The majority of households in the United States own at least one vehicle and some rely on two or three to get everyone where they need to go. For many families, used cars and used trucks are a cost-efficient way to make sure they can get to work, school, or other commitments. For farmers, a used truck that’s still in great condition can make a huge difference in getting their jobs done. Between deals done by car dealers and private-party deals, almost 40 million cars change owners annually and the average vehicle has about three owners over the span of its life. In 2021, IHS Markit research reports that over 20 million vehicles on the road will be over 25 years old. Just because a car is older doesn’t mean there’s not life in it yet! But why buy used? And how do you distinguish a good used car from the clunkers? What should you be looking for?
Why You Should Be Buying Used Vehicles
Cost is often a factor, both upfront and when you take depreciation into consideration. It’s estimated that a new vehicle depreciates in value about 20% when it’s first driven off the lot, whereas used cars don’t depreciate quite as quickly. Insurance can also decrease if you buy a used car, as the overall value is lower.
Cars are also lasting longer. One hundred thousand miles used to be the “limit” but now cars are on the road that are approaching 200,000 miles. Of course, you always want to try and buy a used car with the lowest amount of mileage possible, but a two-year-old used car has plenty of life left in it.
With vehicle history reports accessible and available for interested car owners to look at and certified pre-owned vehicles becoming a more prevalent sight on car dealer lots, purchasing used cars or trucks is becoming a much more appealing option to many folks.
What You Should Keep In Mind When Buying a Used Car
Certain models of cars have a better track record when it comes to longevity and reliability. Targeting those kinds of cars is a good idea, as you know that they’ll be more reliable as they age. Caution is always good when you’re buying a used car, especially if you’re doing a private deal, rather than going through a car dealer. Check out the vehicle identification number to view any red flags like title problems, mileage validation, or salvage history.
Always take the vehicle for a test drive, like you would with a new car. You can get a feel for how it drives and if something isn’t quite right, you may be able to tell with the test drive. And, if possible, get a certified mechanic to come inspect the vehicle before you buy.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the dealer on the price of the used vehicle and figure out your loan ahead of time. Dealers who offer you a loan actually can make more money that way, so get ahead of the game, and get your finances in order first!
Why Consider Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles?
The overall risk associated with buying a used car is reduced somewhat, when you purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle. These used cars or trucks generally have under 50,000 miles and go through a rigorous inspection before being labeled as certified pre-owned. They also include an extended warranty — which many used cars do not have — and are backed by the manufacturer.
This gives car owners some comfort that the vehicle they’re buying is quality, won’t fall apart any time soon, and that they’re getting the most bang for their buck. Do make sure you look closely to see what the warranty covers — and what the time frame looks like.
Buying a car is a weighty decision — and for some, the first big purchase they’ll make — and knowing what to look for can be comforting and helpful. Looking at used cars for sale can be a great option if you do your homework and conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle.