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5 Things to Look for Before Buying a Used Car

A used car represents one of the best ways to get a significant value for a vehicle. Almost all vehicles depreciate measurably after their first year off the dealer’s lot, and if you buy your car thoughtfully, you stand to benefit financially by opting for a used versus new vehicle. 

Before making your final decision, take these five points into consideration:

1. The Seller 

Used cars are available at new car dealerships, dealerships that specialize in nothing but used cars and private parties. As a general rule, consumers have more protections when they buy from a new car dealership because these companies offer “factory certified” cars that their service departments go through to correct any problems associated with the car. 

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If you’re considering buying from a used car outlet, be sure that they used a certified or factory-trained mechanic to go through the car to spot any deficiencies and the dealer has the documents to prove it. 

Buying from an unknown private party is the riskiest move when buying a used car, but resources do exist for you to trace the vehicles history. A seller who has the documentation about service and repairs to the vehicle reduces your risk, but short of that, you can access the car’s records using the website, carfax.com. This site shows you one-owner cars, whether it’s been used in a commercial capacity, if it’s accident-free and its service records, if any. 

2. Pre-purchase Inspection

While buying your car from a new car dealership mitigates the need for a mechanical pre-purchase inspection, it’s a good idea if you’re doing so from a private party or a used car dealership that doesn’t have an onsite service department. Look for a mechanic with ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) credentials. This not-for-profit organization tests applicant’s competence, as well as requires a certain level of experience and education, before certifying them. 

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3. The Financing

When you buy a used car, you may find that the financing programs are not as generous as they are for new vehicles. Lenders perceive that a used car won’t have as long a service life as a new one, and its value has already depreciated. New car dealerships may offer better financing for used cars because of the volume they have and their relationships with preferred lenders. 

If you buy from a private party, you’ll probably have to apply for a loan independently. Your interest rate will depend on your credit history and the risk the vehicle poses to the lender. Be sure you understanding the financing package thoroughly to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. 

4. The Warranty

Some vehicles continue to have an active warranty even after they’ve been sold to another owner. All car dealerships must include a Buyer Guide posted inside them that discloses whether it has a full warranty or it’s “as-is” with no warranty. Another kind of warranty is the warranty of merchantability. This will protect you only if the car breaks down after purchase from an issue it had at the dealer’s lot and the burden of proof rests on the consumer. 

5. Service Contracts

Vehicles may qualify for an extended warranty that will protect you for a given amount of time or mileage. Such a warranty is technically nothing more than a service contract and it may be a good idea if the vehicle you’ve chosen isn’t rated as dependably as other models. 

Buying a used car may make good financial sense for you. To learn more, contact the experts at Montgomeryville Nissan today, located at 991 Bethlehem Pike in Montgomeryville.