The next thing to do is get an idea of maintenance costs on any car you're considering. Proper maintenance is especially important on a used car since it may not have a warranty to protect it if anything breaks down. People buy used vehicles as a way to save money but often overlook the cost of maintenance, which might end up pushing them beyond the limits of their budget. The car's owner's manual, which is often available online, will tell you what you need to know about maintenance services and intervals. A phone call to a dealership service department or a trusted independent repair shop will get you pricing information. You also can check resources such as RepairPal.
A thorough vehicle inspection can shed light on potential problems or tell you whether the car has been in an accident. Don't hesitate to bring your mechanic to see the car or to request a mobile inspection. Take the car for a spin to listen for any unusual noises and to see if you like the way it drives. If you are an audiophile, now is also the time to test-drive the audio system.
There's a big safety benefit to buying the newest car you can afford. When you buy a new car, you're ensuring you're getting a car that's up to the most recent safety standards in both crash testing and in safety technology. A new car compared to a used car from even five years ago can have big safety advantages with things like more airbags, a more rigid construction, and more advanced technology like a backup camera which is now mandatory on every new car sold in the U.S.