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Autoland Blog

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Guide to Buying Used Cars in New Jersey

Searching for a great used car can take a lot of work. Whereas a new car has never been driven before, a used car has had one or more previous owners. Each used car has its own unique history that needs to be investigated, in addition to the usual steps of buying a new car. To help you purchase a used car that's right for you, consider the following tips from Autoland Toyota. Visit our dealership located at Route 22 in Springfield to view our large inventory of used cars in New Jersey.

Know How Much You Can Afford

Before you can set out to buy a car, you need to determine how much you can afford. A general rule of thumb is that the monthly payment should not exceed 20% of your take-home pay. Based on this guideline, establish a budget and stick to it. Establishing a strict budget will prevent you from being swayed to purchase a more expensive vehicle with nicer features you may not need. When setting your budget, keep in mind extra costs in addition to the monthly payment, including the down payment, taxes, and potential dealer fees.  Click here for some additional factors to keep in mind when creating your car budget.

Determine Your Needs

Along with establishing a budget, you need to determine your needs. You may have specific needs and preferences when it comes to the brand, style, size, and mileage. For instance, if you have a family of five, you might want to consider a larger vehicle, such as an SUV with a good crash safety rating. Once you identify a list of requirements, it’s a smart idea to write them down so that you don't overlook anything when shopping for a vehicle. Refer to Kelley Blue Book car value guides to see what types of vehicles fit best in your budget. This will also help you later on when it's time to negotiate with the dealer.

Find Used Cars in Your Area

Once you have some types of cars in mind, try to locate them for sale in your area. Scour the classified ads and search online to compare the various vehicles and prices available to you. You can do a large Internet search of all the dealerships in your area, or search directly on the dealer's website. At you can browse a large inventory of used cars by price, make, model, and type.  

Review the Car's History Report

Before you go to see the car in person, investigate the vehicle's history. If what you find is negative, then do not bother to go see the vehicle. You can access a car's history report at or using the vehicle's vehicle identification number (VIN) and license plate. The report will tell you crucial information about the vehicle, including the accident history and if it has a salvage title.

Analyze and Test Drive the Vehicle

If the vehicle history report turns out positive, contact the dealership so you can see it in person. It’s best to visit the dealership in daylight so that you can easily detect any visible problems with the vehicle. Test drive the car to ensure it's in good condition. Test everything from the lights, wipers and audio, to the automatic windows, cruise control and suspension settings. Also observe the handling of the vehicle, such as how it steers, accelerates, decelerates, and turns, among other driving factors. Be sure to simulate your daily driving patterns. For instance, if you often drive on the highway, test drive the car on the highway.

Get the Vehicle Inspected

If the car seems like a perfect fit, get it inspected by a trusted professional. A professional inspection may reveal something you didn't notice during your test drive and can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Make an Offer

After you are satisfied with the inspection, make an offer. Your offer should be based on your budget and the research you've compiled about pricing and car values. To negotiate the best deal, offer a competitive price. If you offer is rejected, you may want to make a counter offer, but be sure not to exceed your budget. Once you and the dealer have agreed on a price, the deal has been closed. Before hitting the road, the vehicle should be added to your insurance policy and the title and registration transferred to you.

With these tips you can find the perfect used car for you and your family. Visit us online at or call (877) 853-3723 for information about our used cars in New Jersey.

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