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How to choose the right used car for your needs and budget

Shopping for a used car can be exciting—but with so many options out there, it can also feel daunting. To make the process easier, it’s helpful to break your decision down into these three steps:

1. Determine your needs

Think about how you’ll be using the car and what you’ll expect out of it. Will you be commuting? Towing a trailer? Ferrying your kids (and their friends) to soccer practice?

Getting a clear sense of what’s truly important to you will help you narrow down the options. That way, you can focus on the vehicles that fit your unique criteria.

Other important factors to consider: are there specific features like all-wheel drive, parking sensors or heated seats that are “must haves” for you? And will you prioritize fuel-efficiency over size and versatility?

2. Set a budget

Setting a clear budget narrows the field and helps you stay on track.

If you plan to finance your purchase, think about the initial down payment, the payment term, and the ongoing monthly payments you’re comfortable with. It’s always a good idea to factor running costs like gas, insurance and maintenance into your budget, as well, so you’re not caught off-guard.

Pro tip: when you shop from ClearCar, you can click “see payment options” to view financing options for each vehicle.

3. Don’t skip the research!

Once you have an idea of what you need out of a vehicle and how much you’re prepared to spend, take some time to research different makes and models. Check out reviews, read blog posts (like this one!), and look for others sharing their vehicle experiences on social media. And don’t be afraid to reach out for advice. Speaking of which, our ClearCar Consultant team is always happy to answer questions.

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