The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably affected the car market from both sellers’ and buyers’ sides. As a result, more and more people are looking for lower-priced vehicles, and the demand for used cars has noticeably increased. With so many nuances, finding the right car for you can be a challenge. Having gathered all the essential information about pre-owned vehicles, we are glad to present this guide to help you identify all the pros and cons of purchasing a used car and minimize the chances that you’ll stumble upon an unreliable, overpriced, or unsafe model.
Indeed, there are a bunch of pros buying a pre-owned car instead of a new one. When you want to stay away from all that nightmare connected with huge sums on registration, car insurance, taxes, and depreciation, the tremendous used-car market is the best place to turn to with its own set of advantages. Pre-owned cars are almost always reasonably priced, some come with a warranty, and many allow shoppers to get what they want. A preparation part is an essential step in the process of any car purchase. Whether from a dealership or a private party, getting a vehicle requires additional research to ensure reliable future investment.
Used Cars Vs. New Cars
The decision to get a pre-owned car instead of a new car usually comes from the position of cost. Since pre-owned vehicles are considerably cheaper than new ones, they act as a more attractive investment for those shoppers on a tight budget. For instance, “nearly new” cars and pre-owned vehicles from the previous model year usually save several thousand dollars compared to an identical model from the current line.
Many people who want to buy used cars can’t afford “nearly new” or certified pre-owned vehicles. Nevertheless, there are various options for buyers who can’t go either of those two ways. Opting for an older used car is not only an excellent way to reduce costs, but it’s also a way for some buyers to find a better equipped or more innovative model for less money than it would’ve cost them new.
Certified Pre-Owned: Hot or Not?
A certified pre-owned (CPO) car (usually two or three years old and has relatively low mileage) is significantly better than a brand-new high-priced version of the same model. Since CPOs come with a brand-backed warranty and a thorough checkup by a manufacturer-trained mechanic, they can guarantee protection from any disastrous issues hidden under the seeming external intactness. The additional advantage of CPOs is that they are the only used cars that can be leased.
Most automobile brands provide a CPO program, which means that buyers have various models to choose from, depending on local stock. Although a CPO version is more expensive than an identical non-CPO model, the added costs exclude the risks as some vehicles you may return. However, here you need to consider the fact that the terms of CPO programs vary among brands.
What is the Best Place to Get a Used Car?
There are multiple locations where you can buy a pre-owned car. Each has its pluses and minuses in terms of service, ease, and price. The most traditional way to get a pre-owned vehicle is to come to a dealership or make a purchase face-to-face if that is preferable. Like the car you want to purchase, you need to thoroughly investigate the bio of the dealership or private party trying to sell a vehicle to you. Checking the company out with your local consumer protection agency is perfect for finding out about their track record. The main thing here is not the number of complaints, but how the company responded to solve the problems.
Those looking for certified pre-owned vehicles can visit their local dealership or their website. Online used-car dealers let you shop from the comfort of your home while still enjoying the benefits of their financing and trade-in offers.
Used Car Superstores
Used Car Superstores usually offer many advantages of franchised new car dealerships, such as expertise in handling paperwork or step-by-step buying processes. Many sellers provide additional perks, such as extended warranties.
Used Car Superstores provide access to a vast range of pre-owned cars and bring the vehicle you want from inventories across the country to your local outlet.
The main disadvantage here is that you may not get the best price at a used car superstore. Nevertheless, you’ll be confident enough that nothing will get out of control.
Independent Used Car Dealers
Independent used car dealerships are usually small, locally owned businesses. They buy and sell pre-owned cars, arrange to finance, and take care of the purchase paperwork. Their inventory is typically based on purchases from auto auctions.
Buy Here, Pay Here Dealers
This is the only type of used car dealer that buyers should approach with caution. BHPH pre-owned car dealers act as both the car lender and seller. The BHPH method means that many dealers require buyers to bring their car payments directly to them – sometimes every week.
The main drawback is that they charge extremely high-interest rates and can do more harm to your credit than help it.
Because of their bad reputation for dealing with the most vulnerable customers, most consumer protection bureaus don’t advise getting a car at a BHPH dealer. If that is the case that this type of dealer is your only option, you’d better refuse to buy a car. Dealing with a BHPH method only invites further financial troubles.
Buying a car from a person can be the cheapest way to get a used car because you don’t need to pay for a dealership’s profit. A private-party deal usually provides the seller with the best yield, while the buyer gets a lower price than at a dealership.
Keep in mind that since private-party deals are often unregulated, you won’t get the same consumer protection that you might get at certified car dealerships.
Choosing the Right Used Car
Once you decided to purchase a used car, your next step is to pay attention to its characteristics. The most significant thing here is that the list of potential candidates should be centered around your budget. After defining a suitable price range, you can filter your search by factors including the miles on the car’s odometer, its condition and equipment, and the dealer’s distance from you. Evaluate a used car by learning a vehicle history report. A vehicle history report shows you whether a vehicle is worth your time and attention or whether it’s better to move on to your next candidate. A vehicle history often has information about major reported accidents a car has been in. It includes data from various insurance companies, police agencies, and other sources.
Detecting an accident on a vehicle history report should not instantly eliminate the vehicle from your candidate list. It’s just something that you’ll want the mechanic who does your pre-purchase inspection to know about. In some cases, the report may also provide such details as airbag deployment and structural damage. In this case, it will help evaluate the quality of repairs. The fact that a car has been in an accident gives you an opportunity for a considerable price reduction on the seller’s part during price negotiation.
The risks connected with purchasing a pre-owned vehicle can scare potential customers off. However, it is not the point to give up. If you like driving the car you want, and everything seems to be in perfect condition, it is still essential to take it to a mechanic. Private party sellers and dealers don’t usually mind inspecting a car.
On some used car lots, you may already see a sign “certified,” which means the car is in a certified pre-owned program (which we described earlier). CPO cars are thoroughly checked and have an extended factory warranty. There is no real need to take a CPO car to your mechanic.
Trade-in Vs. Selling the Car Yourself
While some buyers explore the used vehicle market searching for their first car, many people also look for a replacement or a better option for their current wheels. Taking into account the condition and value of the vehicle, dealers may allow customers to trade it in and use the credit for the next vehicle purchase.
However, it is common to sell used cars privately for more money than they might earn through a trade-in method. This way is often easier than trying to sell the vehicle yourself. It simply depends on how much work the seller is ready to do to increase the vehicle’s desirability and worth.
It has been a long way, but now you’re a car owner. Indeed, searching for and selecting the right used car is considerably more challenging than finding and purchasing a new vehicle. Your next step is to properly maintain the car to protect its value and enjoy driving it as long as possible. Learning all the nuances and immersing yourself in all this routine may seem a bit tedious and time-consuming. But finally, you will get precisely the car you want for less money.