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Top 4 Things to Look For in a Quality Used Car Dealership

It happens to everyone. After years of faithful driving, your 1989 Toyota Corolla with over 350,000 miles has finally decided that it´s time to be laid to rest. The problem is that you haven’t bought a car in over a decade and don’t have the savings for the brand new rides at new car dealership. It’s time to consider a new used car…

Top 4 Things to Look For in a Quality Used Car Dealership

If you have ever been in this situation, the thought of heading to a used car dealership can be slightly terrifying for many people. While most used car salesmen are reputable and trustworthy, there are certainly a number of salesmen who are more than willing to hide a junker behind a fresh coat of paint…and totally disregard the fact that their decisions might leave you stranded on the road in the near-future.

To help you avoid those dishonest and deceitful used car dealerships and salesmen, below we offer advice on the top four characteristics you should look for in a used car dealership.

things to look for in a quality used car dealershipWhy Choose Used Cars over New Cars?

As most car buyers know, finding a quality, used car is often considered to be the best deal for your money. While the new car smell is certainly appealing, new cars can automatically lose 20% of their value the moment you drive the car off the lot. If you were to get in a wreck the day after purchasing a car and hadn’t gotten around to putting a good insurance policy on your new purchase, you’d be out of a lot of money.

A quality used car that is in good condition is typically a better investment for most drivers.

The price on used cars depends on a number of things including:

  • mileage,
  • age,
  • and the overall condition of the car.

You can, however, find cars for sale that are well below their market value because the car make and model are considered “out of style.” With a little bit of patience and research, you should be able to find a used car that is in quality condition and that fits both with your budget and your driving needs.

Related: 5 Benefits of Buying a Car With Cash

1) Find a Used Car Dealership that Offers Several Brands of Cars

Most used car dealerships know that people generally tend to trust certain makes and models of cars over others. A used Toyota Camry or Honda Civic are usually considered to be good for several years, and for that reason many used car dealerships will regularly up the price on these models.

A Ford or Kia, if properly cared for by their prior owner, are also quality cars that can last you for several years. If a used car dealership only has 2-3 brands of cars, chances are that you won’t be able to find the best deal. Make sure you to choose a dealership with the highest diversity of makes of cars on the market.

2) Compare Dealership Prices to Kelley Blue Book

The Kelley Blue Book is the Bible for people shopping for used cars. With a few simple clicks of a button, you can get a pretty good idea of what a certain type of car that you have been looking for should cost. While used car dealers in Langley will most always be a little bit higher than the Blue Book value, you might throw up some red flags if the price is several thousand dollars higher.

Dealerships do add some value to the cars they sell and you need to recognize that value, but it´s always good to check the Blue Book Price on any car you’re looking at.

3) Make Sure the Dealership Offers You a Vehicle History Report

This should be common sense, but as a customer you have a right to know the history of the car that you are thinking about buying. Dealerships are required by law to offer you this report so that you can know if a car has been wrecked or worn out. If a certain dealership doesn’t offer you this report, you should walk off the lot immediately.

4) Find a Dealership that Encourages Test Drives

Even if a car looks miraculous from the outside, the true test of whether or not a certain type of car is made for you depends on how you feel behind the wheel. Quality used car dealerships should feel comfortable and confident enough with the cars they sell that they encourage you to get behind the wheel to try them out. If a certain dealership does not encourage or allow test drives, you should be suspicious, to say the least.

Things to Look For in a Quality Used Car Dealership

With these four simple pieces of advice, you can easily recognize legitimate and respectable used car dealerships while avoiding the dishonest and misleading ones.

And in addition to the above advice…

  • Take your time,
  • Do your research, and
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away

Buying a car is an important thing for anyone. There’s no reason to rush it, and there’s certainly no reason to pay more than you have to.

What do you think about these things to look for in a quality used car dealership? Do you have any more tips?


AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. Those are actually some very good points. Last year I was looking for a car and that dealership didn’t provide history reports back then. Anyway, the Toyota looked great, performed well on a test-drive, but it looked suspicious that the salesman didn’t want to provide more information on the history of this car. After some conversation, he gave me the vin number, I checked it on carvertical and saw that the car had been in a pretty big accident and some damaged parts haven’t been repaired well. Just an additional proof that checking car history before purchase is a must

    • Thanks for the comment, Andrew! You can never be too careful when it comes to buying used cars. But, if you get a good one, it can be well worth it!

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