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Your Guide To Buying The Right Used Vehicle

Buying a used car isn’t a difficult process, especially when you know what you want. Whether you’re 99 percent sure about a vehicle or you’ve just started looking, these questions from Paul West Used Cars, a Gainesville used car dealership, can steer you in the direction of the ideal used car.

Used Car Dealership In Gainesville, FL

Is A Used Car Right For Me?

Before deciding to buy used cars, many drivers first look at new cars. Knowing the differences between a new and used car can tell you which is the right choice for you.

New cars depreciate by about 20 percent the moment they’re driven off the lot; the vehicles lose another 10 percent in value over the first year, bringing the total 12-month depreciation to 30 percent. After that period, a vehicle’s value depreciates much slower for about five years.

Some drivers view paying a premium for a new car as justifiable given the car has had no previous owners and thus no mysteries about its condition. That said, used vehicles with low mileage or one-previous owner are often in like-new condition but priced at a fraction of the cost of a new car. So depending on the vehicle in question, the combination of affordability and quality just might make buying a used car from a dealer the right choice for you.

What Will My Car Be Used For?

Cars are the main form of transportation for Gainesville residents, yet every driver has specific uses for a vehicle. Students depend on reliable cars to travel to class or to visit their family. Growing families use safe, roomy vehicles to drive their kids to school or to tow boats for weekend family outings in the North Florida nature. Professionals depend on comfortable cars for business trips around Florida, or heavy-duty vehicles to carry tools to job sites in Gainesville. By understanding your intended uses for a vehicle, you can determine the right make and model for your lifestyle.

Which Car Body Style Is Right For Me?

As you browse the inventory at our used car dealership in Gainesville, you’ll see a wide variety of body styles in stock. Each body style has its advantages. Knowing which one is right for you can help you narrow down your used vehicle search.


SUVs are common among families and individuals alike, as well as one of the most popular vehicle types in America.  SUVs are typically known for spacious third-row seating, safety features, and flexibility to satisfy many purposes (families, hauling, traveling). Volkswagen, Toyota, and Chevrolet are among the popular manufacturers of SUVs.


A pickup truck can be functional and comfortable, with single or extended cabs, and bed sizes for all manners of cargo needs. The high-torque engines in trucks make them effective for towing. A lot of towing companies make sure that they have the strongest engines to do the job. Trucks may be an ideal choice if hauling trailers or campers is necessary. Towing companies use these strong trucks to help cars get out of hazardous situations. The four-wheel-drive capabilities of most trucks make them effective vehicles for navigating hard to maneuver sandy or wet roads that may be traveled by nature-lovers or farmers. Ford, Dodge and Chevy are three of the leading truck manufacturers.


Minivans offer interior passenger space suitable for large families. Many models also feature fold-down seating that expands interior cargo space. Minivans also have high-horsepower engines with towing capabilities. Popular manufacturers of minivans include Chrysler and Dodge.

Compact Cars

Compact cars are small sedans and coupes. They are known for high fuel-efficiency, easy handling, and offer sufficient interior seating space for two or up to four passengers. Prices for compact cars are low, making them among the more affordable types of cars on the market. Hyundai, Toyota, and Kia are well-known makers of compact cars.

Midsize Car

Midsize cars can be sedans or coupes, luxury or economy, high-performance or fuel-efficient. What midsize cars have in common, though, is interior space for four to five passengers, which is enough space for an individual, family, or group. Nissan, Honda, and Toyota are prominent makers of midsize cars.

Luxury Cars

Luxury cars are sedans, coupes, SUVs, and trucks produced by esteemed manufacturers such as Cadillac and Lincoln. Luxury cars offer premium features such as leather trim, chrome wheels, and high-tech entertainment systems. Whereas new luxury models are in high price brackets, pre-owned luxury cars are at a more affordable price point.

What Engine Type Should I Choose?

Although engines seem too technical of a detail to be broached by the average used car shopper, just knowing a few basic details can help you narrow down your options and find the ideal vehicle. Engines have three aspects that most affect drivers: horsepower, displacement, and the number of cylinders.

Horsepower indicates the performance power of an engine. Vehicles with higher horsepower numbers usually accelerate quickly and reach higher top speeds. Displacement, which is quoted in liters, refers to the size of an engine. It’s not uncommon for smaller-liter engines to put out more horsepower than larger-liter ones; it all depends on the type of engine and the vehicle. The number of cylinders speaks to the size and power of an engine. Most engines have four, six, or eight cylinders, and more cylinders can mean greater power, whereas fewer cylinders can mean more fuel efficiency, though the exact performance specs are vehicle specific.

As a general rule, though, vehicles with larger engines deliver more performance in terms of greater torque and horsepower, whereas those with smaller engines offer better fuel economy. The same makes and models of vehicles can have multiple trim levels with different engines. Keeping in mind the basic facts about engine size can help you pick out the most suitable trim level of your preferred vehicle.

What Is The Size Of My Budget?

If you’d like to be frugal when buying a used car, you can first calculate your budget based on 10 percent to 20 percent of your income. You can also make the process more affordable by going to a no credit car dealer, trading in a car you own, or getting a used car loan, such as buy-here-pay-here financing. To calculate the total cost of a vehicle, add the sticker price with sales tax, registration fees, and any optional items, such as a warranty.

Can I Finance A Used Car?

You can pay for a used car outright using cash, check, or credit, or finance the vehicle through one of several ways, including through the dealership where you buy the car. Paul West Used Cars is one of Gainesville’s leading buy here pay here dealerships. We offer easy, in-house, financing that you can get started on with an online loan application.

What Maintenance Costs Should I Consider?

Maintenance is critical for keeping any vehicle on the road for many years and miles. Routine maintenance includes oil changes, tune-ups, and battery replacements. Less frequent maintenance procedures include replacing engine timing belts or tires. Maintenance costs vary depending on the make and model of a vehicle. Accounting for maintenance costs when selecting a used car can help you plan the long-term costs of ownership.

What If I Want To Sell My Car In Future?

A vehicle trade-in has advantages for a driver who is also looking to buy another used car. Rather than advertise to find a potential buyer for your vehicle, the dealership takes it off your hands. The money you receive for the trade-in then goes directly toward the purchase of whichever pre-owned vehicle you buy.

Which Dealer Should I Choose?

Choosing the right used car dealer is just as important as finding the right pre-owned vehicle. At Paul West Used Cars, we’ll help you find the car you’re looking for — and if you’re not sure, we’ll help you decide what vehicle works best for you. We have a huge selection of pre-owned cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans in stock throughout the year. Our salespeople are friendly, never pushy. Also, we offer buy here pay here financing, the convenient way to get the car you want and stay on budget. For assistance please visit our location in Gainesville or contact us today.