What to Consider When Shopping for Used Cars in Janesville

December 12th, 2023 by

lineup of used mazda cars in a rowAre you currently car shopping? Are you looking to buy a used car to get something more affordable? 

If so, you are not alone. Last year, over 36 million used cars were sold in the United States. 

However, buying used cars can be risky because you do not know where that car has been before it got to you.

What can you do to minimize this risk with used cars in Janesville? This guide goes over some of the biggest things you should look out for. 


Set a Budget 

The first thing you should do is set a budget. This allows you to have a firm line as to what you are willing to spend. Doing this should narrow down your options for used cars significantly. 

It also helps you when it is time to negotiate the price of a used car. 

Let’s say that you have a budget of around $20,000 for a used car. You or a family member see a car that you love but it is $5,000 over your budget. 

In this situation, you may have been tempted to purchase that used car instantly if you had no set budget going in. However, with a firm budget in mind, you could avoid making expensive purchases like this and walk away from cars that you deem too expensive. 

Be Willing to Negotiate 

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that at a used car dealership, there may be some room to negotiate the price. Of course, this depends on a couple of factors. 

The main factors here are how much demand that particular car has as well as how far apart you and the car dealer are. However, when negotiating is done right, you can find a compromise where everybody wins. 

Let’s say that you ideally only want to spend $20,000 on a car. However, a car dealer quotes the used car you want to purchase at $22,000. 

This is likely going to be too much money for your set budget. If you negotiate, though, you could get the dealership to lower the price to a certain amount. 

You may decide to counter the dealer with $18,000. That will likely be too far apart for you guys to make a deal. 

The dealer may make another counter and quote you $21,000. You can see that you are making progress with this negotiation and counter again with $19,000. 

Eventually, you and the dealer will reach a compromise and agree to a price closer to $20,000. While this may not be possible with every vehicle, deals can be had if you are willing to negotiate reasonably. 

Search Your Location 

The next thing you need to be aware of is how your location can impact the price of a used car. If you are reading this, you are likely located near the Janesville area. 

Do some research on how much a used car at a Janesville dealership typically goes for and see what average prices are in Wisconsin compared to other states. 

One study revealed that Wisconsin ranks 20th for the average price of a used car. So, if you are using somewhere like Texas to try to compare auto prices, you may have to adjust your expectations. 

Location matters when it comes to used cars. Take the time to see how much of an impact it makes on your ideal purchase. 

Shop Around 

Going off of the above, you should not be afraid to shop around and find the best deal for you. While each dealership is likely to have at least one car with your make and model, there may be more specific things you are looking for. 

How much mileage does the car have? What color is it? What additional features does it come with? 

These are things that may be non-negotiable for you. If that is the case, take the time to see what each dealership has to offer. 

This is also important when it comes to price. You may find that our dealership has a more affordable price for a similar used car compared to one nearby. Shopping around allows you to make a more informed decision.

Ask Around 

Another thing that you should do before buying a used car is ask friends and family for recommendations. Someone in your social circle has likely had to purchase a car in recent years. 

They may be able to give you some good insight into how well the make and model runs. These people could also tell you about any issues they had with purchasing a used car in general. 

You can take this a step further and ask about what specific car dealership they used for this.

Were they forthright about the car? Has the car had any significant issues? How did the car dealership handle addressing these issues? 

All of these answers could make a big difference as to whether or not you decide to go through with a car purchase. 

When you ask a friend or family member about this, you are also more likely to listen to their advice. About 88% of people place the highest level of trust in a brand recommended to them by a friend or family member. 

If you are looking to be nudged in a certain direction, this is the best way for you to go. 

Read Online Reviews 

If you had no luck with asking friends or family members, you do have the option of reading online reviews. What this can do is give you insight into the experience past used car buyers had with this dealership. 

Here, you are primarily looking for three things. 

You need to see what the average review rating is. This ranges from one star to five stars, and it gives you a better idea of if the average customer had a good experience with this car dealership. 

On top of this, take a look at how many reviews have been left for this car dealership. If there are only a handful out there, it is hard to put too much weight on the average rating. However, if there are hundreds or thousands of reviews out there, that should make the average rating more credible. 

Also, you should look for specific negative reviews. You may discover that the same issue comes up repeatedly for past buyers. If that is the case, that should be something that you try to avoid. 

This can help verify whether the car dealership you are looking at is somewhere you want to do business. 

Consider the Mileage 

Another thing you have to think about is how many miles are on a particular used car. The reason this is so important is that the higher the mileage, the shorter the lifespan that the car has left. 

Most cars are likely to have a lifespan of around 200,000 miles. So, if you are looking at a used car that has around 180,000 miles, you are likely only going to be able to use the car for a couple of years. Whereas if you get a car with fewer than 100,000 miles, it could still have a long life. 

Mileage also comes into play when it is time to price the car. When people buy a used car, they factor in how long they will be able to use the car. They also factor in the likely maintenance that has to go into the car. 

Both of these things are impacted if the mileage is too high. That could result in you paying a lower price for a particular used car. 

Take a look at how much mileage a used car has. Then, decide if you are comfortable with that mileage and what you are willing to pay for it. 

Research the Make and Model 

Finally, you want to take the time to research the make and model of the used car you are interested in. If you are buying a model that is a few years old, you should have a good idea of what other people think of it. 

Is it reliable? Have the features aged well? What kind of maintenance is it going to need? 

These are all things you have to think about carefully with used cars. You want one that fits your specific needs and ideally, one that has little to no issues. 

You can get a better idea of this if you do some research on the car brand as well as the specific model. If you like what you see, you can move on to the buying process. 

Purchase Used Cars in Janesville 

These are the biggest things that you need to consider before purchasing used cars in Janesville. If you take the time to look at each of these factors, you should have all of the information you need to make an informed decision. 

When you are ready, Gordie Boucher Mazda of Janesville is here to get you into your ideal used car. Our dealership has been around for 46 years and we have expanded all over southern Wisconsin. 

Still, we prioritize the customer and their needs. 

Do you have more questions? Message us here today.