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Tips On Buying A Second Hand Car


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Whether to buy a new car or buy a used car is often times the first decision that needs to be arrived at before you can actively begin perusing purchasing your next vehicle.

Let’s take a look at some tips, pros, and cons when it comes to making this decision.

First of all, having been in the automotive business for many years, I almost always lean toward finding a good used car that fits what I am looking for. For me, I believe that used cars offer the best value for your dollar. In most cases, you’ll find used car departments are much more used to and willing to negotiate the price that they have posted on the car. From a negotiating standpoint, most used cars won’t have all of those superfluous dealer ‘add-ons’ stuck on the window either that will just never do.

In the automotive market, used cars will most certainly come with a lower initial price tag than a comparably equipped new car. And not only will the price be lower, you may also find that so is your cost to insure the used car as well as the tags, and taxes. Depreciation being what it is; means that with a car a couple of years old, the biggest depreciation hit has already occurred. And from a tangible perspective, you may have a better chance of getting those upgrades you’d like to have on the used car that you couldn’t otherwise afford going with the new.

Yet, with all of this, buying a used car isn’t for everyone. Finding a used vehicle that fits one’s entire car buying criteria can be a tough exercise in balancing what you want with the value versus risk inherent when it comes to used cars.

Not so many years ago, reliability was a major concern when purchasing a used car… and rightfully so. Today however, reliability problems are a fraction of what they used to be. Today’s vehicles, when properly maintained will easily go for 100,000 miles and it’s not uncommon for vehicles to be motoring along as they approach 200,000 miles or more. And with all of the information now available online, the risk factor is again reduced even a bit more.

Even though more reliable today, buying a used car for people means buying a car that is probably out of its original bumper to bumper warranty. This alone, is enough to repel many potential car buyers back to the new car side of the dealership.

As you know, if you are looking at buying a used car, you are probably looking at a car that is outside the factory warranty or at least would have very little remaining. With no warranty you’ll be on the hook to pay for any needed repairs out of your own pocket. However, the biggest expense for most all cars today are the things that aren’t covered by any manufacturer’s warranty anyway; items such as brakes, tires, alignment, batteries, etc.

Of course nobody can guarantee that you won’t encounter a lemon. No matter what the make and model, no manufacturer can produce a vehicle that can withstand years of neglect and/or abuse. Always, always, always give the used car a thorough inspection both by yourself and a qualified mechanic; doing this will catch most problems that may be looming on the horizon.

When it comes to financing the purchase of a used car, you find that the going interest rates will typically be higher than new car rates. This is definitely a piece of the puzzle you’ll want to check out. There is no rule of thumb as to what the difference in the interest rate will be between the two because there are just too many determining variables involved such as; the economy, rebates and incentives involved on the new car side, your credit, length of financing, and even the type of used car you’re looking at. Be sure to crunch the numbers for both sides.

With used cars, insurance can save you some money as well because you’ll typically pay less for your insurance on a like model from a few years past. The reason is simple; less cost of replacement for the insurance company and used cars are generally not high on the stolen lists.

And finally, (the latest) safety features could be a concern if you’re looking at used car (particularly if you’re going back a few model years).

All in all, if the touch, feel, and smell of a new car, isn’t a top priority for you, I think you’ll find that a well thought out used car purchase you can get more car and features and still be within your budget.

Jeff Neilan's car dealer experience offers insightful car buying tips that save you time and money. Be sure to visit for car financing tips, ownership costs, & more


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