You must test drive used vehicles. Research is one thing, but you won’t know whether the car suits you until it has been driven. Test driving will also help you identify any mechanical issue and get a general impression of how the car handles.
Stay way from dealerships that look run down. Sick as it may be, there are unscrupulous dealers who have no qualms about selling cars and trucks that have no business being driven. If their building doesn’t look nice, their cars probably don’t either.
A test drive isn’t sufficient; a “tech drive” is just as important. If the car you want has lots of technological components, you need to take the time to familiarize yourself with them before making a purchase. Have the dealer teach you how to use this technology. The key to smart car shopping is to have all your needs listed before you leave the house. How much can you afford to spend? How many passengers will be in the car? What kind of gas mileage do you want? Do you want a coupe or a sedan? Make a list of what you want in a car.