Close ⊗

All Oak Motors vehicles are Certified Ultimate Protection Plus:

* Limited powertrain warranty, regular maintenance required, commercial use excluded. See dealer for more details.
** Age and insurance restrictions apply, subject to availability. See dealer for more details.
+ See dealer for details and eligibility requirements.
Online Chat

Our Locations


765-643-2911 Anderson, IN 46012
Set As My Store
See Store Detail ►

Indy East

317-536-4636 Indianapolis, IN 46219
Set As My Store
See Store Detail ►

Indy South

317-452-8888 Indianapolis, IN 46227
Set As My Store
See Store Detail ►

Indy West

317-297-9977 Indianapolis, IN 46254
Set As My Store
See Store Detail ►


765-288-6453 Muncie, IN 47303
Set As My Store
See Store Detail ►
  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. 7 Steps On How to Buy a Used Car Today

7 Steps On How to Buy a Used Car Today

Tips For Buying a Used Car
Tips For Buying a Used Car

Are you ready to buy a used car? After two difficult years for car shoppers, things may be looking better. While used car prices rose slightly in March, they remained 4% lower than a year ago. Additionally, interest rates are slowly falling, prompting many to reconsider their options. However, this brings back the age-old question: "Where do I start?"

Our step-by-step guide to buying a used car will cover everything you need to know before and after the purchase, possibly getting you into your next ride today. Before diving into the steps, familiarize yourself with some of the car shopping terms you will encounter.

Step 1. Budget assessment

Currently, the average used car price is around $25,540, but factors like year, make, model and mileage significantly affect this price. A smart way to stay within budget is to prioritize specific factors. For example, if you drive a lot for work, prioritize cars that get 35 - 40 miles per gallon and have lower miles, but maybe compromise on the car's age.

  • Calculate Your Monthly Expenses: Use online calculators to estimate monthly payments if you plan to finance the car.
  • Factor in Additional Costs: Don’t forget about taxes, insurance and potential maintenance costs.

Step 2. Research Options

All of our used cars are available online, sorted by make, model and year. Beyond inventories, resources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can provide reliability ratings, customer reviews and resale values.

  • Read Reviews: Check expert and user reviews to gauge reliability and performance.
  • Compare Prices: Look at prices for similar models in your area.
  • Check for Recalls: Ensure there are no significant recalls on the models you’re considering.

Step 3. Explore Financing Options

If you're not paying cash, you'll need to secure financing. Shop around for the best loan terms, or if you are having trouble finding financing because of your past, consider in-house financing options, like ours. This will provide a clear idea of what you can afford and streamline the purchasing process.

  • Compare Rates: Look at interest rates from banks, credit unions and online lenders.
  • Understand Terms: Pay attention to the loan term, interest rate and monthly payment.
  • Check Your Credit Score: A higher credit score can qualify you for better rates, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get a car if your credit isn't high.

Step 4. Find the Right Seller

Decide whether you want to buy from a dealership or a private seller. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Dealerships: Often offer warranties and certified pre-owned options.
  • Private Sellers: Can sometimes offer lower prices but less assurance.

Step 5. Inspect and Test Drive

Never buy a car without seeing it in person. Inspect it thoroughly and take it for a test drive to ensure it meets your expectations and is in good condition.

  • Exterior and Interior: Look for signs of damage or excessive wear both inside and outside of the vehicle.
  • Mechanics: Check under the hood and consider having a mechanic inspect it.

Step 6. Negotiate and Complete the Purchase

Be prepared to negotiate. Research the fair market value of the car you want and use this information to get the best deal possible. Once you’ve agreed on a price, complete the necessary paperwork. Ensure you understand all terms and conditions before signing.

  • Bring to Purchase: Proof of income, work history, residency and a valid driver’s license.
  • Review Contracts: Double-check all paperwork for accuracy.
  • Transfer Title: Ensure the title is transferred correctly to your name.
  • Get Insurance: Arrange for car insurance before you drive off.

Step 7. After Purchase Actions

Once you have the car, you aren’t quite finished. You will need to take care of a few essential tasks to ensure everything is in order.

Final Actions:

Embarking on this exciting venture is even better with proper knowledge. If you believe that getting a car is impossible due to financial constraints or a low credit score, you may be misinformed. Talk to us — we are here to help!

Buying Information
📞 Call 💬 Chat 📱 Text 🏬 Visit