View Vehicles View Vehicles
How to Buy a Used Car: A Definitive Guide (2019)

Buying a used car, truck, or van can be intimidating. How do you know you’re getting the best vehicle for the price, and how can you ensure the car itself is reliable?

Buying a used car has become easier than ever due to the number of online tools, research platforms, and shared data available. This means you can not only access a large inventory of used cars online, but can also compare current values, research reliability and safety trends, and see how the vehicle has performed for other owners.

Do you want to buy a used car but aren’t sure where to start? Here at BCS Auto Sales, we have 16 detailed steps for buying a used car to help you get the best value and reliability for your budget.

How to Buy a Used Car (16 Steps)

Buying a used car is slightly more complicated than buying a new car. This is because you have additional variables that contribute to the value of the car including age and kilometres, wear and tear indicators, and can buy from private sellers or used car dealerships. However, approaching the process systematically can help ensure you get a quality used car for the right price.

01. Determine Your Budget

02. Get Your Trade-In Value

03. Know Your Timeline

04. Research Car Models

05. Narrow it Down

06. Choose Your Preferred Date Range

07. Know the Car Value

08. Explore Sellers

09. Be Flexible, But Don’t Forget Your Research

10. Call Ahead

11. Check the Title History

12. Get Prequalified for Financing

13. Go for a Test Drive

14. Get an Inspection

15. Ensure Fair Pricing

16. Don’t Be Afraid to Compare Pricing

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

Buying a new car comes with advantages such as having a completely clean title—and clean, unused interior—as well as access to the latest features. However, it also comes with a big depreciation hit that can often cause your loan to be underwater for the two years (or longer) of your purchase. Buying a used car, however, can improve your likelihood of getting a better car at a better price, especially after the initial depreciation has been factored in.

Here are some additional benefits of buying a used car:

01. No Big Depreciation Hit

02. Better Resale Value

03. Better Car for Less Money

04. Less Expensive to Insure

8 Tips for Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be complicated. There are many more options for buying used cars than there are for new, with conditions, kilometres, age, and more impacting how the car might be valued. Below are 8 tips that can help you find a good deal on a used car for your budget.

01. Know the Car You Want

02. Check Reliability

03. Compare Apples to Apples

04. Know the (Actual) Current Value

05. Get the History of the Vehicle

06. Shop Around

07. Understand the Current Warranty (If Any)

08. Buy a Popular Model

FAQs About Buying a Used Car

01. What Should I Consider When Buying a Used Car from a Private Party?

02. What Should I Consider When Buying a Used Car from a Dealership?

03. What is Certified Pre-Owned?

Shop Used Cars

Are you ready to start your used car shopping journey? Start at our online used car showroom at or visit us in person in South Vancouver at 1404 South West Marine Drive.