As a financially savvy consumer, you know the decision to buy a used car is an easy one. You understand that the average used vehicle costs around $27,147, according to Kelley Blue Book, compared to $48,008 for the average new car. You also know that buying used is the best way to protect yourself against steep depreciation, as new cars lose 20% of their value when they’re driven off the lot. You’re looking forward to lower dealership fees, lower insurance costs, and more value for your dollar.
You know you want to buy a used car, but which used car is right for you? We’ll help you make this important decision.
Set a Budget and Research Options
The money you have available may influence the type of used car you buy. If you want to buy a car outright, this is the money you have available for your purchase. If you’d prefer financing your used car, you can use an auto loan calculator to determine how much you can afford to borrow based on your down payment, preferred term, and repayments.
Newer used cars, including certified pre-owned vehicles, are usually more expensive than older vehicles. Compacts are among the most affordable used cars while luxury vehicles and SUVs are some of the priciest. Research cars that are within your budget so you understand their market value. Knowing the value of used vehicles helps you avoid paying too much. Kelley Blue Book is a trusted resource for used car values. Remember to factor in all costs, including insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Insuring new used cars can be more costly, but they usually cost less to maintain and need fewer repairs.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle may also steer you toward the right used car. If you work in the construction industry, you might need a used truck, such as a Dodge pickup, to carry tools and materials to job sites. If you have a family, a used Chrysler SUV or minivan may be more appropriate. Compacts are great cars for single city dwellers, as they’re easy to park in tight spaces and weave through traffic. Because they’re cheap and user-friendly, they can also be a good option for your first vehicle if you’re a teen or college student.
When it comes to buying a used vehicle, don’t simply think about the practicalities of your daily life. Your leisure time is also important to consider. If you love boating or plan to travel around the country with a trailer, a used car with serious towing capacity, such as a used Ram, could be just what you need. If you love off-roading, consider a used Jeep that has features such as all-terrain tires and traction management systems. Think about what you want and need from your vehicle and find one that ticks all the boxes.
Think About the Features You Want
Consider the features that matter to you. If you love the luxury of leather and surround-sound stereo systems, you may be happiest with a high-trim used vehicle. On the other hand, if you want a car that’s easy to care for, a base model with cloth seats may be a better option. You may prefer an older model vehicle if you’re still hanging on to your CD collection, as newer vehicles don’t have CD players. If you’d prefer the peace of mind of modern safety equipment, look for contemporary cars with features such as reversing cameras and driver-assistance packages.
By this stage, you’ve probably got a list of makes and models you feel could suit you best. Reading reviews is a great way to determine whether the cars you’re considering are right for you. One of the advantages of buying a used car is that other motorists have tested them first. A quick online search should present plenty of published reviews from motoring experts. Websites, such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, also publish consumer ratings and reviews that can teach you what it’s like to own these vehicles over time.
Reading reviews can help you eliminate options that were once appealing, but don’t close yourself off to vehicles outside your list. When visiting a dealership, you’ll be able to inspect and test-drive a wide range of used vehicles, including many you may not have considered. Keeping an open mind can help you find a used car at a competitive price that fits you best.
Carefully Inspect the Used Car
If a used car seems like the right choice, don’t rush in. A careful inspection will confirm whether it’s right for you. A good used car is mechanically sound and free of major damage, and all its features work reliably. Its history report should show it’s been well maintained and hasn’t been in any major collisions.
It should travel smoothly, without any strange smells or sounds, when you take it for a test drive. If you don’t feel confident inspecting a vehicle, take a trusted family member or friend with you, or arrange for a mechanic to perform a prepurchase inspection.
Assess the Owner
Trust your instincts when you’re assessing the owner of the vehicle. If they seem evasive or try to rush you into a decision, they may be trying to hide something about the vehicle. It’s better to buy from someone who lets you take your time and answers any questions you have about the vehicle’s history.
Sales representatives at dealerships may be more trustworthy than private sellers, as their professional reputation hinges on your satisfaction. They’re also mandated to tell you whether a used car is a salvage vehicle, so you can feel confident in the vehicle you’re buying.
Find the Right Used Car at Huffines Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Plano
Find the right used car for your needs at our dealership in Plano, Texas. We have a wide selection of used cars from our flagship brands — Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram — as well as other high-quality auto brands. Our friendly team takes the time to get to know you so they can match you with a used car that best suits your needs. Visit our website for fast finance preapproval before you arrive to make the buying process even easier.