There are numerous good reasons for buying a used car over a new car – the most prominent being, used vehicles are considerably cheaper.
After just one year of ownership, most new cars will lose around 30% of their original list price. This figure slows in the second year to around 14%, but still, the savings are considerable as compared to buying new.
Of course, buying anything secondhand comes with risks attached, so you must make informed choices – particularly when buying a pre-owned car.
Following these top five tips will help make sure you buy at the best price and don’t end up with a problematic vehicle.
Dealerships vs. private sellers
While it’s undoubtedly true you will pay slightly more going through a dealership, dealers also offer far greater peace of mind by performing full vehicle checks and servicing before putting cars up for sale. Nonetheless, be sure to do your research and check the dealer site before committing to any sale.
The key here is transparency. Used car dealers should present their vehicles online with a full description, photographs, and vehicle stats, including the year of production and consumption rates. Used car sales sites like https://houseofcarsarizona.com/ do an exemplary job of listing cars with comprehensive stats and descriptions attached to each vehicle.
Another clear advantage of going through a dealership is most will be able to offer you financing on the spot, saving you the hassle of trying to find a car loan.
Buy at the right time of year (from dealerships)
While it might seem unlikely, the time of year can influence the price you pay. Most car dealers operate on quarterly targets, meaning they are more likely to reduce costs at the end of each quarter, i.e., March, June, September, and December. The same rule doesn’t apply to private sellers but, with dealers at least, you may well find you can force a better price as the end of each quarter approaches.
Part exchanging vs. selling privately
In most cases, when you come to buy a car, you will also have an old one to sell. There are two main options here:
- Sell the car privately yourself
- Arrange a part exchange with the dealer
Of the two, selling your car privately obviously incurs more effort and time on your part; however, in the majority of cases, you will achieve around 20% more by selling privately.
It’s worth remembering car dealers will look to make a profit on your old car, so they always knock down the price they offer you in part exchange.
Whether it is a private sale or through a dealership, the list price is most definitely not the price you should pay, and there will always be wiggle-room on the part of the seller.
Haggling is part of the game when it comes to buying a used car – it’s almost expected of you – so play along and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. Search online to check the price of similar cars in other dealers. Also, there are now multiple handy websites and apps which can tell you the expected market rate for cars based on age, mileage, and condition.
Follow the used car checklist
Some vehicle problems are easier to spot than others, but just following a simple checklist will help you identify the most common issues before parting with your cash.
- Check the mileage of the car – Bear in mind there are websites and apps which can do full vehicle checks on registration
- Overall condition – check for scratches dents and bumps
- Check for repairs – are there any visible signs of repair or crash damage
- Check the oil
- Check the engine for indications of water or oil leaks. Also, check the underside for the same
- Check the lights and in-car gadgets, e.g., stereo
- Check the overall safety of the vehicle
- Check the tread on tires