Choosing a used car over a new one can save you money, but these days you might have to shop harder to find a real bargain and true quality used vehicles.
A shortage of late-model used cars has pushed prices to historically high levels. A good used-car deal is becoming more elusive these days because of:
- Higher demand for affordable, quality used vehicles in this tight economy.
- Slumping new car sales of recent years, which has led to fewer late-model quality used vehicles on the lot.
Prices are especially higher for small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The average wholesale price of used, mid-market compact cars rose nearly 30% in the first half of 2011.
Consumers get the best deal on quality used vehicles if they are educated before they get to a dealer’s lot. Understanding their specific car needs and having a working knowledge of current prices and how dealers negotiate on used vehicles is key.
That’s not to say you can’t still save money by choosing used over new. You can increase your confidence in finding the best deal by searching for the best dealers like Wholesale Autos where over a thousand cars are listed in their selection. Compare makes and models and find specific cars and check out their histories. You also can follow these four strategies to find and buy a used car that fits your budget and your lifestyle.
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Mind Your Money Matters
Figure out how much you can afford for quality used vehicles. If you’ll be selling an old car with dealers like the Wholesale Autos, consider its cash value, any additional down payment you’ll make and what monthly payment fits comfortably in your budget.
Receiving a quote for auto insurance before buying also can help you understand the true cost to drive the car you’re considering. An added benefit of buying used is that the cost for collision and comprehensive coverage is generally lower compared to new cars of the same style.
Find the Right Fit
When deciding on make and model in finding quality used vehicles, prioritize the list of the features that are most important to you: styling, engine power, gas mileage, seating capacity, cargo space and so on. Be sure to base your list on your everyday realities not your daydream scenario.
Be flexible in your options when searching for quality used vehicles on dealers’ lots like Wholesale Autos. By remaining open to two or three models of quality used vehicles that would meet your needs, you’ll have an easier time finding a suitable vehicle at a good price. And for a real apples-to-apples comparison of different models, keep in mind that different makes of vehicles in a given class might depreciate at different rates. In other words, give bonus points to a car that tends to hold its value longer, and thus costs you less in the long run.
Size Up the Seller
Who’s selling the car might give you some indication of the deal you’re getting.
Private individuals: Newspaper classified ads and automotive Web sites can connect you to thousands of people looking to sell their cars for a fair price. This is typically the path to finding that holy grail of cars only driven to church on Sundays.
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When buying from an individual take extra precautions to protect yourself against theft and fraud. Arrange to test drive used vehicles only during the daytime in public places, and make sure not to carry large amounts of cash with you. Also, before finalizing the deal, double-check the vehicle information, especially the vehicle identification number, to ensure the title matches the seller’s name.
Independent used car lots: Like at any business, the salesman is looking to cover his overhead and make a profit, which could mean you’ll pay a premium for the car. But good deals can be found everywhere, so don’t overlook these lots just because they lack the sparkle of a big dealership. Dealers like Wholesale Autos which is a proven lot to provide quality used vehicles to their customers. Wholesale Autos currently has 1500 units that buyers can choose from. These cars are well maintained making sure that people who come in their lot can get the best deals.
Do Your Due Diligence
When you view a used car in person, recheck the vital signs — model year, mileage, tire tread, etc. — to get an idea of how long the car will continue to be maintenance-free. Keep in mind that factory warranties are usually transferrable, so a late-model car could come with the protection of free repairs of covered systems.
Test drive any vehicle you’re seriously considering, turning on all the bells and whistles, to make sure it performs to your liking. Don’t limit your drive to neighborhood roads — hit the highway to properly test the car’s acceleration, handling, braking and comfort. Consider taking two spins: one during the day, one at night.
Run a background check on the car using a service like Carfax.com, which can help you verify the ownership history, the mileage, and whether the vehicle has had any major repairs. If the report reveals disturbing information that the seller didn’t disclose, walk away.
If possible, run the car by a trusted mechanic’s shop and have them perform an under-the-hood inspection with a trained eye.