You should keep your used car for a long time if you want to minimize the cost of ownership. Most financial experts will tell you to do that. If you choose the wrong vehicle or place to buy, that “cheap” car could cost you thousands in repairs or financing costs.
There may be used cars for sale that have been recalled and are not yet fixed: Sellers are allowed to sell such cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall site can tell you if a car you’re interested in buying requires a repair after buying. Check the VIN number at the site so you know if it needs a recall repair.
When you buy a used car, you can use this list as a quick reference guide for spotting potential issues. The various options for buying a used car have their advantages and disadvantages, so depending on what is important to you (price, selection, warranty? ), there are many options to choose from.
Originally purchased from a dealer
An excellent used car can be found by purchasing a certified pre-owned (CPO) car. CPO vehicles are inspected extensively, and factory parts are used on them. They’re offered by dealerships of the same brand. Their warranties are also excellent. GM, for example, offers a bumper-to-bumper warranty of one year and 12,000 miles on all of its CPO vehicles. We have an online comparison tool that identifies the differences between these warranties. Even though they have warranties, that doesn’t mean that they are as good as new cars.
CPO cars cost more but offer more coverage and convenience. They are usually the most expensive second-hand vehicles. Consumers will pay an average 6% to 8% premium for a CPO vehicle that is three years old. There may be an alternative in finding a car that has been under warranty for some time from a private seller.
Dealerships with non-certified staff
There is a remaining inventory of used cars in this category. Generally, these cars don’t get the same attention as a CPO, but they are still thoroughly inspected. Minor problems will usually be fixed before the car is put on the market. These used cars are available at a lot of dealerships since they accept trade-ins on a regular basis.
Automakers are not affiliated with independent dealerships. The used-car selection can vary greatly depending on whether you’re shopping at a corner lot or a full-size dealership with a service department. As the quality can also vary from place to place, we recommend you do a Google and Yelp search to see what kind of reviews that dealer has. A BBB report would also be helpful.
You should use independent dealers if you want to buy an inexpensive used car. You will have a good chance of getting a car financed at these dealerships if you have poor credit. It is worth noting that independent dealers may not offer the same low interest rates as larger retailers.
In the event you choose this type of dealership only in hopes of getting approved for a loan, check first with a reputable dealer. There are several types of banks that franchised dealers work with, including some that specialize in credit problems.
A car purchase in the private-party market offers a diverse selection and the best price, but you sacrifice the convenience of seeing a number of cars side by side, as you would on a dealer lot. Private-party sellers are typically much easier to negotiate with than salespeople at dealerships, since most owners haven’t been trained in formal sales tactics. There are several ways to find private-party vehicles. The most popular web sites to visit are eBay, Auto Trader, and Craigslist.
Unless the car is still under warranty, you will be purchasing it “as-is.” Doing so is a riskier move for you as a buyer, but if you bring a mechanic or have it inspected before you purchase it, you can minimize this risk. Prices are lower with private-party sales.