs more.

Selling a car privately will usually bring in more money than trading it in, since the market value of the car is very different from the trade-in value. If the extra money makes a big difference in the budget for that vehicle upgrade, consider selling privately.

Trading your car in is easier but means a lower return on your investment in that car. Many people are willing to accept that difference for the convenience, but it’s important to be aware of it. Those who decide to trade in should also be aware that they can – and should – negotiate trade in value just as they do purchase price.

Check Insurance Rates Before Buying

Before buying a used car, check online for insurance quotes on the models under consideration. Different cars can have very different insurance rates, so it’s important to know before buying. Many people wait until after they have purchased to find out the premiums are much higher than they had anticipated.

If insurance costs are an important budget factor, checking them before buying is the best way to skip the surprise on the next bill. Most insurance companies are happy to quote several different models to assist with a used car purchase. Shopping around for rates means more money to put into that used car


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

Recent News Articles
What to Do if You Can’t Find Your Credit Card
Credit cards have several safety features to monitor transactions and protect user accounts if cards are lost or stolen.
How to Prepare Your Home for Autumn
Fall is here, but is your home (and your home insurance) ready for it? There are many things you should be doing right now to make sure your house is prepared to weather the pending winter storms and keep you safe, comfortable, and flood-free until spring.
Exploding Home Prices Making Mortgages Harder to Qualify For
Existing homeowners may be rejoicing at the fact average home prices are headed for the stars. Would-be purchasers, on the other hand, are curling up in the fetal position as their homeownership dreams turn nightmarish.