Category Archives: Car Buying

Best Tips for First-Time Car Buyers and New Drivers

best tips for first-time car buyers and new drivers (best cars) Buy Here Pay Here

Learning how to drive and buying a new car are major life milestones. Perhaps you’ve landed a new job? Maybe you’ve just received your admissions letter and need a car for school?

Whether you are young or old, your first time on the road can be scary and dangerous. If you aren’t inheriting the family clunker and need to buy a car yourself, this adds another level of intimidation.

That’s why we’re sharing some of the best tips for first-time car buyers. While everyone dreams of driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini, we all know it’s not the best first car purchase. Regardless, a first car is your ticket to freedom.

But before we share our favorite cars for new drivers, here are some tips for finding the perfect vehicle:

1. Do your research before and during the car-buying process

Car-buying research includes searching for the make and model of your desired car and making sure there aren’t any major consumer complaints, recalls, or safety-related defects. Just because you like the look doesn’t mean it’s a good first-time car. It’s important to keep your emotions at bay when researching your ideal first vehicle.

Just because there is a new pickup truck on the market doesn’t mean it’s the best car for your day-to-day needs. If you don’t have a family, an SUV or minivan may not be the best choice either. Research the costs of fuel, maintenance, and repairs.

2. Establish a budget

Be realistic with your car budget. If you have to pay for the car yourself, this is an important time to demonstrate responsibility and potentially save hundreds (if not thousands) at the dealership. While the best option is to pay for the entire vehicle in cash, sometimes that’s just not possible. Most car buyers need some sort of financing.

Follow the 20% rule and make sure your car payments and all automotive expenses don’t exceed 20% of your monthly income. For instance, if your take-home pay is $2800, then your total auto expenses should not exceed $560. Take into account gas, insurance, maintenance, registration, and repairs. It may take you some time to figure out what car you can afford, but it’s definitely worth it.

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time car buyers make is getting a car they cannot afford. Don’t make this mistake. If you are considering purchasing a car for $18,000, set your budget around $3,000-$5,000 less than that to account for taxes, registration fees, insurance, options and add-ons.

Don’t forget to take into account your down payment and the length of your loan when determining which car you can afford.

3. Don’t buy a used car from a private seller

Unless you have a family member or close friend of the family who is willing to give you a great deal, stay away from private sellers. There’s a lot of risk involved and it can add a lot of extra time, money, and energy to your car-buying journey. Buying and selling a car at a dealership is a lot easier and more secure.

4. Look for Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Certified pre-owned vehicles are the best kind of used car you can buy. Instead of buying a new car, which can lose about 60% of its value within the first five years, look for CPO vehicles, which are often in “like-new” condition.

5. Get a CarFax report (includes vehicle history and inspection reports) 

Never purchase a vehicle without first viewing a CarFax report. If you know the vehicle’s VIN number, you can look up its vehicle history report on CarFax. However, if you buy a vehicle from a dealership, they will most likely have a CarFax report available for free.

This report provides essential information on the vehicle’s past life, including accident reports, emissions results, service records, title information, and history of previous owners.

All Auto Simple pre-owned vehicles go through a rigorous 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report.

6. Locate a respectable dealer

When looking for a responsible and reliable first car, such as a Toyota CorollMazda3, or Honda Civic, make sure you do your research into the dealership first.

Learn what separates Auto Simple from the rest:

7. Inspect the car, inside and out

It’s never been easier to know what to look for when inspecting your potential new vehicle. In addition to a visual inspection of the inside and outside of the vehicle, you’ll want to take it for a test drive. Read our Used Car Buyer’s Guide to find out exactly what you should be paying attention to.

8. Secure financing (if necessary)

When financing your new vehicle, try to put at least 20% percent down. This makes it a lot less likely that you will default on your loan. The more money you put down, the more secure your purchase will be. For instance, if the car gets totaled, you could end up owing more money than the car is worth.

Before you approach a bank or credit union for a loan, check with the dealership. They often have better financing options if you are purchasing the car from them. And since all the payments and purchases come from one place, it makes things a lot simpler.

If you have bad credit, don’t worry. You may be able to get a co-signer so you can piggyback off their good credit. Learn How to Buy a Used Car on Bad Credit.

9. Look for deals and special promotions

Often, dealerships will offer specials and promotions, so be on the look-out!

Right now, Auto Simple is offering one of the best promotions you’ll find anywhere!

Get $200 for Referring a Friend and a Chance to win The Free Ride!

Refer a friend to Auto Simple you get $200! And now, you could Get Your Car Paid Off too!

For example, in the last three months there were 90 referrals. So, you could have a 90 to 1 chance to win The Free Ride. That’s pretty good odds!

Offer ends 7/1/17

Finally, enjoy this car-buying experience. Buying and owning your first car is a great experience, one that you hopefully remember fondly for the rest of your life. As promised, below are our favorite cars for new drivers.

The Best Cars for New Drivers

  1. Chevrolet Malibu
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Toyota Corolla
  5. Mazda3 and Mazda6
  6. Ford Focus
  7. Kia Soul
  8. Pontiac Vibe
  9. Scion xB and Scion xD

If you are buying from a dealership, the payment and purchase should be very easy. After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. It’s that easy.

In fact, you can leave the Auto Simple lot with a new pre-owned vehicle for as low as $500 Down!

To ease your worries about purchasing a preowned vehicle, all Auto Simple cars go through a 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report. We do our best to bring the vehicle back to the level like-new conditions, including touching up paint and removing dents.

Plus, we offer a 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on all of our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase, you can return the vehicle within 48 hours—no questions asked.

Here are some more tips for buying a used car:

Once you find the perfect vehicle, avoid common driver mistakes by establishing good habits at the beginning of your driving career: 


Auto Simple wants to find you a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all of which come with a free CarFax report and a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

Top 5 Road Trips in America | Plan a USA Road Trip!

best road trips in america - auto simple

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

– John Muir, The Yosemite (1912)

Get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway. Adventure awaits on these uniquely American road trips.

From purple mountain majesties to alabaster cities, America has some of the best landscapes and roadways in the world. The vast, sprawling scenery has inspired many great works of art, philosophy, science, and of course, epic road trips.

If you’re yearning for a new, beautiful, and intrinsically patriotic experience, channel your inner Jack London/Kerouac and start planning your next great American Road Trip. To help, here’s our list of the best road trips and destinations in America. Get lost!

A couple tips before we begin:

  • Leave yourself plenty of time for spontaneous trips and longer-than-expected stays
  • Stock your vehicle with the essentials (and non-essentials)
  • Check/change your fluids and tires, and get your vehicle ready for the trip.
  • Obtain paper maps (maps and guides can be found at your local AAA)
  • Speaking of AAA, consider purchasing roadside assistance
  • Play fun car games
  • Make sure you have a suitable vehicle
  • Drive on America’s National Scenic Byways if you can
  • Plan your route (log in to Google and click “Create Map” in “Maps”)
  • Bring binoculars

The best time for a road trip is between spring and fall. You may want to wait until October for annual fall foliage displays. Double check peak fall color times to make sure. And always check road and weather conditions.

  1. Great Smoky Mountain Road Trip

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Map - Tennesee, Georgia, North Carolina
Source: National Park Service

  • Start: Chattanooga, TN
  • Visit:
    • Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN
    • Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga, TN
    • Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN
    • Chattahoocee National Forest
    • Nantahala National Forest
    • Mountain Farm Museum and Qualla Arts and Crafts in Cherokee, NC
    • Cataloochee Valley (Hannah Cabin) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    • Boogerman Trail loop
    • Big Witch Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway
    • Devil’s Courthouse overlook trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway
    • North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NC
    • Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
    • Jack of the Wood, a Celtic-style bar in Asheville, NC

End: Asheville, NC

As Tennessee natives ourselves, it’s hard not to be inspired by the wild beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular national parks in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains attracts millions of visitors every year. And rightly so. Don’t be afraid to wander.

If you live near Chattanooga, Cleveland, or Dayton, as we do, you’ll want to pass through the Chattahoochee and Nantahala National Forests and enter the Great Smoky Mountains from the Cherokee, NC entrance. If you’re on the eastern side of the park, start in Asheville, NC.

It’s not a very long road trip, more of a weekend trip, but if you are taking a road trip anywhere in Tennessee, be sure to include the Smokies on your list. Most visitors enter through the Gatlinburg–Pigeon Forge into the park, but a better entrance might be the quieter North Carolina entrance through Maggie Valley and into Cherokee.

elk at Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains

“Shot at Cataloochee Valley, which is located on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley is home to more than 100 elk who often graze within yards of the main road – and sometimes like to snarl traffic by jaywalking.”– Jordan Whitt, Unsplash

The views and wildlife are stunning. You may even be lucky enough to witness the famous blue haze associated with the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Make the trip in May or June and the skyline often has a deep pink and/or red glow.

As you wind your way through the scenery, it will seem to change by the minute—rolling valleys, spring wildflowers, soft fog, dense forests, steep mountains, and occasional log cabins and grist mills. Don’t be afraid to pull over along lookout points, such as Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park, and the popular Chimney Tops picnic area. Just watch out for the black bears!

After a few days in nature, we recommend taking the gorgeous Blue Ride Parkway (an amazing road trip on its own) from Cherokee to Asheville (or vice versa if you are entering from that side).

Watch this video to learn more about Clingmans Dome and the Great Smoky Mountains:

  1. The Blues Highway Road Trip 

The Devil's Crossroads at U.S. 61 and U.S. 49
Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Start: Memphis, TN
  • Visit:
    • Graceland and B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis, TN
    • Blues and Legends Hall of Fame in Tunica, MS
    • The Hollywood Café and/or Blue & White Restaurant in Tunica, MS
    • Devil’s Crossroads in Clarksdale, MS
    • Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS
    • Hopson Plantation, Cat Head, and Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS
    • White Front Café in Rosedale, MS
  • End: New Orleans, LA

Take a ride on the Blues Highway (US 61), Bob Dylan’s famous Highway 61 that runs from Wyoming, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana, to experience a unique musical journey. We begin our trip in Memphis. From there, you’ll travel to the same towns and juke joints as Bessie Smith, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Elvis, and other legends once did.

Following the course of the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, there’s plenty to hear, see, and taste on this road trip. Start in Memphis and hit up one of the hundreds of amazing Memphis-style barbecue joints. Some local favorites are Tops Bar-B-Q, Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, and Leonard’s Pit Barbecue. Stay the night at the historic Peabody Hotel (or just visit for a drink). And don’t forget about Graceland!

After a day or two in Memphis, head to the Blues and Legends Hall of Fame in Tunica, Just 40 minutes away, our next stop is Clarksdale, the birthplace of Muddy Waters and deathplace of Bessie Smith. Visit the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49, which is said the be “The Crossroads” where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for his musical talent. For a great live music experience, make sure to check out who’s playing at Cat Head and Ground Zero Blues Club. Nearby is the Delta Blues Museum.

After Clarksdale, you can choose a variety of different options. We recommend getting on the quieter Highway 1 (part of The Great River Road National Scenic Byway—a great road trip by itself), which runs along the Mississippi River’s “Great Wall.” There are lots of beautiful stops along the way, including the Trotter Landing ghost town. Stop for hot tamales at White Front Café in Rosedale.

As your trip approaches the end, don’t miss all the sites and entertainment in Vicksburg. The Vicksburg National Military Park and the Old Courthouse Museum are top attractions, but you’ll definitely want to stop to visit Margaret’s Grocery. It’s no longer a country market, but rather a sort of “voodoo” Christian cathedral, one of the most unique places of worship in the country.

End the trip in New Orleans and enjoy great live blues and everything the city has to offer. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  1. The Ozarks Road Trip

A View from the Ozarks - Best American Road Trips
Source: Unsplash

  • Start: Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Visit:
    • Devil’s Den State Park in West Fork, AR
    • Roaring River State Park in Cassville, MO
    • Mark Twain National Forest in Rolla, MO
    • Silver Dollar City in Branson, AR
    • Mystic Caverns in Harrison, AR
    • Buffalo National River near Harrison, AR
    • Cosmic Cavern in Barryville, AR
    • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Onyx Cave Park in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Great Passion Play (May through October) in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Ozark Cafe in Jaspers, AR
    • The Inn at Mountain View Bed and Breakfast
  • End: Rogers, AR

Start your trip in northwest Arkansas at the Fort Smith National Historic Site and visit the museum. Then follow a loop, up toward Eureka Springs, into Missouri, and then back down into Arkansas to Mountain View, Jasper, and on to Rogers, AR.

Take the Scenic Byway 7, a 300-mile-long north/south state highway for beautiful views of lakes, rivers, and mountains. Check out the other National Scenic Byways in Arkansas.

Whatever you’re looking for in a road trip—roadside attractions, outdoor adventure, a happy family—you’ll find in the Ozarks, which means “toward Arkansas.” The most mountainous region between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains, it’s known for scenic drives bathed in moonlight and is surrounded by deciduous trees and some of the nation’s most beautiful waterways.

Sometimes referred to as the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Mountain Country, it basically covers the entire northwestern and north central region of Arkansas and much of the southern half of Missouri.

Wind down the roadway during the fall foliage season and you’ll be witness to the spectacular display of shifting saffron and various shades of red, purple, black, pink, magenta, yellow, orange, and brown. Driving through the beauty of the Ozarks, replete with songbirds and deer, is a distinctly American experience not to be missed.

  1. The Borderlands, TX

Big Bend National Park Night Sky by Jesse Sewell
Source: Unsplash

  • Start: Fort Stockton
  • Visit:
    • Carlsbad Caverns
    • Davis Mountain
    • Museum of Big Bend in Alpine
    • Hotel Paisano in Marfa
    • Chinati Foundation in Marfa
    • The Food Shark in Marfa
    • Ghost town of Shafter
    • River Road
  • End: Big Bend National Park

You may recognize this area when you come to it. The landscape has been used as the backdrop for some big Hollywood movies like No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.

With spectacular canyons, mountain, and rivers, the Big Bend region seems to come from a different planet. The borderland is characterized by huge space-bending skies, rugged mountains, grassland, and large swaths of desert. It is often compared to African landscapes due to its terrain and wildlife.

The borderland trip starts in Fort Stockton, an old oil town, and progresses to Alpine, a gateway to Big Bend National Park, and through to the artsy and spiritual town of Marfa. From there ride through Paisano Pass and to the ghost town of Shafter. After that, cruise down the beautiful River Road (FM-170) to Study Butte. The overlooking views are some of the best this country has to offer.

The Big Bend region contains over one million acres of public land, including Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. End the trip in Big Bend National Park. If you are just driving through, be sure to take Basin Road into the Chisos mountain range. Replenish yourself at Gage Hotel in the tiny town of Marathon, one of the filming locations for Wim Wenders’ movie Paris, Texas.

  1. Highway 89 National Park Road Trip

Mountains in yellowstone National ParkHighway 89 Road Trip
Source: Unsplash

  • Start: Tumacacori National Historical Park, AZ
  • Visit:
    • Saguaro National Park, AZ
    • Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
    • Zion National Park, UT
    • Kolob Canyon Road, UT
    • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
    • Capital Reef National Park, UT
    • Arches National Park, UT
    • Canyonlands National Park, UT
    • Yellowstone National Park, WY, MO, ID
  • End: Yellowstone National Park, MO

U.S. Highway 89 passes through 5 states and 7 national parks, clearly making it the longest of all the road trips on the list. If you’re not in a rush, the entire trip is definitely worth. Don’t worry though, you can choose to do one state or a small portion.

If you do choose one state, however, make it Utah. The surreal, Martian landscape of canyons, hoodoos, alcoves, and arches make it unlike anywhere else on Earth. If you make it one park, go with Yellowstone National Park.

U.S. 89 starts in Flagstaff, Arizona and proceeds north, passing near the Grand Canyon National Park, the second of the seven national parks along the way. Once you hit Utah, be sure to spend some time in the Zion National Park and the Bryce Canyon National Park.

The highway proceeds into Idaho around Bear Lake. In Wyoming and Montana, you have Yellowstone National Park, which should be on everybody’s bucket list.

Click here for a collection of posts to help you plan your Highway 89 road trip.

The Best Road Trip (According to Science)

map of the best road trip according to science
Source: Google Maps

If you are looking for the most efficient route for visiting all of the nation’s best landmarks, some scientists (Randy Olson and Tracy Staedter) have generated the “perfect” map that does just that. It hits all 48 states in the contiguous U.S. and all the major U.S. landmarks, ideal for traveling by car.

How to Survive a Road Trip

America is a force of nature. You have to be prepared for nearly anything when you go on any of these road trips, especially if you have children. Precipitation, cold temperatures, and thick clouds are common at the top of mountains while dry weather and hot temperatures will meet you at some of the country’s lowest points. Dress in layers and make sure you have plenty of water and essential safety items in your car.

Most of all, have fun!


Don’t hesitate to ask our team members for their road trip tips! We love driving our cars as much as we do selling them.

If you want the perfect road trip vehicle, stop by one of our locations for a reliable Certified Pre-Owned car, truck, or SUV. We’ll set you up with the car of your dreams at a price you can afford.

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

Risks of Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller

risks of buying from a private seller

We’ve shared our tips for buying a used car, but we never discussed all of the risks involved with buying a used car from a private seller.

While it’s possible to get a great deal from a private seller, unfortunately it’s a rare event. As with many high-reward circumstances, it also involves a lot of risk.

Private Seller vs. Dealership

The first major decision you need to make when selecting and purchasing a new used vehicle is whether you will be buying from a private seller or a dealership. A private seller is an individual looking to sell their vehicle to another individual for the maximum value they could get. A dealership buys and sells hundreds or thousands of cars every year and must follow all state and federal rules and regulations.

While doing business with a dealer such as Auto Simple is the safest and easiest way to purchase a used car, buying from a private seller can save you money (if you’re lucky). But be aware of the potential risks before you invest the time and energy into buying from a private seller.

Private Seller Risks

Although there are some good advantages, such as potentially better deals, there are many reasons why you might want to avoid private sellers entirely.

  • Lack of Consumer Protection  The state and federal laws and regulations that apply to dealerships aren’t applicable when buying from a private seller. When you buy a car from a private seller, you are buying it “as is,” which means that any problems with the car are now your problems. Private sellers aren’t covered by the FTC’s Used Car Rule, which means they don’t have to post a Buyers Guide the way dealers do. You also won’t get any warranties on the vehicle, unless the manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect and you successfully transfer ownership. This is something to consider, since you will have to contact the appropriate division of the manufacturing company to update their records.
  • More Footwork  As the old proverb goes, “Time is money.” Consider all of the time you will spend on Craigslist and other websites, researching the cars, contacting the owners, ordering vehicle reports, discussing meeting times, finding transportation, scheduling inspections, and transferring all of the paperwork. Unless you get really lucky, you will find this process extremely frustrating and time-consuming.
  • More Paperwork  Both you and the seller are responsible for all the paperwork. This means transferring the title and/or bill of sale, registration, and any related fees and taxes. Often, you will need to make the trip to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). And we all know how fun that can be.
  • Vehicle History Reports and Inspections  Many times, a private seller will not have a vehicle history report to show you and might refuse to pay for one. This means you will have to spend the money to get a vehicle history report on CARFAX or a similar website by looking up the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Even if they have a CARFAX or similar report, it’s highly recommended that you conduct your own vehicle inspection, which will set you back around $100.
  • Worse Negotiations  Sometimes negotiations are easier, sometimes they’re harder. It really depends on who you are working with. Be aware of dealers who pose as private sellers and use suspect tactics to close the deal. This happens a lot on Craigslist. Never trust a dealer disguising themselves as a private seller. They are obviously trying to deceive you, regardless of if they have good or bad intentions. If you have any strange suspicions, it’s best to walk away before you get in too deep.

Finally, beware of cars that are being sold for an extremely low price. As the saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” Sometimes the car being offered is a lemon or a fraud. There may be things that are wrong with the car and the owner just wants to get rid of it.

How to Buy a Used Car from a Private Seller

If you do decide to buy from a private seller, keep in mind all of the extra work involved. Since private sellers are not subject to the same strict laws and regulations that dealerships are, the risk of fraudulent practices significantly rises.

Here are some things you should do to ensure you’re dealing with a trustworthy seller:

  • Right off the bat, ask them if they are the owner. You want to get this out of the way and the best way to do so is by asking. Ask a little bit about their time with the car, how long they’ve owned the vehicle, where they purchased it from, etc. This is where you should be able to catch any tell-tale signs, such as “selling for a friend” or “just bought it recently.”
  • Ask the owner about vehicle history. Don’t be afraid to call and ask about the car. If they are car flipping, they probably won’t have maintenance records. If they say they have no records, ask them where they get their maintenance and repairs done and then call the business and ask for them. Here, you will also be able to tell if the name of the person you are speaking with matches the name on the records. If they don’t know details about the car off the top of their head, you may be dealing with a disguised trader.
  • Look up the phone number of the person you are speaking with. If the number comes back as a pay-as-you-go phone or in relation to other vehicle sales, walk away.
  • Double-check the address. Be wary of anyone wishing to meet in a place other than their home. You want to make sure that the seller’s address matches the address on the car title and registration. If they have a reason for not meeting at home, consider driving by to make sure it is a real address.
  • Test-drive the car on the street and highway. You will want to heighten you senses while test-driving the car. Pay close attention to any sounds, sights, smells, or feelings you have while driving, turning, and braking on both street and highway. Test all of the electrical controls: windows, radio, locking system, etc. Make sure all of the lights work and that the vehicle drives and brakes straight. This should only take about ten or fifteen minutes.
  • Get a car inspection. It is always a good idea to have the car inspected when buying from a private seller. It will cost around $100 for an inspection from an ASE-certified mechanic, but will save you from buying a potential lemon.
  • If you have suspicions, walk away. You are under no obligation to buy the car. Ask a lot of questions. Use your gut instincts and listen when they are telling you that something is fishy. If you’ve been lied to once, you’ll probably get lied to again. If you don’t build trust, both with dealers and personal sellers, you may be in for a rude surprise.

If you are buying from a private seller, make sure the title and registration has been successfully transferred before handing over the money. It’s also a good idea to check if there are any past-due registration fees.

Phew, that’s a lot isn’t it? If you don’t have the time, energy, or personality for the private car buying process, we don’t blame you. Buying and selling at a dealership is A LOT easier and more secure.

Shop our online inventory and schedule a test drive on our private track. After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. It’s that easy.

In fact, you can leave the Auto Simple lot with a new pre-owned vehicle for as low as $500 down!


Auto Simple wants you to find a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

Vehicle Tax Deductions | How to Write Off Car and Truck Expenses

Vehicle Tax Deductions | Write Off Car and Truck Expenses

Disclaimer: We are not tax return preparers, accountants, or lawyers. Please speak with a professional before you attempt any tax changes.

Tax season—makes you feel like an adult, doesn’t it? Whether you’re doing your taxes for the first time or the fiftieth, a common question that always pops up is “Can I write off my vehicle or its operating costs as an expense? 

The short answer is that you cannot deduct the full cost of the vehicle unless it is exclusively used for business; however, you can and should deduct where you can.

While the IRS does allow writing off vehicle expenses, they are pretty strict about it. If you drive your vehicle for work purposes and intend on writing off those business miles, keep a detailed log of all expenses, including parking, tolls, gas, car washes, repairs, and maintenance.

We recommend purchasing a vehicle expense log at your office supply store or online and keeping it in your car. Unfortunately, you cannot deduct commuting costs. Taking public transportation or driving a vehicle to and from your workplace is never deductible. If, however, you have a business-related trip to another location, you can deduct the cost of travel (IRS).

You might qualify for one or more of these options for personal, business or self-employed deductions:

1. Vehicle Donation

If you donate your used car, truck, boat, or anything else for that matter, you may be eligible for a deduction. Make sure you donate to a “qualified organization.” Click here for a listed of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Learn the rules for vehicle donations here.

If you’d prefer quick cash, consider selling your car to Auto Simple.

2. Medical Purposes

If you use your vehicle for medical purposes, such as transporting yourself or one of your dependents to and from a medical facility, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. The IRS allows deductions for medical care, including gas, public transportation fare, and parking fees.

Keep in mind that you cannot deduct medical expenses if you are already being reimbursed by your insurance provider or employer.

3. Moving or Relocating

You will want to check the details, but if you are relocating or moving to a new city seeking work, you may be eligible for tax deductions, including parking and shipping, travel, and lodging costs. This would all fall under your “moving expense deduction.” Keep in mind that you have to relocate at least 50 miles to your new work location to qualify.

4. Business Use

If you are self-employed, you can deduct nearly any cost for business use, even if your car doubles as your personal vehicle. Just make sure you are separating business trips from personal ones.

In order to claim a deduction, the costs must be related to one or more of the following:

  • Traveling from one work location to another within the taxpayer’s tax home area. (Generally, the tax home is the entire city or general area where the taxpayer’s main place of business is located, regardless of where he or she resides.)
  • Visiting customers.
  • Attending a business meeting away from the regular workplace.
  • Getting from home to a temporary workplace when the taxpayer has one or more regular places of work. (These temporary workplaces can be either within or outside taxpayer’s tax home area.)

Source: irs.gov

Keep in mind that travel from your home to your regular place of work “are commuting expenses and are not deductible” (IRS).

When deducting vehicle-related expenses, you can either choose standard mileage rate or actual expenses.

If you run a small business and have one or more vehicles that are used exclusively for business use, you can deduct them as part of your operating expenses. Make sure you keep careful track of all your repair and maintenance records.

Should I use standard mileage rate or the actual expenses incurred for a vehicle?

You have the choice to use the standard mileage rate or the actual incurred costs for a vehicle that is owned or leased. Usually, if you have a more energy-efficient and reliable car, the standard mileage rate will yield better results. If you expect the operating costs to be pretty high (maintenance, tires, repairs, etc.), you’ll be better off using the actual cost method. More expensive cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans may want to choose the actual expense method. Keep in mind, however, that the standard mileage rate method is the simpler process.

Standard mileage rate takes the place of actual expenses. You cannot choose the standard mileage rate (around 44.5 cents per mile) and then also deduct expenses such as depreciation, maintenance, gas, and repairs. Business-related parking and toll fees, however, can be deducted in addition to standard mileage rate.

You cannot use the standard mileage rate if:

  • You use the car for hire (such as a taxi)
  • You use five or more cars at the same time (such as a fleet operation)
  • You claim depreciation or a section 179 deduction
  • You are a rural mail carrier who receives a qualified reimbursement

Source: irs.gov

If you choose the actual expense method, you will need to keep detailed records or any business-related expenses, such as:

  • Depreciation
  • Lease payments
  • Registration fees
  • Licenses
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Repairs
  • Oil
  • Garage rent
  • Tires
  • Tolls
  • Parking fees

Source: irs.gov

Whichever method you choose, you will need to allocate your expenses based on personal and business use (if business use is less than 100%). 

What records are required?

The types of records required by the IRS depend on if you choose the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. For both, you should have a daily log of miles traveled, destination, and purpose (business or personal).

If you choose actual expenses, you should also retain all records, receipts, invoices, and any other documentation showing which expenses were incurred. For the depreciation section, you will need to know the original cost, plus any improvements, and documentation showing the date of service.

Is driving to and from my workplace considered a business expense? 

Commuting back and forth from your home to your workplace is not considered business-related. It is commuting and cannot be deducted on either your business or individual tax returns.

Additionally, any toll or parking expenses related to commuting are personal expenses that cannot be deducted.

Can I deduct travel expenses on business trips?

Although you may not deduct any commuting costs, you can deduct business travel costs when traveling for your job, including meals, lodging, and travel.

According to irs.gov:

“You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.”

What is a vehicle expense? 

If you use your car for business, you can deduct interest on auto loans, registration fees, repairs, parking fares, and tolls.

Here are some common vehicle expenses:

  • Gas
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Tires
  • Registration fees and taxes
  • Vehicle loan interest
  • Insurance
  • Lease payments
  • Depreciation
  • Parking and space rental fees
  • Tolls

If you drive a vehicle for your job, your employer normally reimburses any vehicle-related expenses. The employer writes off the vehicle expenses. That means you cannot deduct any vehicular expenses.

However, if you pay out of pocket for vehicle and travel expenses on behalf of your employer, you can claim an unreimbursed employee business expense deduction as a miscellaneous itemized deduction.

Can I deduct interest on car loans?

According to the IRS:

“If you are an employee, you can’t deduct any interest paid on a car loan. This applies even if you use the car 100% for business as an employee. However, if you are self-employed and use your car in your business, you can deduct that part of the interest expense that represents your business use of the car. For example, if you use your car 60% for business, you can deduct 60% of the interest on Schedule C (Form 1040). You can’t deduct the part of the interest expense that represents your personal use of the car.”

TL;DR

  • Vehicle use for business purposes is a legitimate deductible expense that should be claimed.
  • Always maintain detailed records (keep a vehicle expense log).
  • Use the standard mileage rate if you don’t anticipate many vehicle expenses.
  • Speak with professional tax preparer.

If you’re selling, purchasing, or trading in your next vehicle for business purposes, speak with a professional at Auto Simple to help you deduct all the related car expenses.

Tax Refund

Sometimes, you find out that you are paying the IRS more than you owe. If that’s the case, the IRS now owes you. This is called a tax refund and you determine the amount when you fill out your tax return.

Are you getting a big refund this year? Simply bring your estimated tax refund in to Auto Simple and we may defer your down payment. Our tax refund special makes it easy for you to Sign and Drive!


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

Pros and Cons of “Buy Here Pay Here” Dealerships

If you are in the market for a certified pre-owned vehicle, check out our Used Car Buyer’s Guide first. After setting your budget and deciding whether to buy from a private seller or a dealership, the next step is deciding what kind of dealership to buy from.

What Are “Buy Here Pay Here” Car Lots?

Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) car lots distinguish themselves from other used car lots because BHPH dealerships offer on-site financing.

If you have bad credit, no credit, or in bankruptcy, you may find BHPH dealerships to be your best option. Even if you have good credit or don’t need financing, BHPH dealerships offer great deals on certified pre-owned vehicles.

While “buy here pay here” financing may be your only way to obtain a vehicle of your own, make sure you do your due diligence and make an educated decision beforehand (See: How to Buy a Used Car on Bad Credit).

Buy Here Pay Here lots have to abide by stricter laws since they are also effectively a finance company. Any BHPH lot that does not follow state and federal rules and regulations will not be in business for very long.

For example, all BHPH dealerships will have to follow the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), which requires the dealer/financier to disclose the final cash price, the amount financed, in addition to other necessary information for the consumer to shop and compare.

Other laws and regulations include the Fair & Accurate Credit Transaction Act, State Usury laws, and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Buy Here Pay Here Pros

In-House Financing

The first obvious advantage of BHPH dealerships is the ability to purchase and set up loan payments at the same place. Instead of getting an auto loan from a bank or another third party, you’ll be able to get everything done at the dealership.

Your payment plan will either be weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly. Get an idea of what your monthly payment will be using our Auto Loan Calculator.

Often, your BHPH dealer will be able to match up your pay dates with your job to make it as easy as possible to make payments on time and build up your credit score.

If you have no credit, bad credit, or are in post-bankruptcy, getting loan approval can be difficult. While annual percentage rates may depend on your credit score, Auto Simple accepts all credit situations including bad credit and no credit. This can be a great way to build up your credit at the same time.

Don’t believe people who say you’ll be paying 30% interest or the maximum allowed by law. Many BHPH lots offer interest rates in the range of 15% to 20%. Auto Simple offers interest rates as low as 14.9% to qualified buyers.*

Get pre-approved for financing by completing our secure online credit application.

Transaction specifics will be unique to you so make sure you review all the paperwork and finance information before you sign anything.

48-Hour Return Policy

When you buy from a private seller, you give up the chance to return the vehicle if you aren’t satisfied (along with a host of other buyer securities). When you buy a car from a BHPH car lot on the other hand, you are given a short return period to drive and test your purchase.

At Auto Simple, and at many other BHPH lots, a full 48-hour return period comes with every vehicle purchase. Make sure you go over this information with your dealer before signing any papers. No-Return policies raise red flags.

48 hours should give you enough time to drive your new vehicle through a variety of road conditions and even compare it with other cars and deals. There is absolutely no obligation to accept the offer if you are within the 48-hour timeframe.

Trade-In Deals (Buy Here Sell Here)

Trading in a used car is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone. If you are looking to trade in an older vehicle for a newer one, Auto Simple offers top dollar for pre-owned cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. Our appraisals are good for 7 days.*

By selling (or trading in) your old car at a BHPH dealership, you can save a lot of time and money. We don’t know about other BHPH lots, but at Auto Simple, we make it extremely easy (See: How to Sell a Used Car to a Dealership).

Just fill out this form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.*

Curious to know how much money you can save by trading in your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle? Calculate your fuel savings with our Gas Savings Calculator.

Free CarFax Report

Another advantage of going with a BHPH dealership is access to free CarFax reports on all vehicles.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles and Thorough Inspections

certified pre-owned car is one that has undergone a full inspection and any necessary repairs as specified by the automaker. CPO vehicles are often in “like-new” condition. They may cost more, but often come with additional warranties and roadside assistance (like our 6 Month/6000 Mile Powertrain Warranty), one of the main reasons why it’s a smart idea to buy from a BHPH dealership.

While we can’t speak for other dealerships, the in-house mechanics at Auto Simple put every single vehicle through a 180-point quality inspection. This is the largest inspection any of our mechanics have ever been exposed to. We make sure to fix everything from gaskets to transmissions and everything in between.

We are able to inspect, fix, and test all of the cars on our lot because we have all of our services on-site. We control the quality levels and meticulously recondition the vehicles to ensure we meet, and hopefully exceed, all of your expectations.

Warranties

Most used car dealerships offer warranties on used cars, such as Auto Simple‘s 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on All Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. This comes in addition to any original manufacturer warranties.

Call and ask about warranty information beforehand and make sure you get everything in writing.

Quick and Easy Process

All BHPH vehicles are normally in a database that is connected to the DMV for fast and smooth transactions. BHPH dealers may also be able to work with you to clear any existing loans you may have taken out (this depends on location, lender, and other factors).

Auto Simple makes the car buying process easy. You can get started without even leaving your couch:

  1. Get Pre-Approved Online
  2. Search Online Inventory
  3. We Help You Find the Right Vehicle
  4. Drive It Using Our Private Track for Test Driving
  5. Buy with Confidence (See: Customer Confidence Program)

Although you may have to sign on a dotted line or two, all the paperwork is typically handled by the dealership. Most of our customers are able to drive away in their dream car the very same day.

Buy Here Pay Here Cons

Limited Inventory

Although BHPH lots carry a lot different makes and models, you are restricted to what they have available in their inventory. Shop online inventories and call the location before making the trip.

Higher Interest Rates

If you have good or excellent credit, a different lender will probably provide a lower interest rate than a BHPH financier.

But despite the unreasonably high interest rates you may have heard about BHPH lots, Auto Simple offers interest rates as low as 14.9% to qualified buyers.* Get pre-approved online and contact our financing department for more information.

Wherever you get your loan, make sure you take the information home and carefully look it over before you sign anything. Remember, this contract will potentially stay in effect for years. This isn’t an iTunes update—you want to make sure you know the exact terms and agreements.

We also recommend looking up the dealership online with the Better Business Bureau and any local consumer affairs offices. Check how long they have been in business and online testimonials. Basically, just do your research and you’ll have no problem finding a great car at an affordable price.

Hidden Fees

Not all dealerships are as upfront with you about the total costs involved in your transaction. Don’t assume they will tell you. Look over all of the paperwork carefully and check for:

  • administration and handling fees
  • the price matches the price you agreed to
  • inspection or detailing fees
  • delivery fees

Make sure you know what your payments will be be, how much the interest is, and when the payments end.

Additionally, your BHPH dealership may not report your payment history to the Credit Bureaus.

While most dealers will automatically submit your payment information to credit agencies (like Auto Simple), don’t assume this is being done. Ask the dealership what their policy is on credit reporting so you can start rebuilding your credit.

Conclusion:

Buy Here Pay Here dealerships offer a wide selection of certified pre-owned vehicles and specialize in providing auto loans to people with negative credit. If you need a quality vehicle and need to build up your credit, you can kill two birds with one stone at a BHPH dealership.

Individual perks, however, vary from dealership to dealership. Make sure you do your homework first. Below you will find some of our competitive offerings.

Auto Simple PERKS

Most of the “buy here pay here” advantages listed above can be found at any BHPH dealership. There are, however, many benefits we offer on top of the aforementioned “pros.” If you do end up choosing to buy or sell a used vehicle at a Buy Here Pay Here dealership, we hope you choose one of our locations in Tennessee or our brand-new lot in Dalton, VA.

Here are some of the specific perks we offer to all of our customers:

  • Free CarFax for All Vehicles
  • 6 Month / 6000 Mile Powertrain Warranty
  • Low Down Payments
  • Large Inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
  • Thorough 180-Point Quality Inspection
  • Preferred Customer Program
  • Meticulously Reconditioned Vehicles
  • Hassle-Free Financing
  • FREE Conventional Oil Changes Every 90 Days*
  • Short-Term Financing
  • Low-Mileage Vehicles
  • Fast Credit Approval
  • Weekly, Bi-weekly, and Monthly Payments

We take great pride in taking control over the entire buying, selling, inspection, and testing process. All of our vehicles go through a rigorous 180-point quality inspection.

We offer affordable prices and low down payments. Many of our customers drive away in their dream car for as low as $499 down.

Free Oil Changes

Simply sign up for recurring payments from your checking account and get FREE oil changes every 90 days for as long as you are paying off your loan.*

$200 Referral Program

When you refer a friend who purchases a vehicle from Auto Simple, you will earn a $200 credit on your account.

Tax Refund Special

If you bring in your estimated tax refund, you can sign and drive away with your new car and we may defer your down payment.

Our tax refund special makes it easy for you to Sign & Drive. Stop on by one of our locations and say “Hi.” Read our testimonials to get an idea of how we treat our customers.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (423) 775-4600

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining used cars: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

How to Sell a Used Car to a Dealership

how to sell used car vehicle to dealership - auto simple

Moving to a new city? Need some extra cash? Looking to upgrade your vehicle? Whatever your circumstance, selling a used car is not as simple as it looks. It takes time, energy, and usually, money. Decisions need to be made and steps taken.

Luckily, you can make the process a lot simpler if you decide to sell to a dealership. You won’t have to research the market, set prices, advertise, or spend time showing the car and dealing with all the back and forth involved with a private buyer.

Time is money. If you value your time, then you’ll agree that selling to a dealership is a lot simpler and overall, cheaper than selling to a private buyer. And, if you are looking to buy a new car, you cannot beat the convenience and affordability of trade-in values at dealerships. Whether you are selling your car for cold hard cash or are looking for a trade-in deal, speak with us first.*

While some factors may be out of your control (location, market, etc.), these steps and techniques for selling your car will increase your odds of success.

Steps for selling your vehicle to a private buyer:

  1. Determine the vehicle’s worth

Use multiple resources such as Kelley Blue Book, NADA Guides, and Autotrader. If you have a junk car, you may be better off donating it.

  1. Gather the paperwork

This includes the title, maintenance records, bill of sale, release of liability, warranty documents, and as-is documentation.

  1. Get the car ready

Clean the car inside and out. Shine the exterior, vacuum the interior, replace any damaged floor mats, and clean rims and tires. Or, go with a professional car detailer.

  1. Take pictures

You should have high-quality images from multiple angles for your advertisement. This includes, all sides of the exterior, front and back seat, trunk, dashboard, carpets, wheels, and engine.

  1. Find a place to advertise

There are many options available to you, some better than others. You’ll want to compare among the following advertising methods: social media, “for sale” window signs, newspapers and other print media, craigslist, eBay, cars.com, autotrader.com, Kelley Blue Book, and Beepi.

  1. Create an ad

Creating a good ad that will get a response takes some time and effort. You want to come across as a trustworthy person who has taken care of their car. At the absolute minimum, you’ll want to make sure that you include the price, mileage, modifications, VIN number, and the number of owners.

  1. Screen potential buyers

This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process. You can help eliminate the number of false leads by choosing carefully where and how you are advertising your vehicle. Regardless of where the potential buyer comes from, you’ll want to verify their full name, clarify acceptable forms of payment, only accept full payment, and determine if the buyer is in the area.

  1. Give your sales pitch

You’ll have to bring out your inner salesperson to pitch your car to prospective buyers.

  1. Negotiate the sale price

If you are set on the price, stand firm. Most private car buyers, however, are expecting to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to counter-offer to get a price you both agree on. Write down your lowest acceptable price and never go lower than that.

  1. Finalize the sale

You’ll need to do a couple of things before you can successfully transfer ownership to another person. The sale isn’t complete until you complete a title transfer. You may also need a bill of sale, depending on what state you are in. After payment is accepted and the bill of sale completed, you need to sign over the title, fill out a Release of Liability (if required), provide warranty documents (if applicable), maintenance records, and any additional paperwork your state may require.

Don’t forget to hand over the keys and remove your vehicle from your insurance policy.

– steps via DMV.org

How to Sell Your Vehicle to a Dealership

In contrast, here are the steps for selling your car to a dealership:

  1. Bring your car, truck, or SUV into one of our locations (Chattanooga, Dalton, Cleveland, or Dayton)

  2. We’ll give you a free appraisal

  3. Sell us your car

We don’t know about other dealerships, but at Auto Simple, we make it as easy as 1-2-3. Yes, it’s that easy. You’ll avoid all the hassle of paperwork, dealing with multiple buyers, and waiting for payment.

What Is My Vehicle Worth?

If you want an estimated appraisal before you bring in your vehicle, we do that too! Simply fill out this form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.

Even though selling your car at Auto Simple saves you a lot of inconvenience and annoyance, you still want to get a good deal. Here are some insider secrets to get top-dollar for your vehicle:

  1. Bring in your vehicle

While it may seem obvious not to bring in a filthy vehicle that still has last week’s fast food in the back, other things are not so self-evident. Before you get your used car, truck or SUV appraised, take the time to go through these steps:

Clean the car inside and out.

Read this WikiHow article for tips on detailing your car before bringing it in for sale. Sometimes, however, the job is too big for one car owner. In this case, it may be best to take your car into a professional detailer. It may cost you around $100, but you’ll almost definitely make this money back. Besides the beautiful result of professional detailing, you’ll also send a message that you’ve been taking good care of your vehicle.

Here are some quick tips for cleaning your vehicle before sale:

  • Take everything out of the vehicle.
  • Clean the inside and outside.
  • Top off fluids (oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc.)
  • Get rid of the smell (use this WikiHow article)

Take vehicle into a mechanic.

You will want to find out what’s wrong with your car before the dealership does. Make sure your inspection is thorough. Typically, a thorough inspection will cost around $100. If it’s less than $75, it’s probably not good enough.

By inspecting the car first, you’ll have some extra documentation and be able to disclose the findings. This builds trust and confidence. Additionally, you’ll have a second opinion to compare against the mechanic who does the inspection for the buyer.

Bring in all the documentation you can.

Gather copies of all of your vehicle’s maintenance records. If you don’t have them, you may be able to call your local mechanic for copies (usually for a fee).

Determine a price.

There are several ways to get a suggested sales price for your car. We recommend checking out Kelly Blue Book and some private-party sales of cars that are the same make and model as yours. Set a reasonable sale price, but be prepared to lower it a bit and you’ll be happy with the end result.

  1. We’ll give you a free appraisal

After you have prepped your vehicle for sale, bring it into one of our dealerships. We have mechanics and appraisers on the spot so you can get your quote the very same day.* The offer will be valid for 7 days.

Bring documentation and paperwork.

Don’t forget to bring the following:

  • Your vehicle’s title (or payoff information)
  • Valid and current vehicle registration (verifies you are the owner)
  • Government issued photo ID
  • All keys and remotes (if damaged or missing, your offer may be adjusted)
  • Maintenance records (recommended but not required)

how to sell your car to a dealership - buy here pay here usa

Feel free to download our checklist before you arrive.

If for any reason you don’t have your title or the titleholder is unable to make it, give us a call before you arrive: 1-877-794-ACAR

  1. Sell us your car

If you like our offer, you can sell us your car and get paid on the spot.* It’s that easy! There’s no pressure or obligation. If you want to sell your car easy and fast, Auto Simple is your simplest and best choice.

Buy Here Sell Here—We Buy Cars! 

*Contact us for further details.


Auto Simple wants to make your car sale as easy and painless as possible. Fill out our online vehicle appraisal form and give us a call for more information on selling your car

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

9 Best Pre-Owned Cars for 2017

Best Used Cars for 2017

It’s 2017 and you’re ready to make a new start! Whether that means you’ve added a new member to the family or it’s your first set of wheels, driving away in a new certified pre-owned vehicle is an exciting experience.

The research process, however, can get dull and frustrating. We’ve made it easy by picking out the best bang-for-buck cars to kick off the New Year. Simply choose from this list, set a budget, contact Auto Simple and take any of these cars out for a test drive on our closed track.

9 Best Used Cars for 2017

If you want to skip the time-consuming process of hunting through bad car deals, here are 9 solid vehicles that will meet your budget and reliability requirements for the New Year and beyond.

  1. Chevrolet Malibu

Dark blue Chevrolet Malibu LTZ - best pre-owned car

If you’re looking for a stylish, economical, and reliable family sedan, the Chevrolet Malibu should be high on your list. You can spend a little bit more for the higher-end LTZ model or spend a little less for the base LS and LT models. Whichever model you choose, you’ll get a great, balanced driving experience with an attractive interior.

If you are looking for a versatile and affordable truck, consider the Chevrolet Colorado Work Truck.

  1. Honda Civic

2010 Honda Civic Sdn EX - best pre-owned car

First introduced in 1972, the Honda Civic has gone through many generational changes over the years, but is still known for being one of the most fuel-efficient, reliable, and economical cars on the road. You can’t really go wrong when you purchase a used Civic.

The Honda Civic makes it to the #1 spot on so many car lists because of its reliability, fuel economy, and high-quality interior. While some modern features may be missing, a used Civic is a great choice for anyone in the market.

  1. Toyota Camry

Silver 2011 Toyota Camry SE - best pre-owned car

The Camry is one of those no-brainer choices when it comes to buying a reliable used car. With lots of space, crisp handling, and good fuel economy, the Camry makes the car buying experience easy.

The LE at the end stands for Luxury Edition and the SE stands for Sports Edition. These two models are similar, but there are some differences. In general, the added LE or SE label adds luxury add-ons such as sportier designs, nicer interiors, improved handling, and more electronics.

  1. Toyota Corolla

white Toyota Corolla CE - best pre-owned car

While some may complain of its boring interior uninspiring driving experience, the Toyota Corolla gets great safety, comfort, and performance scores. “Boring” means you’ll have plenty of visibility and room, including easy to use climate and audio controls.

If you like the Corolla but want a different driving experience, try out the Ford Focus or Mazda6.

  1. Mazda3 and Mazda6

Silver 2012 Mazda 6 i Touring - best pre-owned vehicles

The Mazda3 is a small car with a quality interior and sporty handing. You’ll love the controls as you wind down hills and feel spoiled in an interior that seems too luxurious for its class. With an engine that is both powerful and economical, this car is the complete package for anyone wanting a smooth ride. For those worried about a lot of leg room in the back, you may want to look elsewhere.

The Mazda6 is a midsize car with some added vroom. With quick and powerful handling, the Mazda6 is a fun car to drive, no question. While it may not be the most fuel efficient car on the list, its attractive interior and exterior make you forget all about it. Both the Mazda3 and Mazda6 are fun, attractive, and comfortable cars that make them feel ritzy for the price.

  1. Ford Focus

White 2014 Ford Focus SE - best pre-owned car

This compact 4-door family car with front-engine, front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is the world’s best-selling automobile. In fact, as of 2012, the Focus has outsold the ubiquitous Toyota Corolla globally. While reliability and safety scores are comparable to the Camry and Corolla, some drivers prefer the handling and interior of the Focus.

Highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, the Focus comes in many body styles and luxury options. Impressive fuel economy, handling, and workmanship distinguish itself from other cars in its class.

  1. Kia Soul

Green 2010 Kia Soul - best pre-owned car

The Kia Soul definitely has attitude, and space. This small crossover car, something between a car and an SUV, is perfect for someone needing a lot of space. If you can’t afford the fancier SUVs and can do without 4-wheel drive, the Kia Soul is a safe and comfortable option with plenty of cargo space.

  1. Pontiac Vibe

Red 2009 Pontiac Vibe - best pre-owned car

A small hatchback with a sporty look and high safety ratings? It’s hard to beat. This is a low-mileage, sturdy vehicle with plenty of cargo space. The vibe was redesigned in 2009 and any models during this year are considered second generation. They boast computerized traction-control and anti-lock brakes, features The Vibe’s previous model did not have.

We have several other Pontiac vehicles, including the Solstice and G5.

  1. Scion xB and Scion xD

white 2008 Scion xB - best pre-owned vehicle

A five-door hatchback subcompact has a fun and unique appearance. Remarked upon for its safety features, distinctiveness, and reasonable price tag, the Scion xB and xD both deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

They consistently get 5-star safety ratings. No surprise as they have anti-lock brakes, brake assist, traction control, and up to six airbags. And as of 2010, they come with vehicle stability control and an updated exterior that is utilitarian yet modern.

For more tips on car buying, read our Used Car Buyer’s Guide and How to Buy a Used Car On Bad Credit.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Read our Car Winterization, New Year’s Resolutions for the Car, and Winter Driving Tips to prevent winter accidents and inconveniences.

Is there a car you’d like to see on the list? Let us know on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. 


We control the quality of our cars and have our own test track to put the car through all driving conditions. See why our Customer Confidence Program is one of the best in the nation.

We carry a large selection of Hand-Picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty. Stop by any of our locations today:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

How to Buy a Used Car on Bad Credit

buying a used car on bad credit - buy here pay here

If you have no, low, or bad credit (any credit score below 600) and want to buy a used car, you’ve come to the right place. Although many incentives, such as “no down payment,” low interest rates, and loan terms are based on credit score, it’s still possible to find great deals on used cars.

How to Buy a Used Car on Bad Credit 

This guide will help you understand your car financing options when you have no credit or bad credit:

1. Know Your Credit Rating

Your credit score is determined by the Fair Isaac Corporation, better known as FICO. FICO gathers information from three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. This information is then weighted to form a profile of an individual’s credit risk. The most weight is given to payment history, constituting around 1/3 of your total score, followed by accounts owed (around 30%).

According to Investopedia, “FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Traditionally, borrowers with scores at or below 579 have bad credit.”

While FICO does not decide what constitutes a “bad” credit score, you can generally assume the following:

  • Excellent Credit: 750+
  • Good Credit: 700-749
  • Fair Credit: 650-699
  • Poor Credit: 600-649
  • Bad Credit: below 600

Source: credit.com

The score is only “bad” or “good” depending on how the lender views it. It’s “bad” because it can keep you from certain perks, such as low interest rates and deals on insurance.

It’s a good idea to know your credit rating before you enter any car negotiations. After reviewing your credit report, you may find an error. You’ll want this error corrected before looking into financing options.

Get pre-approved for financing by completing our secure online credit application.

Does bad credit affect my car financing? 

In general, the lower your credit rating, the worse your interest rate will be. If you have a high credit rating, you may be eligible for lower interest rates.

2. Buy a Car You Can Afford

You may have bad credit because of unrealistic expectations in the past. Be realistic and only look at cars you can afford. Take into consideration fuel, maintenance, insurance, cleaning and parking costs as well.

Follow these car financing tips and you should be able to make all your car payments without a problem:

  • Plan on spending around 10-20% of your total monthly budget on automotive expenses. Even if you are not financing your vehicle, budgeting around 20% of your annual income on a vehicle will make sure you have enough to spend on maintenance and repairs throughout the year.
  • Warranties will cover major repairs, but routine maintenance is often not included.
  • Budget around 5-12% of the total purchase price for car insurance.
  • When making your budget, take into consideration sales tax, title and registration fees, and any other add-on expenses.
  • Make as large a down payment as you can. You will be paying principle plus interest on your monthly payments. The larger your down payment, the lower your monthly payment.
  • Consider trading in your old vehicle for a better deal (See: What Is My Vehicle Worth? and Used Car Buyer’s Guide).
  • If you have debt that you are paying off, then you want to follow the 28/36 rule. This rule finds it best to spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses and no more than 36% on total debts, including student, housing, and car loans (Investopedia). So, take all of your current debt payments, add them up, and then subtract that number from 36% of your monthly income. The amount left will give you a general idea of what you can afford per month on car payments.
  • Use a car affordability calculator or contact your local Auto Simple representative. If you are trading in your vehicle, get a quote from us so you can subtract the trade-in value from the estimated car budget.
  • You can save a lot of money by choosing a fuel efficient car. Calculate your fuel savings here.

We recommend building up your credit using a secured card, which collects a down payment as collateral against defaulting on payments. This allows you to build up your credit when you have no or low credit, and eliminates the risk of getting into significant debt. Just make sure you make payments on time and use your card responsibly.

Use Our Car Loan Calculator (Based on Good, Average, and Bad or No Credit)

We specialize in bad credit and no credit financing, always working to find the best financing package to fit your needs and budget. We want to make sure that you drive away in a car that you can afford. That’s why we have a useful car loan calculator so you can plan your monthly payments ahead of time.

3. Do Your Research

Once you have determined your used car budget, you’ll want to find cars that fall within that price range. Don’t be tempted by add-ons and other cars just to “have a look.” Restrict your search to only vehicles you can afford.

If a used luxury vehicle seems to be within your price range, consider all of the extra expenses for repairs and maintenance. These luxury vehicles may seem nice, but they have usually have higher rates of breakdowns, thefts, and repairs and maintenance tend to be a lot more expensive.

Also, consider the reasons for getting a new car. If you need space for a growing family, don’t look at small sedans. If you need a car that won’t cost a lot to maintain, look for cars that are known for the reliability, such as Hondas and Toyotas. 

4. Shop the Inventory

After researching the kind of car you want, search the dealership’s online inventory before making the trip. You want to make sure they have the make and model car you want.

If you want to trade-in or finance, research the options available to youBefore you enter the used car lot, get pre-approved.

5. Look for Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

certified pre-owned car is one that has undergone a full inspection and any necessary repairs as specified by the automaker. If you have a low credit score, you can’t afford to take risks with private sellers and uncertified pre-owned vehicles. Although CPO cars tend to cost a bit more, the added inspections and peace of mind will make sure that you are not buying a lemon.

Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a respected dealership such as Auto Simple, will ensure that you get consumer protection, warranties, trade-in savings, financing options, no paperwork, and easier negotiations.

Additionally, look for newer used cars as they tend to have better financing. If you can gather the cash necessary for a full purchase, however, you may get a better deal an older used vehicle.

6. Inspect the Vehicle

Ask for a vehicle repair and maintenance history report. Insist on a vehicle inspection report and certification checklist if it has been inspected.

Find the car you want and test drive it. After confirming that the vehicle is in stock, schedule a test drive. Don’t just show up and expect the car and dealer to be waiting for you. Call ahead of time and make an appointment to test drive the car.

Auto Simple has its own private test track with a variety of driving conditions so you can inspect the car’s handling. Don’t forget to test all of the electronic controls.

Learn more car buying and test driving tips with our Used Car Buyer’s Guide.

7. Only Apply for Loan if You Are Ready to Purchase

Although this isn’t always the case, opening up multiple credit inquiries within a short period of time can negatively impact your credit score. Be careful that you aren’t opening up multiple lines of credit within a short time span and this shouldn’t affect your credit score too much. Credit inquiries play a minor role in assessing credit risk, but it’s something to consider nonetheless (See: Credit Checks & Inquiries).

8. Choose the Shortest Loan Period Possible

Yes, longer loan periods mean a lower monthly bill, but don’t forget about the sneaking interest rates! Interest rates are usually lower for shorter terms, which can significantly lowest the total cost of the car. The sooner you pay off your car, the sooner you can focus on paying off other loans and saving money.

9. Consider a Cosigner

If you have bad or no credit, you may be eligible for a better interest rate with a cosigner. Talk to the dealership first before asking anyone to cosign. A cosigner has a lot of responsibility. They will be responsible for your payments if you are unable to make them. Only ask someone to cosign if you are confident in your abilities to make payments on time.

What to Bring When Buying a Used Vehicle

Other dealerships may require more paperwork. Auto Simple only needs the following 4 items to get you driving away in a New Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle:

  • Proof of Residency x 2

Bring two recent pieces of mail with your name and home address.

  • Proof of Income x 2

Bring two most recent paycheck stubs for proof of income.

  • Government Issued Photo ID

Bring your valid government issued photo identification.

  • Down Payment

Cash or credit will be accepted, no checks.

Feel free to download and print our checklist before you arrive. Get pre-approved for financing by completing our secure online credit application.

We can help you out with financing regardless of your credit situation. We accept good credit, bad credit, and no credit; however, annual percentage rates may depend upon credit score.

Good Credit? Accepted

Bad Credit? Accepted

No Credit? Accepted

Past Bankruptcy? Accepted

If you have any questions, contact the store nearest you.


Auto Simple specializes in certified pre-owned vehicles and helping people with bad credit or no credit get a great car and rebuild their credit along the way. We take great pride in offering second chances to good people.

Contact Auto Simple today and drive away in your dream car.

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

Don’t forget to check out Auto Simple on FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

What is a “Certified” Pre-Owned Vehicle?

new car - certified pre-owned vehicle - Auto Simple

When something is certified, you are more likely to trust the quality of the product. But do most car hunters actually know what it means for a car to be “Certified”?

When it’s time for a big purchase, such as a new vehicle, it’s important to have all the information you can get. That way, you can make an informed and budget-conscious decision about what works best for you. When it comes down to driving off the lot, will your decision be to go with new, used, or certified pre-owned?

Although “new” and “used” are the two largest car categories, there is a third, in-between category that offers much of the positive attributes of both—certified pre-owned (CPO). If you’re looking for a good alternative to new car prices, CPO is the way to go.

New Cars, Used Cars & In-Between

New cars come straight from the manufacturer and come with a plump warranty and price tag. They will also lose much of their value right off the lot and further depreciate in the coming years. According to CarFax, “a new car will lose 60 percent of its total value over the first five years of its life.” You may want that new car smell without the new car lease.

Used cars have always seemed like a riskier bet for car buyers, especially if they aren’t purchased at a dealership, but through a site such as Craigslist or a private seller. In this case, it’s not guaranteed that the vehicle will come with a detailed history of whereabouts and treatment. There is also no warranty attached to the purchase.

This is why used cars should always be bought through a professional and qualified dealer, such as Auto Simple. You never want to find out you’ve bought a lemon after it’s too late to drive back!

If the idea of going new or used doesn’t seem like enough of an option for you, the third category that is being focused on today is known as Certified Pre-Owned. With CPO cars, you get the best of both worlds.

What does Certified Pre-Owned mean?

Certified Pre-Owned – A certified pre-owned car is one that has undergone a full inspection and any necessary repairs as specified by the automaker. CPO vehicles are often in “like-new” condition. They may cost more, but often come with additional warranties and roadside assistance, one of the main reasons why it’s a smart idea to buy from a dealership.

Sometimes a certified pre-owned vehicle is called a “re-conditioned used car” as it is of a guaranteed high quality. They are not brand new, but not yet a decade old, either. CPO vehicles are usually between 2 years old and 8 years old.

You’ll be able to get that 2012 Ford Focus without the depreciation worries of a new vehicle or the functionality worries of a used one. Due to their like-new condition and dealership warranty, CPO purchases have a lot of positive benefits, most obviously, peace of mind.

If someone is offering a certified or re-conditioned used car, make sure you get all documentation on paper. Review the information carefully.

Perks of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Purchasing a CPO is a win-win in the automotive world:

  • Between 2-8 years old
  • Have age and mileage limits, ensuring their “like-new” condition
  • In good working condition and certified to have passed strict safety inspections
  • Sold through licensed car dealers
  • Inspected according to manufacturer’s standards
  • Sometimes comes with manufacturer-backed warranty that extends the length of the new-car coverage already in place
  • Buying a 2-3 year old CPO saves a buyer around 25% versus a brand new vehicle of the exact same make/model
  • CPO cars often offer lease options unlike used cars, leading to a better car at a lower monthly rate
  • You cannot lie about the condition of a CPO; you can trust the dealer
  • Comes with a free vehicle-history report and CPO checklist specific to each manufacturer and their varying standards (Auto Simple has a 180-point inspection to go over every bolt, wire, curve and crevice.)
  • Coverage varies by automaker; you’ll probably find something around 6 years/60,000 miles of coverage from the CPO’s original sell date
  • Look into the details if you’re offered a CPO program that divides your warranty into “powertrain” and “limited” warranties
  • Embraces the in-between perks of being a “new used car”

Learn how to buy a used car

Things to consider when looking into a vehicle purchase:

  • Research what kind of car you want and then search their inventory.
  • If you want to trade-in or finance, research the options available to you.
  • Get a vehicle repair and maintenance history report.
  • Get a car inspection and documentation.

Dealership Pros

Here are some reasons why you should stick with the professionals:

  • Consumer Protection – A used car dealership that does not abide by state and federal rules and regulations won’t be in business for long. Buying a used car from a dealership gives you much more consumer protection and peace of mind.
  • Warranties – Most used car dealerships offer warranties on used cars, such as Auto Simple‘s 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on All Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. This is in addition to any original manufacturer warranties.
  • Trade-In – Trading in a used car is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone (get your trade-in estimate from Auto Simple).
  • Financing Options – Most dealerships offer financing options, which is great if you are looking for the best loan offer. Still, cash is the best way to pay the lowest price.
  • No Paperwork – Although you may have to sign on a dotted line or two, all the paperwork is typically handled by the dealership.

Buying from a dealership gives you peace of mind, but always read everything you sign. Some cars may have manufacturer warranties, some may not. Make sure you know what you are buying, if there is a return period, and other important considerations.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles at Auto Simple

All the vehicles on our lot undergo a thorough 180-Point Quality Inspection and test drive, which is performed by one of our highly trained technicians who take deep pride in their work.

We control the quality and have our own test track to put the car through all driving conditions. See why our Customer Confidence Program is one of the best in the nation.


Auto Simple carries a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty.!

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

Come to our GRAND OPENING Sales Event at our new Dalton, GA location!
Test drive any vehicle for your chance to win a YETI cooler!
Doors
open from 9am-7pm on Friday (10/9) and 9am-4pm on Saturday (10/10)

Get the best deal on your next car for Christmas!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (423) 775-4600

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

*Preferred Customer program and free conventional oil changes every ninety (90) days are contingent upon the customer electing to make recurring payments to via ACH or debit card. Additionally, to continue in the Preferred Customer program and receive free oil changes, the customer’s loan must remain in good standing, and the customer may not cancel the recurring payment election. See store for further details. Other restrictions may apply.

Used Car Buyer’s Guide | How to Buy a Pre-Owned Vehicle

how to buy a used car - used car buyer's guide

Car buying is like the start of any new relationship. It will require time, money, and effort. You have to know yourself and what you want, and use a healthy mixture of logic and emotion. The results can be either wonderful or horrifying.

But before committing, you want to make sure you have done all due diligence. There is a lot of work and preparation to be done for the first time used car buyer.

Used Car Buyer’s Guide

How to Buy a Used Car

1. Research

Before inspecting and buying a used car:

  • Set a budget and narrow your used car search down to a couple specific vehicles.
  • Look up the make/model of your desired vehicle for any recalls, consumer complaints, or safety-related defects.
  • If your research turns up any common issues with the car, keep this in mind during the inspection process.

Once you’ve chosen a car that meets your needs and price range, you will need to get a vehicle history report.

Get a CarFax vehicle history report to learn important information about the vehicle you are considering.

All you need is the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN).

All Auto Simple pre-owned vehicles go through a rigorous 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report.

If the CarFax report comes back clean, with no flood damage history, accident indicators, or other red flags, it’s time to inspect the vehicle.

Whether or not you get the car inspected by a third-party mechanic, it’s a good idea to know first-hand the used car’s condition. Although a CarFax vehicle history report provides you with a lot of useful information, you will want to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle yourself.

2. Inspection

Minor damage and scratches are acceptable, but you’ll have to decide if the price reflects that. If the car is really cheap, you may expect some damage to the interior and/or exterior.

Minor accidents shouldn’t be a problem if a proper repair has been made. But be sure to make note of any defects you find as it will help you in the negotiation process.

Larger damage is more serious, such as big crashes. This is why you will want to see a full car history report. Although new welds, paints, and other signs can indicate a major crash, you may not be able to tell what the car has been through during its life.

Exterior

Walk around the outside of the car and look for any signs of damage.

  • Body Scratches, dents, and rust indicate how the car was treated by its previous owner. If body parts are not lining up properly or there are paint discrepancies, this is a sign that the vehicle was involved in an accident. You can also use a paint meter to ensure the vehicle history report is accurate.
  • Doors, Hood and Trunk – Test the doors, hood, trunk and any other moving parts. They should be easy to open and close. Make sure they all close fully and create a seal.
  • Tires  Examine the tires for wear and tear. Do they look nice and smooth? Are they all the same brand? How much tread is there? Do they have cracks or look dried out?  If you notice uneven wear on the tires, it may require an alignment. Ask the seller about the tires and if they have been regularly rotated. If you need tire replacements or alignments, use this during negotiations.
  • Lights – Test all of the lights including reverse lights, turn signals, and high beams. Inspect the housing for cracks or other moisture issues.
  • Underneath the Car – Get underneath the car if you can and look for any damage or rust.

Interior

Inspect the car’s interior and see if it has been well maintained.

  • Test All Electronics  Make sure everything works. Let the seller explain all the features and how to use them.
  • Check the Odometer – Compare any damage with the car’s mileage to see if it looks like normal wear and tear.
  • Check the Gaskets  If they are worn or damaged, you could get leaks.
  • Engine  The most important part of the car. Pop the hood and see if everything looks well maintained. Pay attention to any signs of rust, which can quickly spread.
  • Stripped Bolts  Look for marks on nuts and bolts for signs of repair work. If fenders have marks on the bolt, that means it has been repaired at some point.
  • Hoses – Look and feel around the hoses for cracks, holes, and fraying.
  • VIN Number – Look for the VIN or chassis number on the vehicle. It is normally located on the dashboard, driver’s side door, front engine block, or front end of frame. Make sure the number matches the numbers on the papers. If the chassis number has been filed off, don’t buy the car. It’s probably stolen.
  • Check Liquids  Check oil, transmission, power steering, and brake fluids. If the transmission fluid is brown or smells “burnt,” it could be on its last legs. Make sure the fluids are at proper levels. Look for oil leaks. If there is a leak, it’s important to investigate further.

3. The Test Drive 

This may be the best moment of the whole car buying process—driving a car that will potentially be “your baby.” It’s like a first date. And like any first date, first impressions are paramount.

  • Choose a cold day. Pay attention to how the engine sounds when you start the car and let it idle. Turn on the heat and see how warm and fast it is. Once the car warms up, quickly shift over the the A/C.
  • Pre-plan your route. Take the car on smooth and bumpy roads, hills and flat land, city streets and the highway.
  • Test all electronics. This includes windshield wipers, lights, radio, heating and air conditioning.
  • Test shifting gears. Is there smooth shifting? Does the steering wheel vibrate? If you feel odd vibrations or hear clunking or grinding noises, this could indicate a bad transmission. Feel the car at all the different gear settings, but there’s no need to take it to its top speed.
  • Check the brakes. This is not the time to be gentle. Get the car up to about 40-60 mph and then brake hard. Make sure it stops straight and the steering wheel isn’t shaking. This could indicate warper rotors, worn brake pads, or a loose brake caliper. A good healthy brake system will stop straight.
  • Check tire alignment. Make sure your steering wheel is completely straight and then take your hands off for a few seconds to see if the car veers to the right or left. If the tires are aligned, the car should continue in a straight line.
  • Listen carefully. Are there metallic sounds? If you hear clicking, rattling, clunking, and any other unusual sounds, further investigation is needed. Odd sounds and vibrations foretell repairs ahead.

For more information on inspecting a used car, read this Consumer Reports guide.

General Car Buying Tips

Increase your chances for success with a few extra precautions:

  • Never go alone. Always have someone accompany you. They will help you think through your options in a rational way. When you choose the person who will be going with you, try to pick someone with intelligence and experience, someone with a level head on their shoulders. They will help you ask critical questions.
  • Control your emotions. When looking for a new used car, try not to pay too much attention to aesthetics like colors and body work. If you feel yourself falling in love with a car, take a step back and reassess your emotions. To get the best car for your buck, use reason, not emotion. Pick a neutral color if you are thinking about reselling the car.
  • Make sure there are at least two keys. If one is missing consider the cost of getting a backup. It depends on the key, but newer keys with chips in them will set you back a couple hundred dollars. If it’s just a normal key, it won’t cost you that much.
  • Get a CarFax Report! CarFax is a comprehensive and trustworthy report on the vehicle’s history. With more than 93,000 data sources at their disposal, CarFax reports may include:
    • Title information, including salvaged or junked titles
    • Flood damage history
    • Total loss accident history
    • Odometer readings
    • Lemon history
    • Number of owners
    • Accident indicators, such as airbag deployments
    • State emissions inspection results
    • Service records
    • Vehicle use (taxi, rental, lease, etc.)

To ease your worries about purchasing a preowned vehicle, all Auto Simple cars go through a 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report. We do our best to bring the vehicle back to like-new conditions, including touching up paint and removing dents.

Plus, we offer a 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on all of our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase, you can return the vehicle within 48 hours—no questions asked.

Used Car Buyer's Checklist - How to Buy a Used Car (mini infographic)

Finalizing the Purchase

If you are buying from a dealership, the payment and purchase should be very easy. After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. It’s that easy.

In fact, you can leave the Auto Simple lot with a new pre-owned vehicle for as low as $500 Down!


Auto Simple wants to find you a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all of which come with a free CarFax report and a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

*Preferred Customer program and free conventional oil changes every ninety (90) days are contingent upon the customer electing to make recurring payments to via ACH or debit card. Additionally, to continue in the Preferred Customer program and receive free oil changes, the customer’s loan must remain in good standing, and the customer may not cancel the recurring payment election. See store for further details. Other restrictions may apply.