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What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

at Arlington Toyota


Open 9 AM - 9 PM

Used Car Buying Tips

Car-buyers looking to save money on their next vehicle frequently look to the used car market. While this can be the perfect solution for you, it’s important to know what to look for in a used vehicle. This begins with where you shop for your car and how to determine its quality.
Here are some simple used car shopping tips to get you started.

Where to Buy a Used Car?

When shopping for a used car, you generally have three options: the franchised dealer, the independent dealer, and a private party.
Independent used car dealers are not partnered with any manufacturer. Their names will often be something like “AAA Auto Sales” or “Bob Jone’s Quality Used Cars.” These dealers generally have a lower quality of used vehicles available when compared to a franchised dealer. They also do not typically offer a service center. Many independent lots do not offer a warranty and sell all vehicles “As is.” Remember; in Jacksonville, FL, “lemon laws” apply only to new cars, not used.
Going the private party route can be tempting. Because there is “no middle man,” a person selling their own vehicle is generally going to price their vehicle lower than any used car dealership. However, there are many potential pitfalls when purchasing directly from the vehicle’s owner. The title may not be clear or the car may not have had any inspection. You must obtain your own mechanic’s inspection, which can be difficult to coordinate. The car may also have more hidden problems that can crop up soon after you purchase, costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Further, there are no warranties, right to cancel, or lemon law protections. You will also have to do extra legwork to get financing if you don’t have the cash upfront.

blue car driving on open road

Choosing to work with franchised dealer will offer the best solution for all of these problems. A franchised dealer is partnered with one manufacturer, which allows them to offer Certified Pre-Owned vehicles of that make, but they can also sell other used makes and models. Franchise dealers offer their finance center and service center to their used car customers.

Model Reliability and Ownership Costs

When looking at a used vehicle, you’ll want to consider each specific model’s reliability as well as long-term ownership costs. This is one of the most important used car buying tips that too many people overlook.
You can garner a lot of this information from online research. For example, here is a Consumer Reports article on best used cars under $20k. You’ll notice Toyota models dominate the list, including the Corolla, Matrix, Prius, Camry, Avalon as well as the lineup of Toyota SUVs: the 4Runner, Highlander, RAV4 and Sequoia. This means these vehicles have been tested and analyzed to attain “multiple years of much-better-than-average reliability.”

Ownership costs are also an important factor when choosing a used car. Some makes are well-known for costing more to maintain and repair. Others are popular for their low ongoing costs. We recommend using the Edmunds Cost of Car Ownership calculator to get an idea of which makes and models will cost you less in the long run. This will allow you to estimate the costs associated with depreciation, fuel use, insurance, maintenance, and repairs.

blue car driving on open road

Vehicle History Report

Lineup of vehicles on pavement in front of lake

With the advent of Carfax, it’s foolish to purchase a car without knowing its history. A Carfax report will inform you of reported accidents, flood damage, mileage milestones, service history, and number of owners. While you can obtain a Carfax report for any car you may purchase, you will be on the hook for the cost of the report when you purchase from a private party and from some independent used car dealerships. When you purchase your used vehicle from a franchised dealer like Arlington Toyota, your vehicle history report will be included for free.

Consider Certified Pre-Owned

If you’re looking for the best of the best, this used car buying tip is for you.


The best of all used vehicles is the Certified Pre-Owned. Nearly every car manufacturer offers CPO vehicles. The general concept is that only the top quality trade-ins and lease turn-ins qualify. These vehicles must be certified by the original manufacturer after passing a rigorous quality inspection. Still, not all brands select their CPOs in the same way.


Toyota CPOs are available only at a franchised Toyota dealership like Arlington Toyota. With a Toyota CPO, you’ll be assured your vehicle is:


  • Six model years or newer
  • Under 80,000 milestones
  • Backed with a 12-month/12,000 mile Comprehensive Warranty
  • Backed with a 7-year/100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty
    Available with new-car financing rates

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned vehicles pass one of the industry’s most strict 160-point inspections to ensure the vehicle is well-maintained in the following areas:

  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Engine (transmission, fluids, etc.)
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • And more!
blue car driving on open road

Why Buy from Arlington Toyota of Jacksonville, FL?

At Arlington Toyota of Jacksonville, FL, we specialize in helping customers on a budget find the perfect used vehicle. With over 400 pre-owned cars in inventory, we are sure to have the perfect vehicle configuration for your needs.


To serve our most budget-conscious customers, we even offer over 50 vehicles under $10k.


Bad credit? No problem! Our expert finance staff are experienced in packaging finance deals that look at your overall financial situation, not just your credit score. Even if you’ve been turned down at other dealerships, we may be able to help you. We use iPreCheck to check your credit score without using your SSN.

At Arlington Toyota, we are proud to say you can do business your way, in your language. Whether you speak Spanish or English, we have knowledgeable staff to help you find the right vehicle at the right price.

You can begin your search of our wide selection of used vehicles online using our virtual showroom. Our friendly, helpful sales team is standing by to show you around our pre-owned cars and take you for a test drive. We can also help you narrow down your options by hand-selecting a vehicle that meets your needs, whether it’s a fuel-efficient commuter, a work-tough pickup, or a family-friendly SUV.

Where Are We Located?

Arlington Toyota


10939 Atlantic Blvd

Jacksonville, FL 32225

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