For many of us, a car is a necessity. In huge parts of the country, we must have cars for commuting, visiting friends and family, taking vacations, and other routine activities. However, buying a car is often stressful. Cars, after all, cost a great deal of money. For most of us, they represent a significant investment. It’s rough knowing that the moment you drive that new car off the lot, your investment will depreciate (we’re talking as much as 20 percent!)!

However, there is another way. If you choose to buy a used car, you can let some other owner handle that steep off-the-lot depreciation, then step in just in time to enjoy some prime years with your used vehicle. Here’s why you should consider getting a used car.

Buying Used: The Pros and Cons

The debate between buying used cars and buying new ones is an old one, and the battle lines were drawn long ago. On the used car side exist obvious pros. When you buy used, you skip the steep depreciation that comes with the early days of car ownership. You save money, and you still get a great ride. On the new-car side, folks argue that being the sole owner of a car allows you to control its maintenance schedule and ensure that it is taken care of. Plenty of potential cons to buying a used car exist. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a lemon. Those who buy very old used cars in order to keep initial purchase costs down may also find that they end up spending more when the maintenance and repair bills for their clunker start piling up!

Getting the Best of Both Worlds

However, the downsides to buying a used car don’t frighten you as much when you consider the landscape of the modern used-car market. These days, it’s easier than ever to ensure that you’re getting a reliable ride. Thanks to the rise of dealer and manufacturer certifications, we know that a used car was maintained by its previous owner. The arrival of vehicle history reports has made it easy to tell at a glance if a car was involved in an accident.

It’s still possible to buy the wrong used car, but modern buyers can protect themselves by just opting for reliable dealers and doing their due diligence.

How to Go about Buying a Used Car

If you’re in the market for a vehicle, you should consider buying a used one in order to save money and get the best possible car, truck, SUV, or other vehicle for your money. Here’s how to do that.

For starters, find your budget and your sweet spot. Remember that buying the oldest, cheapest car around might not be the best move. You want a car that is still reliable and in the prime of its life, so that you can save money on maintenance and repair costs (keeping up with a clunker is a losing battle).

Next, look for a reliable place to buy affordable cars. A website that specializes in used vehicles, like Auto Auction Mall, makes a strong choice. By allowing buyers to look for cars in areas beyond their immediate surroundings, online used car vendors make the market more efficient and helping buyers get the vehicles they want for prices they can afford.

Do your research! Take advantage of the information provided by the vendor you’re dealing with, and check out third-party vehicle history reports if necessary. Learn more about the make and model that you’re examining, and see how well the vehicle should hold its value. Consider reliability and performance, too, of course.

If you do your research and buy your car from the right dealer, you can save big bucks by buying your vehicle used.