I won’t lie. There’s something great about driving around in a new car. Everything has a certain look and feel, the drive is way smoother than whatever you were driving around before, and all the bells and whistles make for an overall incredible experience. It’s kind of intoxicating, if we’re being honest. From the look, smell, and feel, it’s a full sensory experience to get behind the wheel of that shiny new toy. And hey, if you can afford a new car, go for it! But new cars are averaging nearly $40,000 dollars to purchase these days and many young people are simply being priced out of the conversation. Definitely a bummer, but there are alternatives. The term “used” has a weird connation, especially when “car” comes after. But there are a lot of options out there for people looking to buy a car that is new to them but not necessarily brand new. If you’re in the market for a vehicle, there are some important tips to help you not only get a great deal but feel confident that you are going to be driving around in a car that is going to be worth your money.
A Note About Car Value
You’ve probably heard from your mom, dad, uncle, old neighbor, whoever, that a car depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the lot. Guess what? They’re absolutely correct about that. Cars do not hold their value particularly well and the very second the ink on the purchase agreement dries, that vehicle is worth just a bit less. So, the key to purchasing a car is ensuring that whatever it is that you’re buying has value to it. If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, thinking about how long you may be looking to drive it and also thinking about what type of resale value it could have if you ever decide to sell may be wise, too. Remember, just because you’re buying a used vehicle doesn’t mean you’re getting ripped-off. Many used cars were sold for various reasons that have nothing to do with the car itself. There’s value in understanding that fact.
Picking the Right Time to Buy
A good rule to follow here is to look before you need. This way you can try to time your purchase before being absolutely pressed for time and need a vehicle ASAP. When car dealerships have those special new vehicle promotions, they usually work pretty well! But what you may not realize is that when they sell those new cars, they often receive a used vehicle from the purchaser in return. This means that you’ll have some pretty great cars to look at around Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day weekend, among other dates. Just make sure that you’re not in the dealership at peak hours because you’ll want the salesperson’s undivided attention to ensure you get the best deal possible.
Where to Buy
You’re on the internet right now. Use it. It’s shocking how businesses with poor consumer reviews continue to receive business when potential clients can literally do a quick search to see how others’ experiences were. Look into any dealership you are thinking of searching for cars at and be thorough. While buying a used car can have a certain stigma attached to it in our minds, there are great used cars, and you can find one. But you won’t find one at the wrong dealership. Similarly, use reputable sites like Carfax, Autotrader, or Edmunds. If you’re dealing with a private dealer, things can be a little trickier, but our guts are often very telling in these situations.
How to Go About the Purchase
Like anything else you buy, ask yourself if you really need what you’re about to purchase. If you drive in a cold weather climate, ask yourself if you really need a convertible, for example. If you’re going to be commuting, make sure you you’re aware of the gas mileage the vehicle gets to ensure you’re not driving around a guzzler. It’s always a good idea to have a certified mechanic examine any used vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing as they’ll be able to identify potential problems that you will not. Dealerships expect this type of scrutiny and shouldn’t balk at you bringing one with you or requesting the vehicles history. If they do, they’re hiding something. Figure out how much the car should cost, too. A great site for checking a vehicles value is Kelley Blue Book. You don’t want to get fleeced on the transaction. In fact, you should be the one walking out feeling confident you got a great deal. And obviously, a test drive is essential. This is a used vehicle, after all. Maybe you’ve driven a Honda Accord before, and you don’t think you need to drive one again. Wrong. This is a used vehicle, and they all have their own feel and quirks. You have to be as smart as possible.
Putting it Together
With the average price of vehicles only rising, looking at affordable used options is the financially responsible thing to do. Is it the coolest thing in the world to be driving around in a used vehicle? No, but having most of your money is definitely cool. Do your research, ask questions, and never be afraid to bring help with you to look over the vehicle(s) you’re interested in. The fact is that there are some great used cars out there waiting to be bought, but there are some lemons out there, too. The savvy buyer knows how to weed out the lemons and only end up with the best possible car available for their price range and needs. There’s no reason why you can’t be that buyer.