It’s not easy buying a used car, especially if you want it to have specifically what you want in a car. A car is treated as a long-time investment, and requires a lot of thinking before jumping to buy one. Shopping for a used car is especially more demanding because you need to look into the car’s life to know if it can give you the satisfaction you seek.

Before getting out to look for a used car to buy, first ask yourself about your current financial situation and if you can afford to buy a car of your own. You should make sure that your budget fits. You should also see if you’ll still be using your car in the future. Buying a car and using it for less than a year is obviously not a wise and practical decision. Meanwhile, you might have other important uses for the car, like vacationing with the family or giving the car as a gift to your kids in the future.

Take a look at your current lifestyle, too, and see if you really do need a car of your own. If you do need one, observe your driving patterns and slowly limit your selection to the type of car that will suit your driving pattern.

Limit your car choices to your driving preferences, too. Do you want automatic or manual shift? Do you prefer an SUV or station wagon? List down what you want in a car and use this list to narrow down your prospects. You can also try to expand your choices to other cars that you haven’t considered before yet have what you need.

When you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few cars, you can go around the used car outlets and hunt for the car you want. You can go look into used car lots or new car dealerships. You might want to ask your friends and relatives first, though, if they have a used car that they are planning or willing to sell. Buying a car from someone you know is sometimes a better decision than buying from used car shops and dealerships because you’ll be able to know more of the car’s history and value.

You can also surf through the Internet and look at what’s available in your local area. Looking through the Internet will save you time and energy that you would otherwise use in running around the place looking for your dream car. There are a lot of used car shops that have put up a website with a custom used car search that will allow you to find a car according to your specifications (model, price range, etc.). If you want to see the cars personally, you can get directions and phone numbers of used car shops from the Internet. Call first and see if the car shops have the car that you want so as not to waste time.

You might also come across cars with For Sale signs on them. There are also notices of cars for sale on public boards, like in supermarkets and local schools. Classified ads in newspapers are also good sources.

When you’ve found a potential choice, ask about the car’s history and features. You can make a list beforehand to make sure that you have everything covered before buying the used car. If you know anyone who has bought a used car before, consult with him or her on the important factors to look for in a used car. It’s better to be prepared and certain when shopping for a used car.