Shopping for a used car is not something the average person intends to do very often or at least not as much as he or she goes out grocery shopping. If you go out shopping while hungry you may buy things that you don't need, on the other hand if you go out shopping without a list, the odds are that you are going to get home and figure that you forgot to buy something. I can relate that to shopping for used cars, you have to do your homework, preparation and brainstorming to achieve he best results.
You need to engage in smart used car shopping.
The very first thing you need to do is decide on an amount that you can manage to pay, or spend for the car. If you are paying cash then decide on a maximum amount that you can afford to spend on this given car, without hurting you future financial and saving plans. This is basically done by determining a budget. If you are to finance the purchase, then determine a down payment, and a monthly payment affordable even in the worst financial scenario. You do not want to end with reposition risks.
A common rule is that your monthly car payment should not be over 20 percent of your monthly income after rent or mortgage. I suggest that you get a pre-approval for th financing before you start shopping, this would prevent from uncertainty, and roadblocks. It is very critical for you to know what you can afford ahead of time.
For more information, check out the Smart Used Car Shopping.