Buying Used Cars Can Be Tough But This Guide Can Help
Americans are buying used cars more than ever, 41.4 million of them compared to only 16.1 millions
new cars in 2007, according to CNW Marketing Research Inc. New cars, on average, lose 15-30% of their value the moment they're driven off the lot, according to auto web site Edmunds.com
. Automobiles, new or old, are becoming more reliable but with bad economy, Americans are preferring to buy second hand cars which are turning out to be, more and more, reliable used cars with the advance in innovations.
The slowing of new car sales are not lost to dealers who are putting greater emphasis on their used-car inventories, offering wider selection and lower prices. And considering the options consumers now have in the used-car market, used cars are lasting longer. In 2006, the average passenger vehicle in the US was 9.2 years old, a record, according to industry analysis group R.L. Polk.
From "certified pre-owned" cars to no-haggle superstores (like CarMax), 2008 offers an unrivaled opportunity to get a great deal on second hand cars. With the wealth of safety, reliability and pricing information online (Edmunds.com
and CarsDirect.com), it has never been easier in buying used cars.
But many car buyers have an aversion to used car shopping
because of their fear in the possibility of buying a lemon. There are indications 'tho that the process is slowly being changed. It seems like transparency is becoming the key to restoring trust after many years of rip-offs and bad experiences of several generations of Americans in buying used cars.
There are generally two ways to find used car - through a dealership or from an individual. Either way,
you should do some research in order to come up with a reliable car.
1. Through a dealership:
Used cars can be certified pre-owned car or not.
Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
Pro: No lemons. All certified pre-owned vehicles are thoroughly inspected by a factory mechanic and come with generous extended auto warranties.
Con: You pay more for this extra level of protection. According to figures from Edmunds.com
, you could expect to pay an average of $37,821 for a certified 2006 Lexus GS 300. If you bought that same car, uncertified, from a dealership, it would cost an average of $36,200. An individual would charge an average of $34,446.
A certified pre-owned car is perfect for consumers who know very little about cars and won't be able to spot a lemon. But don't be assured that Certified Pre-Owned Car is free of defects. Manufacturers' certified programs vary. Some offer considerably longer warranties or more thorough inspections than others. For lists of the most comprehensive ones, go to Edmunds.com
or Kelley Blue Book.
has a useful tool called True Market Value tool which helps you with car pricing in your specific area or or you can use Kelley Blue Book in buying used cars. Only you can decide if the peace of mind is worth the higher CPO price tag.
If the monthly payments stretch your budget too tight, consider buying that same make and model from a private party. While you won't get the factory inspection, you could hire a mechanic for $100 to look for any problems. Buying used cars sometimes require you to be extra careful.
2. Buying From Individuals
Pro: The cars are cheaper.
Con: You're buying a high-ticket item from a complete stranger. Once the deal is closed, you'll have little recourse if you got stuck with a lemon. (In most states, lemon laws only apply to cars bought through a dealership.)
Buying a vehicle from a private party will take the most legwork, but it will also most likely yield the greatest deals. Again, internet auto sites can help you in buying used cars. Sites like CarsDirect.com
provide detailed descriptions and pictures of vehicles in local areas.