Purchasing a quality used vehicle can be a good way to save money. Depending on the brand, make and model of the vehicle, brand-new cars can lose as much as 40 percent of their value within the first year. Yikes! Though purchasing a new car comes peace of mind, the new-car price remains too much for many drivers.
So if you are looking to save some cash and purchase a used vehicle instead, what can you do to make sure you get a quality vehicle that won’t need any major auto repair soon?
- “Certified Used Cars” – Backed by the manufacturer, the “certified” moniker signals that the car has passed a thorough inspection and is less than 3 years old. This also means that you shouldn’t have to get an auto repair anytime soon because the car is in “excellent,” well-maintained condition. Depending on the brand, many certified vehicles also come with their own warranty.
- Check with the Experts – Guides like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book are available online for next to nothing and can tell you the true value of a used car, taking into consideration mileage, features, add-ons and location. If the sticker price on the used car varies greatly from the Blue Book value – either too high or too low – this could be a red flag. A low-ball price could signal a need for major auto repair, flood damage or a lemon.
- Get a Quality Inspection – If you seek to purchase a vehicle from Craigslist, Cars.com, Autotrader.com or any other re-sale site, it is wise to get a thorough vehicle inspection performed at your local auto repair shop. For a small investment, the mechanic should be able to tell you whether the car needs any auto repair work and whether the car has been well maintained.
If the vehicle needs any repairs such as a timing belt replacement, new spark plugs, or a costly transmission repair, it is better to find out during the pre-purchase inspection. A hundred bucks, more or less, is a worthwhile investment for any savvy used car buyer.
For more information about our used car/pre-purchase inspections, please check out our pre-purchase inspection page.