Cars for sale are in short supply on many dealership lots. This is largely due to last year’s Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, which kept some shoppers out of the new vehicle market, Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke says. That will likely keep affordable cars in short supply for years to come. It’s important to shop around and search both online and on your local lot, he advises.

When deciding on your used cars for sale, consider age and mileage. A lower-mile older model can have a higher value than a similar newer vehicle with more features and comforts, he adds. Be sure to get a CarFax or AutoCheck report to make certain the car is in good condition. Check to see if it has been in an accident or had water damage, he advises. A test drive is a must to ensure the engine runs smoothly and that the steering and brakes operate correctly.

Cars Fort Wayne: Best Deals in the Area

If you’re considering a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle, it should be inspected by the dealer and backed by factory warranties. Private-party sellers are another option, but their prices can vary widely.

Know your true used-car cost by researching the vehicle’s Kelley Blue Book value and negotiating with dealers or private sellers. Avoid unnecessary extras like service contracts, glass etching and paint sealants that can add up quickly. And, be sure to factor in your monthly budget for a loan or lease payment. Using our calculator will help you determine your maximum affordability range.

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