New cars can cost a lot of money, and since they lose value immediately after you drive them off the lot, they’re not exactly things that accumulate value in the long run.
A more cost-friendly option is a used car. Used cars cost at least 30 percent less than their new counterparts. And in some cases, based on the age of the car and its value, they also save on insurance.
But you’re probably thinking: “Why should I get a used car if I could just save up for a new one?”
Why you should get a used car
Aside from the most obvious appeal — the price — a used car is a good idea because there are no hidden fees or sales taxes that come with it.
New cars rack up a pretty penny on sales taxes and fees the car companies don’t tell you about (they have to make back the money spent on marketing and advertising somehow). Some states don’t require sales tax for used cars purchased, that’s a few extra dollars you get to save.
Another reason is the little to zero depreciation on used cars. You couldn’t sell your new car for more than 70 percent of your purchase price after two years of use, and that’s being generous. Used cars, on the other hand, experience little to no depreciation. You could sell it for pretty close to the amount you bought it, if you maintain it.
Some car companies sell certified pre-owned cars where quality is guaranteed. But all these awesome benefits are worthless if you can’t get a good deal on your new used car.
How to get a good deal
Thanks to technology, there are now dealers that run online car auction sites which allow you shop for a car from the comfort of your home. This is a great option if your negotiation skills are not up to par, plus it saves you the hassle of having to go to several dealerships.
Some of these sites give access to the same inventory that local dealers use to stock up, so you’re gonna get a lot of good options. But first, remember to follow these steps:
Research: Unless you already have a make and model in mind, you should carry out some research. Some car models perform better than others in the long run, and that’s a useful quality for used cars. You should also research dealers, especially if they’re online. Look for ratings from other buyers or just look them up on Yelp.
Get an auto history report: Some cars may have had parts replaced or been involved in an accident, and are no longer in good working condition. You won’t be able to tell this upfront, but you can find out by getting a history report which gives information like previous ownerships, damage reports and a lot of other useful information.
Ask to inspect: You should inspect the car you want to buy before purchase. Most if not all dealerships allow inspection before purchase, even online dealerships.
You should go with a mechanic if you don’t know what to look out for. You should also test-drive the car to make sure it’s properly aligned and that other systems are functional.
Compare prices: Different dealerships sell at different prices. You should look at multiple dealerships first for models that you want. After running quality checks, you should compare prices to make sure you’re getting a good deal on your soon-to-be automobile.
Watch out for unnecessary costs: You should also ask for a breakdown of the price to be sure you’re not paying an extra $100 for “rust protection”. Make sure you’re only paying for what you want. Getting a used car can be an affordable and rewarding purchase, if you get a good deal.