FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Clint Walker spent a lot of time looking at used cars before taking the plunge on a Kia Soul.
"Affordability and reliability were very important," Walker said. "I was looking through a ton of cars and it was excruciating."
Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports says used cars can be a great choice, particularly, late model used cars, which can save you a bundle.
"The real sweet spot is a 3-year-old used car," Fisher said. "You could typically get one for about half of what you'd pay for a new car, and many 2016 models have all the latest
advanced safety gear."
The four most important advanced safety features to look for are Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection and Blind Spot Warning.
For reliability, Toyota has consistently been a standout. If you want a little more luxury, consider a Lexus.
But as Clint discovered, every used car has its own, unique history. Being thorough helped him avoid surprises.
"Doing the homework was very beneficial, Walker said. "It pays off in the end."
"If you want a little more peace of mind, look at a certified pre-owned car," Fisher said. "You'll pay a little more, but you'll get a warranty that's very similar to the one you'd find in a new car."
And it's always a good idea to get an independent mechanic you trust, for a bumper-to-bumper inspection. Expect to pay at least $100 for this service, but it could be money well spent if a costly problem is spotted before you buy.
What to look for when purchasing a used car