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Buying a car is not usually thought of as being a particularly fun experience, at least not in the same way that many of us enjoy buying the latest popular CDs, DVDs, electronics, or casual wear clothing.  Even less fun is used car shopping, which certainly lacks the appeal of the more exciting new car buying process.   Yet still, there are ways to make the used car buying experience less stressful, and hopefully, result in getting a better deal.

The following tips will help you look at used car shopping in a whole new light:

  1. Get Some Exercise.  You know you will need to visit and walk through more than one used car lot, and probably, multiple lots on multiple days over multiple weekends.  Why not put on some comfortable shoes and use the opportunity to walk around as a form of exercise?
  2. Prepare for Any Weather.  Even if you are just browsing to see what is available, you will be spending a considerable part of your car shopping time outdoors, so dress appropriately.  Wear layers, comfortable shoes, and don’t forget protection from the elements. Consider the possibility of rain, sun or wind, and depending on the season, heat or cold.
  3. Reward Yourself.   Make a plan to visit at least one car lot before and after lunch.  Make each visit thorough and productive, so you can reward yourself by picking a nice restaurant or diner to enjoy afterwards.  This will also give you time to process the information you received during each car browsing experience.
  4. Bring Snacks.  As you follow your mapped out agenda, plan for the unexpected.  In case you hit delays or changes in plans, be sure to have some drinks and snacks on hand so that you will feel less inconvenienced along the way.
  5. Take Good Notes.  Just like going on a job interview, you will want to keep track of who you visited, who you spoke to, what you liked or didn’t like.  This will help you know which places you will want to return to and which you will want to skip as you narrow down your choices.
  6. Combine Trips with Other Errands.  Since you will be driving around anyway, why not stop off and get some other errands done in between the bigger stops? This way, the day will feel productive, even if you don’t find many suitable cars the first time out.
  7. Practice Refining Your Approach.  Even if you find some car lots that have nothing that appeal to your taste, plan to talk to a salesman there anyway.  Ask for tips or pointers on what is trending in the market.  Tell him or her about what you are looking for to see what reaction you get.  Is it reasonable?  Will it be easy or hard to find?  Refine your approach, so it is ready when you need it most.
  8. You Are In Charge.  If you plan ahead and know what you want, you will have more leverage to walk away, if you don’t see or get what you want.  Feel empowered to own the situation.
  9. Try Something New.  Be adventurous and look into non-traditional used car shopping options, such as online ads, foreclosure sales, or repo auctions. It might be fun to see what types of deals are available.
  10. Test Drive The Unlikely, Just For the Fun of It.  Even if you see something you know you can’t afford or isn’t practical, take it for a test drive anyway, just for the fun of it. For example, if you are looking at used Fords for sale, but then you see a used Camaro or a used Trans Am, ask to take one of them for a spin. This extra little joy ride on the side might just make the whole tedious car shopping process seem more exciting.

Why not make the most out of a process that you will have to complete one way or another anyway?



Hailey Andersen enjoys sharing tips and trends that she feels will be useful to her readers. For more information, follow her on Twitter at:@HaileyWrites.