What Should You Do Before You Buy a Car?

RelayRides finance expert Eric Rosenberg shares tips on getting the best deal when you buy your next new or used car.

There is something glamorous about driving a new car off the lot. The American Dream teaches us, of course, that bigger, faster, and newer cars are always the best of status symbols. Before you decide whether or not to keep up with the car the Jones family just bought, make sure to do your research to make the best decision possible when buying your next car.

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is a non-profit publication that does quality and product reviews for everything from household appliances to computers to bikes. And cars. You can pay for access to their full online database, but you can also usually get in for free from your local library. Check Consumer Reports for a review of the model and year you are looking at in particular, but also look at how the brand has been trending over time. Some brands hold their value well (Toyota) and others might not (Yugo). Also be sure to check for overall reliability and safety features.

Kelly Blue Book

When buying a used car, the first place you should look is the Blue Book. Kelly Blue Book is the industry standard in tracking a car’s value over time. Whether you want to sell a car or buy one, you can visit the Kelly Blue Book website. You are given the opportunity to pick make, model year, condition, and features. Based on that information, you are given an estimated re-sale value for that car.


When you buy a new home, you want to see an inspection showing recent repairs and what might go wrong after you buy. With that inspection, you can usually get a good idea of what has been fixed up in the past as well. Don’t you want the same thing for your next car? Carfax provides a vehicle history and service records for pre-owned cars. If you are buying used, this is a great ressource to know if the cars has had serious issues like water damage, major accidents, or non-routine repairs.

Test Drive it With RelayRides

You can always go into the dealership and try out the car with the salesman. But in the ten minutes you will take the car on a spin around the neighborhood, will you really get a great idea of what it would be like to drive it around town? Probably not. With RelayRides, you can rent the car for a day at a very competitive rate. And you can actually meet the owner and ask about the pros and cons of owning that specific model. A salesman will always tell you the best parts of owning a car, but a fellow RelayRides member is more likely to share a truthful review. Who knows, you might even find it in your neighborhood!

Once You Buy, Let the Car Pay for Itself

RelayRides isn’t just great for renting a car when you need it, it is great for turning your car into an income. Typical RelayRides members make hundreds of dollars every month renting out their car. So what are you waiting for?