Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A couple is holding a set of keys at a pre-owned Chevy dealer.

7 Tips for Researching a Used Chevy

When shopping for a vehicle, it can be tricky to find the best model with everything you need and get your money’s worth. Back in the olden days, you’d pretty much have to drive from car lot to car lot, looking at their used inventory, and hope you find something that worked – or peruse the local paper or similar publication and try your luck there. Now, however, before you head to a pre-owned Chevy dealer, you can do a lot of research to help yourself figure out what would work for you.

This still requires some time, of course, but the benefit is that you can do this all while sitting in the comfort of your home or while on break at work. The flexibility that the internet provides us all with is the freedom to research whenever and wherever you please. It’s important that you know what to look for and how to use all of the information you find for your benefit, however, as it’s easy to get lost in the sea of data that’s out there. So today, I’m going to give you some tips on how to make your research work for you.

Tip #1 – Consider Your Sources

This is one of the single most important aspects of any kind of research, but it’s vital when looking into which used Chevy is right for you. When you look at any piece of information, you need to always consider the source of where you’re getting it from. For example, blogs like the one you’re on now can have a great deal of information on them, but it’s important to remember that you’re also getting a writer’s point of view.

If you’re looking for specs and numbers, the manufacturer’s website or a digital brochure can be some of the best ways to find exactly what they can deliver. Dealerships can also provide you with information on their site, but just remember that they’re going to want their brand to be the most appealing. A good dealership won’t lie about anything, but they’ll still prefer the vehicles they sell to other brands.

You’re not writing an academic paper, so you don’t need to cite your sources, but you still want to always be mindful of what you’re reading. Third-party sites are going to have some kind of audience they write for, so keep that in mind. For example, I’m writing this with the idea of helping someone who is shopping for a used Chevy. Other sites, however, might be aimed more at pushing a particular brand or model rather than focusing on what you need as a car buyer.

Tip #2 – Refine Your Options

When you’re shopping for a used Chevy, one of the best things you can do while conducting any kind of research is looking for ways to refine or narrow down your options. If you do a search for “used Chevy near me” or something similar, you’re going to get thousands of results with numerous dealers, car-selling websites, and other services. As soon as you start looking at models on any of those sites, you’ll quickly find that you have way more options than you can reasonably go through.

So your research should have a simple goal: eliminate models that won’t work for you. This lets you more easily focus on the models that will meet your needs, and then you can find a specific vehicle that is right for you. As soon as you see something that’s a deal-breaker, like if it’s too small or lacks safety features you really want, then eliminate that option and move on.

A white sign says pre-owned vehicles.

Tip #3 – Consider the Importance of Model Year

With the previous tip in mind, one of the simplest ways to eliminate a lot of vehicles that aren’t a great choice for you while focusing on ones that are is by keeping the model year in mind. More recent model years will have the latest features, of course, but you can look beyond that and also narrow down your options in other ways. Personally, I don’t care for the first model year of a new generation for a vehicle or a major update – these have a tendency to have some bugs and issues that get fixed for the following year. So if I were looking for a used Chevy Silverado, I’d skip 2014 and 2015 – 2014 was a new generation, and 2015 featured some transmission changes, which would let me focus on 2016 and later.

Tip #4 – Know Important Terms

I’m not about to list a full glossary here, but it’s very important that you understand some key terms that you’ll see a lot when looking at used Chevy models. While you don’t need to get a degree in mechanical engineering, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of things like horsepower and torque and what they mean when looking at a vehicle. This will let you much more easily compare different used Chevy models, particularly if you’re looking for a truck or a sports car.

Similarly, make sure you understand terms commonly used by dealerships, like “new,” “used,” and “Certified Pre-Owned,” and what they all mean. Spend some time learning about different types of financing, how each works, and the terms involved. All of these things are going to make further research easier since you’ll be able to look at a pre-owned Chevy dealer’s website and understand everything you see. Speaking of which…

Tip #5 – Choose Dealers with a Good Website

Don’t underestimate just how helpful a good website for a used Chevy dealer can be when you’re shopping. You want to shop with a dealer that has a site that’s easy for you to use and presents you with all of the information you need. This is going to make your life so much easier when you’re shopping for a vehicle. If you’re wrestling with a bad site that’s hard to navigate, then you should move on. After you buy your vehicle from a dealer, you might need to go back to them to make payments or get service done, which means a good website can make your life easier for years to come.

A salesman is passing a set of keys to a couple at a pre-owned Chevy dealer.

Tip #6 – Know Your Budget

You might think I don’t need to mention this, but you’d be surprised. Spend some time figuring out what kind of budget is realistic for you – both in terms of a down payment and regarding how much you can afford each month to pay off a loan. Once you know what you can afford, then stick to it; going beyond your budget is a recipe for disaster. This will also help you choose a good Chevy dealer – if they’re pressuring you to spend more than you can afford, then get out of there and take your business elsewhere.

Tip #7 – Take Notes to Help Remember

Finally, as you’re doing all of this research, don’t try to just keep it all straight in your head. Shopping for a used Chevy takes a lot of work and can involve a lot of information, so write it down or make notes on your phone, whatever works for you. Keep track of everything you learn and what you’re interested in, and make notes that will help you find stuff again later.

For example, if you know that something like a 2016-2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 is what you want, then write that down. Don’t assume you’ll remember those years after hours of further research or when you go to a dealer’s lot, and they try to convince you to go for a different model year. If you find a pre-owned Chevy dealer that you like, then bookmark their website and make some notes on deals or incentives that caught your eye. It will make your life a lot easier if you keep track of things and take some notes that you can refer to later.