In the Information Age, buying a used car is no longer the gamble it once used to be. With services such as Carfax, buyers can look up a car’s entire history and odometer reading. Many manufacturers offer used certified vehicles that have undergone rigorous factory testing. And dealerships put their entire inventory online, making it easy to find exactly the car you’re looking for. Most buyers agree that in the end, there’s no substitute for a test drive.
Buying a used car
With manufacturers offering used certified vehicles, buying a used car is no longer a matter of chance. These are usually newer vehicles, about three years old, and have undergone rigorous multi-point factory testing before being certified.
Buying a used certified vehicle is an excellent choice for someone who doesn’t want to or can’t afford to buy a new one. A used certified vehicle may actually work out better than one that is all new, since it has been road tested.
Finding a car
Many auto dealers put their inventories online on their websites, making it easy to browse and comparison shop. They will even post the odometer readings and Carfax reports, giving you access to the car’s entire history. The famous Kelly Blue Books, that car buyers have relied upon for years to find out the right prices for every make and model of vehicle, are also online. This takes all the guesswork and much of the negotiation out of buying a used car, since it tells you at the very outset what the right price should be.
Even though it’s easy to find the exact make, model and year you’re looking for online, there’s no substitute for a test drive to get a feel for the car you’re buying. As many as 84% of car buyers want to do so in person. They also feel that they can learn a lot about various models and what’s available at the dealership.
Getting a loan
Many dealerships work with banks and financial institutions to offer financing onsite, making buying a used car a one stop operation. Typically, lenders require 20% of the value of the car as a down payment. Leases offer slightly better financial terms, requiring $0 to several thousand dollars down. This amount can be negotiated.
The downside to leases is that they limit the mileage that you can drive each year. This is usually about 9,000, 12,000 and 15,000 miles a year, which is how much a typical driver covers anyway. And you don’t need to worry if you exceed the mileage: they won’t take your car away. You’ll just be charged extra for amount exceeded.
Buying a used car is an excellent choice for a number of reasons. With quality and price guarantees in place, you’re getting a certified vehicle that meets stringent testing requirements from the manufacturer. All it takes is a test drive to fall in love, and you have your new, used car.