The Complete Checklist for Buying a Used Car

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluating the car’s exterior and interior condition is important, including the paintwork, the controls and the general condition. 
  • Importance of researching the car’s history and documentation.
  • Test driving to assess performance and peace of mind.
  • Inquiring about the warranty or after-sales services.
  • Knowing when and how to negotiate the price.

Purchasing a used car can be a wise financial decision, but it can also be a minefield if not approached correctly. Equipped with the proper knowledge, you can avoid common pitfalls and secure a deal that offers value for money. So, if you’re looking to invest in a “new-to-you” vehicle, follow our complete checklist for buying a used car. 

And remember, if you’re searching for trusted dealerships, why not start with us? Experience top-quality selections at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin today.

Exterior Inspection

  • Paint & Bodywork: The vehicle’s color should be consistent throughout. Check for any signs of repainting, which could suggest prior accidents.
  • Tires & Wheels: All tires should show even wear. Uneven wear might indicate issues with alignment or suspension.
  • Lights & Indicators: Ensure all lights (headlights, brake lights, indicators) function properly.

Interior Check

  • Upholstery & Controls: Look for excessive wear and tear on the seats and ensure all controls and instruments are operational.
  • Odor: A musty smell might indicate water leaks, while a burnt odor could point to mechanical issues.
  • Electronic Systems: Test the air conditioning, audio system, and any onboard navigation or tech features.

Documentation & History

  • Service Records: A well-maintained car will have its service records up-to-date. This provides insights into how well the vehicle has been looked after.
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Check: Use the VIN for a detailed car history report. This can reveal past accidents, ownership history, and any potential liens.
  • Mileage: Ensure the mileage on the odometer matches what’s listed in the service records and history report.

Test Drive

  • Engine: Listen for any unusual sounds. The machine should run smoothly without hiccups.
  • Transmission & Brakes: The gear shifts (in both manual and automatic transmissions) should be seamless. Brakes should feel firm and responsive.
  • Handling & Suspension: The car should handle well around curves and bumps without any odd noises.

Warranty and After-Sales Service

  • Warranty Coverage: If the car is not too old, it might still be under the manufacturer’s warranty. Check the specifics of the warranty and its validity period.
  • Dealership Guarantees: Some dealerships offer their warranties on used cars. This can be an added advantage, providing peace of mind to the buyer.
  • Maintenance Offers: Inquire if the dealership offers complimentary maintenance services or discounts on future services.

Negotiating the Price

  • Research: Before discussing the price, research the average market value of the model you’re interested in. Websites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can provide a ballpark figure.
  • Hidden Costs: Consider additional costs like dealership fees, taxes, and licensing. These can add up and affect the final price.
  • Trade-In Value: If you’re trading in your old car, know its value. This can be a significant factor in negotiating the used car’s final price.

Finalizing the Deal

  • Paperwork: Make sure all the required documents, such as the title, bill of sale, and release of liability, are in place.
  • Payment Method: Discuss the preferred payment method. Many dealerships offer financing options, but sometimes, securing your financing can give you an upper hand in negotiations.
  • Inspection Certificate: If your state requires it, ensure the car has a valid inspection certificate.

Mechanic’s Inspection

  • Professional Expertise: While personal evaluations and test drives are crucial, nothing beats the expertise of a professional mechanic. They can spot potential problems or signs of wear and tear that an average buyer might overlook.
  • Peace of Mind: Investing in a mechanic’s inspection, although an additional cost, can save you from unexpected expenses in the future and provide peace of mind.
  • Bargaining Power: Any issues spotted during the inspection can also be used as a negotiation point when discussing the price.

Vehicle’s Age vs. Mileage

  • Age Matters: A newer car might sound appealing, but if it has excessively high mileage for its age, it could indicate hard usage.
  • Mileage Concerns: On the flip side, an older car with surprisingly low mileage might have been sitting unused for extended periods, potentially leading to other issues like rubber component deterioration or battery problems.
  • Balanced View: Consider both factors instead of focusing solely on age or mileage. A well-maintained older car with reasonable mileage can sometimes be better than a newer, heavily-used vehicle.

Safety Features

  • Updated Safety: Older models might lack modern safety features in recent cars. Ensure the used car has essential safety elements like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and traction control.
  • Advanced Technology: While not always essential, features like rearview cameras, lane departure warnings, and blind-spot monitoring can enhance your safety on the road.
  • Recall Information: Ensure that the vehicle has no pending recalls or, if it had any, they were addressed promptly.

Fuel Efficiency & Environmental Impact

  • Mileage Check: Older cars might not be as fuel-efficient as newer models. Research the car’s miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings to ensure you get a good deal for your wallet and the environment.
  • Emission Tests: Depending on where you live, the used car might need to pass emission tests. Ensure it meets the necessary standards.
  • Hybrid and Electric Options: If you’re environment-conscious, consider looking into used hybrids or electric vehicles. They can be more expensive upfront but can save money in the long run.

Resale Value

  • Future-Proofing: Even if you plan to keep the car long, it’s wise to consider its potential resale value.
  • Popular Models: Cars from reputable brands or popular models tend to have a better resale value. Research the model’s history in the market to get an idea.
  • Depreciation Rate: All cars depreciate, but the rate can vary. Opt for vehicles known to hold their value longer.

Hidden Fees & Costs

  • Insurance Rates: Before finalizing the purchase, get an insurance quote. Some models might have higher insurance premiums based on their history or type.
  • Registration Fees: Check the costs of registering the used car in your name, as these can differ based on the vehicle’s age, type, or location.
  • Warranty Transfer Fees: If the car is still under warranty, there might be fees for transferring it to your name. Make sure to factor in these costs when budgeting.


Investing in a used car doesn’t mean compromising on quality. With the right approach and a comprehensive checklist, you can ensure a wise purchase, eliminating surprises. 

As you venture into this process, trust established dealerships that uphold transparency and integrity in their dealings. 

Explore Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin‘s offerings today for stellar deals and top-notch vehicles.

Why Buying a Used Car Could Be Your Best Decision Yet

Key Takeaways

  • Buying a used car is more affordable than a new one.
  • Used cars depreciate at a slower rate compared to new vehicles.
  • Insurance rates for used vehicles are typically lower than for new ones.
  • A broader range of options is available when buying a used car.
  • Buying a used vehicle contributes to reducing the environmental footprint.

Are you contemplating buying a car but feel overwhelmed by the prices of brand-new models? Purchasing a used car is an option worth exploring in this case! 

Buying a used car can be one of the best financial decisions, offering numerous advantages, from cost savings to a broader selection of models. 

This article will explore why buying a used car could be your best decision yet. Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin provides a wide selection of high-quality used cars to suit your needs and budget. Explore our range of used vehicles today!


Cost savings are among the most compelling reasons to buy a used car. A brand-new car can be expensive, and its value depreciates significantly as soon as you drive it off the dealership. 

Depreciation is the loss of value that a car experiences over time. New cars tend to depreciate much faster during the first few years of ownership. Some new cars can lose about 20-30% of their value within the first year and about 50% or more over three years.

However, the depreciation rate slows down significantly after the first few years. Buying a used car can be a wise investment as you let someone else take the initial depreciation hit. You can then resell the used car a few years later with minimal loss in value.

Insurance Savings

Insurance rates are typically based on the value of the car. Since a used car has a lower value than a new one, the cost of insuring it is usually lower as well. 

Additionally, some elements of car insurance, like collision and comprehensive coverage, may also be less expensive for a used car. Therefore, buying a used car can significantly save insurance costs.

Wider Selection

When you opt to buy a used car, you have a more comprehensive selection of makes and models to choose from. 

This is because you are not limited to the current year’s models but can also choose from cars manufactured in previous years. This broader range of options makes finding a vehicle that fits your needs and preferences easier. 

You may also find used cars with features or options that are no longer available in newer models.

Environmental Benefits

Buying a used car is also a more environmentally friendly option. Manufacturing new cars requires significant energy and resources and contributes to pollution. 

Additionally, the disposal of old cars also has an environmental impact. By purchasing a used car, you are helping to reduce the demand for new vehicles and, therefore, contributing to a reduction in the ecological footprint.

Maintenance Records

One common concern about buying a used car is the uncertainty about its maintenance history. However, nowadays, many used cars come with detailed maintenance records that can provide insight into the car’s history and how well it has been taken care of. 

Some used car sellers even offer certified pre-owned vehicles that have been thoroughly inspected and refurbished to ensure they are in good condition.

Technology and Features

Another misconception is that used cars are outdated and lack modern technology and features. 

However, many used cars, especially those only a few years old, come equipped with the latest technology and features, such as navigation systems, advanced safety features, and smartphone integration.

Room for Negotiation

There is often more room for negotiation when buying a used car than a new one. Dealerships and private sellers may be more willing to negotiate the price of a used car, allowing you to get a better deal. 

You may also have the option to negotiate other terms such as warranty and financing.

Financing Options

Many dealerships offer financing options for used cars, making it easier to afford the vehicle you want. Interest rates for used car loans may be higher than for new vehicles, but the overall cost is still likely to be lower due to the lower purchase price of the used car.

Certified Pre-Owned Options

Many manufacturers offer certified pre-owned (CPO) programs, where used cars are thoroughly inspected, refurbished, and approved by the manufacturer or dealer. 

These cars often come with extended warranties and may include additional benefits such as roadside assistance. 

Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle can give you added peace of mind as it ensures that the car is in good condition and has been well-maintained.

Additional Benefits

Owning a car comes with additional costs, including maintenance, repairs, and fuel. When you buy a new car, you may need to spend more on these extra costs as new vehicles often require more expensive parts and services. 

Additionally, new cars usually have higher fuel consumption rates than older models. On the other hand, used cars often have lower maintenance and repair costs as they have already undergone initial repairs and services. 

Furthermore, many used cars are more fuel-efficient, which can lead to significant savings in the long run. Overall, buying a used car can help you save on additional costs associated with car ownership.


Buying a used car can be an intelligent financial decision with numerous benefits. From cost savings to reduced depreciation, lower insurance rates, a more comprehensive selection of models, and contributing to environmental sustainability, there are several reasons why buying a used car could be your best decision yet. 

Additionally, with options such as certified pre-owned vehicles, detailed maintenance records, and room for negotiation, buying a used car has become more reliable and convenient. 

Explore the range of used cars available at Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin and make a wise financial decision today!

Car Shopping 101: What to Look for in Your Next Vehicle

Key Takeaways

  • Determine your budget and stick to it to avoid making a decision you might regret later on.
  • Decide if a used car or a new one would suit your needs and budget better.
  • Prioritize your needs and wants based on your lifestyle, commute and driving style. 
  • Consider the total cost of ownership, which include maintenance and fuel costs. 
  • Test drive multiple options to get hands-on experience with your options. 

Embarking on the journey of car shopping can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. With many options available, having a roadmap to navigate the process helps more than one would realize.  

This guide provides comprehensive insights and tips on what to look for in your next vehicle. We’ll cover everything from determining your budget to test-driving multiple options. 

So, let’s get started on your car-shopping adventure! Visit Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin to explore various options tailored to your needs.

Determine Your Budget

The first step in car shopping is to determine your budget. This includes not only the price of the vehicle but also additional costs such as insurance, maintenance, and fuel. 

Consider your current financial situation and how much you can afford to spend without straining your finances. Remember, it’s always better to have a budget and stick to it rather than impulsively buying a car, which may lead to financial stress later on.

New or Used?

Buying a new or used vehicle is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make during your car shopping journey. Both options have their pros and cons. A new car typically comes with the latest features, a full warranty, and, often, better financing rates. 

However, it also depreciates quickly. On the other hand, a used car usually costs less upfront, and its value depreciates at a slower rate. 

However, it may have hidden maintenance issues or a limited warranty. It’s essential to consider these factors carefully and see which option fits your needs and budget.

Prioritize Your Needs and Wants

Make a list of features essential for your daily routine and another list that would be nice but unnecessary. For example, fuel efficiency may be a top priority if you commute long. 

On the other hand, if you frequently drive in snowy or icy conditions, an all-wheel-drive vehicle may be necessary. Other features to consider include safety features, technology, and comfort. 

A clear list of priorities will help you stay focused during your car shopping journey and ensure you choose a vehicle that meets your needs.

Consider Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of ownership includes the vehicle’s purchase price and additional expenses such as insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Considering these costs when determining your budget and deciding on a car is essential. 

For example, a vehicle with a lower purchase price may cost more in the long run due to high maintenance or fuel costs.

Additionally, some vehicles may have higher insurance premiums due to their make or model. It’s essential to thoroughly research and consider all these factors before deciding.

Test Drive Multiple Options

Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to hit the road and test-drive your top choices. Test-driving multiple vehicles will give you a better sense of how they are handled on the street, how comfortable they are, and whether they meet your needs and expectations. 

Pay attention to details such as visibility, ease of use of the controls, and overall comfort. It’s also a good idea to test drive the vehicles in different road conditions and at other times of the day to get a comprehensive understanding of their performance. 

Remember, this is a significant investment, and making an informed decision is essential.

Consider Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Impact

In today’s world, being environmentally conscious is more important than ever. During your car shopping journey, consider the fuel efficiency of the vehicles you are considering and their environmental impact. 

Not only will a fuel-efficient vehicle save you money on gas, but it will also have a smaller carbon footprint. Additionally, some countries offer incentives for buying environmentally friendly vehicles, such as tax credits or rebates. Keep this in mind, as it could significantly affect your budget and overall cost of ownership.

Evaluate Safety Features

Safety should always be a priority when car shopping. Make sure to thoroughly research the safety features of the vehicles you are considering. 

Look for features such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags, and a rearview camera. Additionally, consider advanced safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. 

Remember, your own safety and passenger safety should never be compromised.

Research and Compare Insurance Costs

Insurance is a significant part of the total cost of vehicle ownership. Researching and comparing insurance costs for the vehicles you are considering during your car shopping journey is essential. 

Insurance premiums vary significantly based on the vehicle’s make, model, and year. Your driving history, location, and other factors can also affect your insurance premiums. 

Getting quotes from multiple insurance providers is advisable to ensure you get the best deal.

Consider Resale Value

A vehicle’s resale value is another crucial factor to consider during your car shopping journey. Some vehicles depreciate much faster than others. Choosing a vehicle with a substantial resale value is essential, as it will affect your finances in the long run should you decide to sell your vehicle later on. 

Research the resale values of the vehicles you are considering and choose one likely to hold its value well over time.

Check Reviews and Ratings

Before finalizing your decision, you must check the reviews and ratings of the vehicles you are considering. Look for reviews from both experts and other car owners. This will give you a well-rounded perspective on the vehicle’s performance, reliability, and overall satisfaction. 

Additionally, consider the vehicle’s ratings from reputable organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Car shopping can be daunting, but with thorough research and careful consideration of your needs, wants, and budget, you can make the right choice. 

Remember to determine your budget, decide between new or used, prioritize your needs and wants, consider the total cost of ownership, test drive multiple options, consider fuel efficiency and environmental impact, evaluate safety features, research and compare insurance costs, consider resale value, and check reviews and ratings. 

Ready to take the next step in your car shopping journey? Visit Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin  today to explore our range of vehicles and schedule a test drive.

Front Quarter View of the 2024 Dodge Hornet

Unleashing Power and Capability: A Close Look at the 2024 Dodge Hornet 

Overview of the Performance Specifications of the 2024 Dodge Hornet 

All set to redefine the automotive landscape, the 2024 Dodge Hornet is a compact sensation that blends power, style, and innovation. The Hornet promises responsive and enjoyable performance when navigating city streets or cruising on the highway. In this blog, we provide an overview of the performance specifications of the 2024 Dodge Hornet. Meanwhile, if you want to buy this compact powerhouse, drop by Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin in Herrin, IL. 

Read the rest of this entry >>
2023 Ram 3500 towing a fifth-wheel flatbed trailer with an excavator on top

Explore the Trim Levels & Their Highlighting Specs of the 2023 Ram 3500

What are the Trim Levels of the 2023 Ram 3500 Available in Herrin, IL?  

A heavy-duty truck designed to tackle the most challenging jobs and provide exceptional driving experience, the 2023 Ram 3500 is a must-have for off-road lovers. A critical factor that makes the Ram 3500 stand out in the market is its variety of trim levels, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities. In this blog by Auffenberg Chrysler of Herrin in IL, we’ll explore the trim levels and their highlighting specs of the 2023 Ram 3500. Read on to learn more.  

Read the rest of this entry >>