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The Best Used Cars to Buy

Young woman shopping for cars

Buying a used car doesn’t have to be a scary experience. With the right knowledge, tips, and advice in mind, you can make sure that the process is smooth and stress-free.

What Are Used Cars?

Used cars are vehicles offered for sale by their owners or car dealers. Used cars can be a great option if you are on a tight budget and are looking to buy a car. They are cheaper than new cars and can offer lots of value depending on the make and model.

There are so many used cars on the market right now that finding one that will not break down on you or leave you stranded is important. Buying a used car can be a risk, but if you search for the right vehicles and use common sense, you can find a great used car that fits your needs and your budget.

Best Used Cars to Buy

If you want to buy a used car, make sure it’s something you can afford and will last a few years. Below are some of the best used cars you should consider.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is an eco-friendly plug-in hybrid car, and many people have purchased it because of its practicality and reliability. Being a PHEV, the Volt has a gas engine, but it will also run on electricity alone for up to 50 miles.


  • Great handling
  • High-tech and futuristic interior design


  • Limited room for just four people
  • Limited cargo space

2012 Honda Fit

The 2012 Honda Fit has been praised for its practicality and cargo space. It has enough room for most people’s daily tasks, and the car’s folding seats make it even more flexible. The 2012 Honda Fit comes with a host of standard features, such as climate control, a touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.


  • Spacious cargo area
  • Excellent gas mileage
  • Good driving experience


  • The ride is sometimes rough

2010 Toyota Prius

The 2010 Toyota Prius is a great choice if you want to reduce your environmental impact while also saving money on gas. These cars can be set to operate in economy mode to increase gas mileage. They also have a very efficient regenerative braking system that charges the battery as you slow down.


  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Abundant freight and interior space


  • Synthetic steering feel
  • Smaller rear seat compared to its competitors

Tips for Buying a Used Car

When buying a used car, you want to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Below are some things you should know before buying a used car.

Research the Make and Model of the Car You Want to Buy

Before you start looking at cars, it’s a good idea to decide what you’re going to buy. Are you looking for a sedan? A crossover? Something bigger? You might need a used car for commuting to work, long road trips, or other purposes.

Decide what you need a car for, then research the make and model of the car you want to buy. You can start by reading reviews and doing a bit of research online. You might also want to talk to friends and family to see if they have any recommendations.

Go For a Test Drive

A test drive will let you know how the car drives, how smoothly it accelerates and brakes, and how comfortable the interior is. The more you know about a car before you buy it, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with something you’ll be happy with for years to come.

Even if you’re buying a car that a mechanic has already checked out, a test drive is a great way to make sure it’s the right one for you. If there’s something about the car that you don’t like, you don’t have to buy it. Take a test drive in any models you’re interested in and make the most of it.

Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique identifier for each car. Before buying any used car, research the VIN using vehicle history sites such as CarFax. Doing so will give you a detailed report on the vehicle’s history, including if it’s ever been in an accident, how many owners it has had, whether it has any outstanding issues, or if it has ever been a rental car or returned under the Lemon Law. This is the best way to know what you’re getting, and it’s a must if you want to buy a good car.

Look For Well-Maintained Cars

When you’re looking for a used car to buy, it’s important to make sure that it has been well-maintained. You can do this by looking at the owner’s service records. If the car has a clean record and low mileage, it’s more likely that the owner took good care of it. If the owner didn’t, it’s probably not a good sign for how the car has been treated overall.

It’s also a good idea to test out all the car’s features and make sure they’re working properly. For example, make sure the AC, heat and wipers all work. Make sure the car can accelerate smoothly and that the transmission shifts with no problems. You don’t want to buy a car only to find out that it has issues that weren’t apparent on a test drive.

Buy From a Trustworthy Dealership

You can buy a used from a private individual or a buy-here-pay-here lot, but the safest way is to buy at a dealership… either a new car dealership such as AutoNation or used-car-only lots like CarMax. Most dealerships will sell newer, low-mileage used cars as “certified pre-owned (or CPO), which generally come with an extended warranty and other amenities. If you find a used car that you really like (whether at a dealership or being sold by an individual), you should have it inspected by a third party.

Bring Your FIXD Sensor

If you’re buying a vehicle that was made in 1996 or newer, be sure to bring your FIXD sensor along to ensure there are no check engine light issues.

Buying a Used Car Is a Good Option

Buying a used car may appear risky, but it does not have to be if you thoroughly inspect it, ensuring that it is in good working order and that it fits your lifestyle by considering the type, brand, and model.

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.


About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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