To begin with a bit of soul searching needs to be done. To determine exactly what needs the car is to fulfill. A Maserati Spyder may not be the correct choice for a station car. Next it is best to determine a budget and explore cars within your means. Cars can depreciate quickly or maintain their value. A car that is long lasting without frequent repairs will have a higher premium on the used car market.
Having found a car that meets your criterion, it is best to check the car out. Carfax is a useful tool to determine if the car has had issues or was involved in a collision. Then consulting a professional to ask advice or to have the car inspected is a worthwhile investment. n independent mechanic will know which cars are high maintenance and require frequent repairs.
Furthermore it is best to consult service records to see what upcoming maintenance is due for. For example a timing belt on n Audi could set you back $1000.00.
If you are sending a child off to college and are seeking transportation for you son or daughter, several things should be considered.
I bought my daughter a car to go to collage with. I wanted a car that was safe, reliable and virtually bullet-proof. She was attending collage in Maine, so a 4 wheel drive was mandatory. I decided on a Honda CRX, in addition to being safe and reliable car, there was a dealer in her town which could help her should she require anything. I paid a premium for the car, but it gave me piece of mind.
There is nothing wrong with buying a used car, especially as a second or third car for the family, so long as you do your homework!