How to Buy a Used Car on AutoTrader: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Buying a used car can be a great way to save money on a reliable vehicle. AutoTrader is one of the most popular online marketplaces for buying and selling used cars, with millions of listings to explore. They’re also partnered with Kelley Blue Book to provide a helpful price advisor tool that brings clarity to the buying process. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to buy a used car on AutoTrader.

Step 1: Set a budget and determine your needs

Before you start looking for a used car on AutoTrader, you need to determine your budget and what you’re looking for in a vehicle. Consider the make and model, year, mileage, features and any other specific requirements you may have.

AutoTrader has a vast selection of used cars, so you’ll need to narrow down your search to find the right one for you. Use the search filters to refine your results by make, model, year, price range, manufacturer certified and more. You can also read the listing descriptions and view the photos to get a better idea of each car’s condition and features.

Step 3: Contact the seller and ask questions

Once you’ve found a car you’re interested in, contact the seller and ask any questions you may have. For example, you may want to know about the car’s condition, history and maintenance records. You can also arrange to view the car in person and take it for a test drive to see how it handles on the road.

Step 4: Check the car’s history and get it inspected

Before you make an offer on a used car, check its history and get it inspected by a professional mechanic if the seller allows. This will provide a non-biased opinion that can help you make an informed decision on your purchase. You can use online services like Carfax or AutoCheck to check the car’s history for accidents, damage and other potential issues. You should also get it inspected by a mechanic to make sure it’s in good condition and doesn’t have any hidden problems.

Step 5: Negotiate the price and complete the sale

If you’re satisfied with the car’s condition and history, it’s time to negotiate the price with the seller. Be prepared to make an offer that’s lower than the asking price, but be reasonable and considerate of the seller’s needs. Once you’ve agreed on a price, it’s time to complete the sale. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork, including the title and registration, and transfer the funds securely using a service like AutoTrader’s secure payment system. You can also pay and transfer funds via debit card, credit card, wire transfer or ACH electronic payment.

Buying a used car on AutoTrader can be a straightforward and rewarding experience if you follow these steps. By setting a budget, browsing the listings, contacting the seller, checking the car’s history and condition and negotiating a fair price, you can find a reliable and affordable vehicle that meets your needs. 

Looking to sell your used vehicle? Read our guide on How to Sell Your Used Car on AutoTrader. If you’re not finding the right car or buyer on AutoTrader, there are plenty of other options available—see our Top 13 Sites to Buy and Sell Used Cars.

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Car transport after an online purchase

Long-distance car buying is more popular than ever and more cars are being shipped across the country every day. Montway Auto Transport makes it easy to get a used vehicle to its new home. With over 15 years of experience in the auto transport industry, we know how to get cars shipped easily and efficiently. Learn more about car shipping costs or speak to a vehicle shipping advisor at 888-666-8929.

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