Avoid getting stuck with a lemon by doing your research before visiting a used car dealership.

Buying a used car can be a challenge. Being well-informed will help you avoid getting taken advantage of. Have a good idea of what you want before speaking to anyone.

Then follow these tips to find a good used car dealer. You need to find a gently used vehicle without paying more than necessary.

Choose Your Vehicle

Knowing what you want will help you save time and effort. You may not know the exact make and model, but at least have an idea of the automobile type. Are you searching for a sports car, SUV, pickup truck or van? Focusing on the type of car will help you avoid wasting time visiting dealerships that don't sell the type of used car you need.

Search “Kelly’s Blue Book”

Figuring out your budget is essential. How much do you want to spend? Search the Kelly Blue Book (http://kbb.com) or the NADA Guides (http://nada.com/) for what you might spend on the type of car you prefer.

Also, search the Internet and car websites to get a firm idea of asking prices for your type of car.

Talk to Friends and Family

Friends and family members who enjoy cars as a hobby will have information for you about reliable dealers. If they have recently purchased a used car, they will have experience with who treated them right - as well as who didn't. Word of mouth is one of the best indicators of a reliable business.

When you find a business that gets more than one positive review, make sure to check them out.

Make Appointments

Compile a list of dealerships you want to visit.

Call and make appointments with salespeople. Ask them about financing and extended warranties. Both may figure prominently in your decision-making process.

Try to speak with everyone on your list. Comparing as many people as possible will help you avoid making a hasty, uninformed decision.

Visit the Dealerships

See each dealership in person to look for cars that match your type. Going there will help you feel confident about doing business with them.

When you look at cars, ask about maintenance and previous owner reports.

Don't purchase a car on the first visit. Just take a business card and move on to the next dealership on your list.

Once you have seen everyone on your list, research customer reviews of the ones who impressed you the most. You will find the best dealership by considering who will give you the best deal and who has received the best customer reviews.

Finding the right used car dealer is almost as important as buying the best used vehicle. After all, you want to make sure you are doing business with reputable people who will stand behind their sales. You don’t want to end up with a ‘lemon’ and end up having to start the search for a new used car all over again.

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