Top Ways To Save When Buying A Used Car


Vehicles are depreciating assets, meaning they decline in value over time. The result is that new cars, lose value from the moment you drive them off the lot, making used cars the best deal in many cases. Older cars are also less expensive, tend to have lower insurance costs, and many models will still provide reliable transportation for a decade or more.

The challenge with buying a used car is assessing their value and getting the best possible deal on a reliable car. A well-researched purchase will save you money for years to come.

Make a List of Potential Used Cars

Start with features that matter to you and find out which cars meet those needs. Often car models do not change significantly from year to year, giving you similar features to newer cars at a lower cost. The cost of ownership goes well beyond the initial purchase price. Considering items like maintenance, insurance, warranties, and financing costs will help you determine how much it will cost to own a particular year make and model.

Before you begin visiting dealerships or private sellers, explore options that fall within your price range. Understand the price range you want to stay within, as well as a comfortable monthly payment. If you prefer a vehicle less than five years old, consider a certified pre-owned vehicle to reduce upfront costs.

Check Prices

Depending on where you buy your vehicle, prices can range drastically. Private party sales will usually have a lower selling price than a dealer because they don’t have business costs to consider. Private sellers, however, offer no warranties, and you have no recourse if the car fails to perform. Dealers also sell used cars “as is,” but are more likely to provide after sale service.

Web sites such as True Car will help you evaluate what others are paying for the year make and model you want to buy. A company like CarFax offers vehicle reports alerting you to accidents and in some cases vehicle service records. These factors all impact the price of a car.

Contact The Seller

Speaking to the seller before test driving a car will enable you to find out more about the vehicle, check the VIN Number for accidents and compare insurance prices across car models. Important information about condition and mileage largely impact the resale value of the vehicle. Armed with this valuable information you can verify the approximate value of the car you want on websites such as Kelly Blue Book or the NADA, before making an offer, test driving, or falling in love with a particular vehicle.

Negotiate The Deal

Buying a vehicle can be an emotional decision, however, to get the best deal, using financial information will lead to a more objective purchase for the car you love. A few keys to getting the best price include making an opening offer lower than your maximum price, but is within the average price range of the vehicle. Having any required financing in place, (or knowing your credit score), before negotiating, gives you more leverage. Being willing to walk away can be a powerful motivator and lead to paying a lower price.

Being knowledgeable about what you are buying and its current value will put you in the driver’s seat and lead to financial savings.