Everyone has heard of the hidden dangers behind buying a used car. Luckily, to avoid coming home with a lemon, there are a few tried and true steps that used car shoppers can follow to make sure they drive away with a great deal. Toyota used cars are notorious for holding their value over time and if you know what to look for, you can get a great deal on a car that comes with a few extra bells and whistles. Follow this simple Toyota certified used car buying guide to make sure you don’t get stuck with a purchase that you’ll soon regret.

7 Shopping Tips for Purchasing a Toyota Certified Used Car

  1. Know Your Budget

shutterstock_176129327Don’t start off by shopping blind. Know how much you can afford to spend and stick to your budget. As a good rule of thumb, most experts agree that your car shopping budget should be about 20 percent of your annual take home pay. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that people sometimes shop with their hearts instead of their heads, so if possible, leave a bit of wiggle room in your budget.

  1. Narrow Down Your Search

shutterstock_178209608Before you ever step foot on a used car lot, you should have your list of potential Toyota used cars narrowed down. Too many options can leave your head spinning and cause you to go home empty handed. Do your research online and try to build a list of 3 to 5 different models. Looking for only Toyota certified used cars can also help to simplify the shopping process.

  1. Get Prices and Check Reviews

shutterstock_184647779Doing your research before heading out to the used car dealership is always a smart idea. Get online and start comparing prices, check reviews from trusted car websites and check out online tools that help you find the true market value of the Toyota used cars that you’re interested in. You should be able to find general information about pricing, car specs, fuel economy and standard features with just a few clicks of your mouse.



  1. Test Drive a Toyota Certified Used Car

shutterstock_179874914Once you’ve done your research and found a few different cars to inspect, it’s time to take a test drive. But a simple drive around the block won’t be enough to give you an accurate idea of how the car handles. Be sure to take the car on a substantial trip that has you driving on winding roads, uphill, over different types of pavement and if possible, hit the nearest highway.

  1. Make an Inspection Checklist

Prepare a list of things to check that includes:shutterstock_239945266

  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • All exterior and interior lights
  • Tires
  • Oil
  • Heat/Air
  • Radio
  • Windshield wipers
  • Cruise Control
  • Power locks and windows
  1. Use Carfax to Check Toyota Used Cars

Even if you’ve done your own inspection on the car of your dreams and the dealer has given you all the info they have, it is still a good idea to get a Carfax on all Toyota used cars.

Remember that you are not an expert and even though you’ve looked at the car in-person, there could be some secrets hiding under the hood.

Carfax will give you the most accurate information about where the car came from and what it has been through.

  1. Don’t Rush

shutterstock_220461061One of the biggest mistakes used car shoppers make is to say yes to the first good deal they find. Take some time to reflect and breathe before making a purchase. Seek out the advice of someone you trust like a friend or family member to make sure this is really the best deal for you. Just be aware that if you take too much time for reflection you can miss out on your deal. In the end, trust your instincts and go over all the facts before you buy.