6 Tips for Purchasing a Used Car
Time to kick old clunkers to the curbBy Statepoint.net
Consumers not only think that used cars on average are older at the time of sale than they actually are, but also less expensive, according to an Ally Financial survey of American adults conducted by The Harris Poll.
On average, Americans think the average age of a used vehicle at the point of sale is 6.6 years, according to the survey, but the 2019 Edmunds Used Vehicle Report put the average age at 4 years. The Ally survey also found that, on average, consumers believe the average price of a used vehicle is $9,860; but actually it’s more than twice that amount — $20,664 — according to Edmunds.
“Even though many Americans are buying used cars, the survey shows many people lump all used cars in with old clunkers,” says Matt Arnold, senior regional vice president of Auto Finance at Ally. “It’s time to let go of old stereotypes. With a used vehicle, you’ll either end up with a lot more car for your money, or a lot more money in your wallet.”
For those shopping for a used car or considering doing so, Matt offers the following tips:
1Prioritize needs and wants
Think practically about which features are necessary. Some nice-to-have tech features add to the price and can cost thousands of dollars in repairs if they break.
2Get a vehicle history report
The minimal cost is worth the investment, and some car dealers will provide it for free upon request
3Know your budget
Beyond the purchase price, your automotive budget should include insurance, finance costs and ongoing maintenance and repairs.
4 Research finance options
A healthy down payment can reduce monthly costs — at least 10% of the purchase price is recommended for a used car.
5 Go online
Auto dealers want buyers to walk away feeling good about their purchase and welcome well-researched shoppers. Prepare yourself by checking online resources like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds for a specific vehicle’s local market value.
6 Consider a service contract
Protection plans help provide peace of mind and can cover expenses for repairs and replacement parts that may no longer be under a manufacturer’s warranty.
“Ultimately, today’s used vehicles are better quality and feature more options than ever before,” says Matt. “With many of the same tech and safety features that new cars offer but at a significantly lower price point, they’re a smart alternative for all budgets and lifestyles.”