Eight Steps to Buying a Used Car

When considering purchasing a used or certified pre-owned vehicle, it is important to do your homework and thoroughly research your options. While typically not as expensive as buying a new car, purchasing a used vehicle is still a major purchase, and doing so without researching the vehicle and its history could make you regret your choice. The following eight steps can help you obtain the perfect previously owned vehicle for you.

1. Determine How Much You Can Afford

As a general rule of thumb, your monthly car payment should be no more than 30% of your take-home pay. Car shoppers tend to get in trouble with car costs when they shop for cars with their hearts instead of with their heads and buy something more expensive than they can really afford.

Once you determine how much you can afford to pay, you should research your financing options. Dealerships like Torre Nissan can help you secure a loan, but you can also walk in with financing already secured.

2. Make a List of Used Cars

Determine what type of vehicle you prefer, whether that be a compact car or an SUV. Perform research on some of the vehicles’ features, average prices and read some reviews to ensure you are adequately informed about your options. Luckily, Torre Nissan has their inventory of certified pre-owned vehicles available on their website, making it easy to find an array of high-quality vehicles. 

Torre has several used and certified pre-owned Nissans as well as other makes. Our selection of Nissan models include:

  • Altima
  • Frontier
  • Maxima
  • Murano
  • Pathfinder
  • Quest
  • Rogue
  • Sentra
  • Versa Note
  • And Much More

3. Check the Price of the Car You Want

You can get a good idea of how much the car you want will cost by checking Torre Nissan’s website and by finding the make and model’s True Market Value online. You should strongly consider purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle, which are refurbished and come with excellent warranties.

4. Contact Torre Nissan about the Vehicle

Once you have determined your preferred vehicle, stop in or call Torre Nissan. They can answer any questions you may have and help guide you through the purchasing process.

5. Check the Vehicle History Report

You should be sure to check out the history report for the vehicle you are wanting to buy. You can access these yourself from companies such as Carfax and AutoCheck, or you can ask your dealer to provide one for you. You can also obtain the vehicle’s VIN and enter it into the free look-up tool offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for more information.

6. Conduct a Thorough Walk-Around

Before you even get into the vehicle for a test drive, it is important to take a look at every aspect of its exterior. There are plenty of things to look for including:

  • Signs of Poor Alignment – Check the tires for wear. Balding could indicate that the vehicle needs a front-end alignment or even a suspension component repaired.
  • Signs of Possible Body Repair – Stand back and make sure everything lines up correctly on the vehicle’s panels and seams. Bring a small refrigerator magnet and place it gently around various parts of the body panels to be sure it stays in place. If not, that means there is plastic body filler and the vehicle has been involved in an accident.
  • Signs of Repainting – Take a look inside the vehicle’s trunk, doors and hood, looking for paint over-spray. Also be sure that all the body’s parts are the same color.
  • Signs of a Cracked Block – Check the radiator fluid to be sure it’s not foamy or does not contain oil droplets which can mean the car has a defective head gasket or a cracked block or cylinder head.
  • Signs of Flood – You can tell if the vehicle may have been involved in a flood by reaching up under the car and feeling around the top of the gas tank. If mud or leaves are present, the vehicle may have been involved in a flood or at least taken off-road frequently.

7. Conduct a Thorough Test Drive

Many people test drive a vehicle to make sure they are able to drive it comfortably, but there are other reasons to road test it before you buy. Some other things to make sure you pay attention to include:

  • Seat Comfort
  • Cockpit Ergonomics
  • Dashboard Lights
  • Engine Noise
  • Steering Vibrations
  • Brakes 

8. Understand the Terms

Once you come into Torre Nissan to purchase the car you want, be sure you understand all the terms of what you are buying. Get copies of all paperwork including financing and warranties so you can consult them later and ask any questions you may have to your salesperson or financing consultant.

Once you have completed these steps, it is time to take your vehicle home and enjoy it for many years to come.



Torre Nissan 

79125 Highway 111 

La Quinta CA 92253

Sales (888)603-0231
Service & Parts (888)409-3088


Sales & Leasing Hours
Monday 9:00AM - 9:00PM
Tuesday 9:00AM - 9:00PM 
Wednesday 9:00AM - 9:00PM
Thursday 9:00AM - 9:00PM
Friday 9:00AM - 9:00PM
Saturday 9:00AM - 9:00PM 
Sunday 10:00AM - 8:00PM