How To Search For Used Cars For Sale Online

used cars for sale online

Are you trying to search for reliable used cars for sale online?

If so, then in this blog post I’m going to teach you how to search for used cars and what to look out for!

Think of it like a used car buying guide if you will.

We’re not all used car wizz guros, you might know someone that is and that’s great!

But for the majority of us, you probably aren’t too sure exactly how to search for a used car for sale and what things do look for…

What Kind Of Budget Do You Have?

Like many things, you can’t just buy something without paying for it, and not all of us are minted with a lot of money.

I get it… you’ve got responsabilites, a job, potentially a family to look after and just need a car to get from A to B.

But the amount of money you spend on your used car could make all the difference between a reliable used car for sale, or an unreliable car for sale.

Whilst it’s true that spending too much could be a bad deal, so is spending too little.

Depending on the make and model, you could be spending as little as £1,000 on a used car that’s for sale, or even £20,000.


£20,000 is a price for some used cars – likely not what you’re going to spend though right?

Spending Too Little On A Used Car

When you’re searching for a used car for sale you’ve probably used some used car websites such as Auto Trader right?

These types of car websites allow you to quickly set a budget that’s right for you along with many other filters.

When I bought my first car, a 2001 blue BMW, I paid just over £1,250 for the car – and found it through Auto Trader.

I did my research first and was prepared.

I knew that the BMW brand was great, a nice german, sensible saloon, but I missed out on a tonne of options.

And felt that I had paid too little for the car.

Don’t get me wrong, the car was great – and more importantly, reliable.

But it could’ve easily gone against me, and it could for you too! So do yourself a favour and set yourself a reasonable budget.

Spending Too Much On A Used Car

Despite feeling that I’d spend too little on my used car, you can easily flip the coin with this subject.

The car could’ve been on sale for around £3,000.

And had I not done my research, I might’ve felt this was a good deal.

Trust me…

It would’ve been a terrible deal given the mileage being well over 130,000 and not having any luxury features apart from the steering wheel and engine.

The Right Budget For A Used Car For Sale

You shouldn’t invest too much effort into the price of the used car, but it should absolutely reflect the condition, age and mileage of the car.

Luckily for you, most used car websites will tell you whether the price is about right or priced too high.

Generally speaking, you need to consider the following when it comes to searching for a used car online:

  • Condition – what’s the condition of the car like? Any scratches, dings or dents?
  • Age – how old is the car? Older cars should be priced lower unless they’re classic cars that have been well kept.
  • Maintenance – does the car have any maintenance records to justify the cost of the car, probably not.

Check Multiple Used Cars For Sale On Comparison Websites

It might sound obvious, but seriously.

There are so many used cars for sale on so many different car websites, more often that not some of the car buying websites will introduce special features to try and make it easier for you to compare cars.

And it is important for you to do this.

Searching for a used car for sale is something that should take you a few weeks at the very least if you’re looking at doing this properly.

So go ahead, search around and shop online, it’s the only way of knowing what’s out there.

Do The Adverts Have Any Contact Details?

Whilst you’re checking the car websites, have a little look around for some contact details.

You’re looking for email addresses, telephone numbers and mobile numbers.

If these details are hidden from you – it might be worth looking at another advert.

Sellers who are willing to put the time into creating the used car for sale advert are likely going to be better – but not always.

Meeting The Seller In Person – Viewing The Used Car For Sale

So after you’ve found a potential used car that you’re looking to buy, it’s time to arrange an opportunity to meet the seller and the car in person.

This is where things can feel both exciting and daunting.

It might be worth taking a family member or trusted friend with you who’s going to be able to keep you on a level playing field when seeing the car.

If this has been a long time coming you’re going to be excited.

That’s completely normal – but in reality, you’ve got to find out whether the car and the seller seem legitimate.

Making An Appointment To See The Used Car

If the seller has provided a contact method on the online advert, now is time to get in touch with them.

Gauge an idea of the person’s personality and what they’re like to speak to you.

  • Do they sound overly confident?
  • What’s their tone of voice like?
  • Are they trying to persuade you to see the car on the same day?

If you’re able to answer yes to any of the above, the seller might just be trying to get rid of the car due to a fault.

Consider some other options if you’re still planning on viewing the car.

It’s best to view the car on a dry day, particularly during late morning as it’ll help you identify if there’s any leaks with the car.

Are Used Cars For Sale Right For You?

Despite being overwhelmed about the car, you should ask yourself whether the used car is right for you.

For some people – myself included, I looked at the used car in person and had driven a long way with my parents to make the decision to buy the car.

Will that influence your decision?

Traveling a long distance to look at used cars for sale might cause you to buy the car, when you arrive, it’s a good idea to just double check that everything is in order.

If you’re happy with it – go ahead, and buy it!