Getting a reliable vehicle is definitely a priority when you have bad credit. If you're worried that your credit is standing in the way of getting a quality used car, think again. Not all used vehicles are the same, and there are some tips you can use to help find a more reliable used car.

What Makes a Reliable Used Car?

When you're shopping for a used vehicle, it's important to know what you need, and do your research before jumping into an auto loan. Reliability isn't a guarantee, but you can help yourself by making choices that have proven to help others in the past.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin your search for a used car:

  • Finding a Reliable Used Car with Bad CreditNot all vehicles are created equal – Make sure you research safety and reliability ratings for any car you're considering, as well as checking consumer feedback to see what past owners have to say about a particular model.
  • Choose the right kind of vehicle for your situation – If you want to get the right kind of car, make sure you consider your driving needs, not just your wish list. Check fuel economy if you drive a lot, consider how many people have to fit comfortably in the vehicle, and what you're going to use the car for most.
  • Inspect the vehicle – Used cars are typically sold as is, which means that you have to make doubly sure to check the vehicle over yourself, rather than just taking a dealer's word for that the car is in great condition. Check both the interior and exterior, as well as under the hood. Push all the buttons, turn all the knobs, and make sure doors, windows, and all latches work properly.
  • Take a test drive – Once you've looked over a vehicle, put it to a road test. Make sure you test how the car handles in a variety of driving situations, and don't let the salesperson talk to you the whole time. Take a moment to get a feel for the vehicle, and listen to it as you drive.
  • Have the car inspected by a certified mechanic – Once you're sure that you want a particular vehicle, be sure to have it inspected by a certified mechanic. They can look further into the inner workings of a car, and tell if something isn't right. They may be able to uncover issues that aren't obvious when you're looking at it or taking a test drive.
  • Keep your budget in mind – Having a realistic budget in mind when used vehicle shopping is a must. It's important that you know how much you can afford to spend, and what an estimated loan amount is for you to consider. Just because you're buying a used car doesn't mean you have to opt for an old, high-mileage clunker. In fact, getting an older, cheaper, or less reliable vehicle often ends up costing more in the end due to higher interest rates and repair costs.

Consider a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle

If you're looking for a little more peace of mind and a sense of security when it comes to a used vehicle, consider getting a certified pre-owned (CPO) car. CPO vehicles are used cars that are held to a higher standard by manufacturers and dealerships. These vehicles are inspected and refurbished before being put on the lot, and come with a manufacturer-backed warranty.

CPO cars are usually newer than standard used vehicles, many times just coming off lease. These cars are as close as you can get to new without the new vehicle price tag.

Be careful when shopping for a CPO car, however, and make sure you're getting a true manufacturer-backed vehicle. Sometimes, you find lots that have dealer-certified cars, which aren't the same as vehicles backed by manufacturer CPO car programs.

Ready to Find Your Next Car?

If you're ready to look for a used vehicle but don't know where to start due to bad credit, Drivers Lane wants to help. We work with a large network of special finance dealerships that have lenders available to assist people with bad credit.

Rather than searching all around town trying to find a dealer that can help you, start here instead. Fill out our free and secure auto loan request form, and we'll work to match you with a local dealership.