Picking the Best Used Car for Your Family

Choosing a used car that works best for you and your family is an important decision. Price is a huge factor but—considering your precious cargo—safety is also a primary concern. But, where should you start your search?

Here are some used car shopping tips that can help you make an informed decision about finding the safest car:
  1. Research information about your vehicle and its crash test performance. There are plenty of online resources, like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website, that show you how the used car you're considering performed in different crash tests.
  2. Consider going with newer vehicles. Chances are, the older a used car is, the less likely it will be equipped with the latest safety features. Before deciding on any vehicle, check out what safety features are included.
  3. Check the paperwork. Make sure you read everything carefully. Even if it is a certified pre-owned vehicle, not all dealerships have the same level of rigorous standards for used cars. Ask the dealership to show you the actual inspection report for that vehicle. If you're buying from a private party, make sure the ownership of the vehicle is transferred to you legally, so that you don't have to deal with unpaid fines or fees.
  4. Know the history. Even if the used car you're considering looks like it's in great shape, it may have a sordid past—from odometer issues, to water damage, to major accidents. A history report from websites like CARFAX® helps give you confidence in the vehicle's history.
  5. Make sure it fits your lifestyle. Be realistic about what kind of used car best suits you and your family. Do you drive a lot and need a car with great MPG? Will the vehicle be big enough to safely and comfortably fit your family? Does it have a LATCH restraint system for car seats? When shopping for the best used car in your budget, make sure it's the right one for you.