The impression of used cars and trucks has changed dramatically in recent years. Now widely referred to as "preowned vehicles," such automobiles are now the first choice of many buyers who want reliable vehicles without having to pay full sticker price.
While buying preowned vehicles is less risky today than it might have been two decades ago, there is still some risk for buyers who purchase cars that are not brand new. The following tips can help motorists find preowned vehicles that suit their needs and budgets.
· Do your homework. Drivers rarely buy brand new vehicles without first researching the makes and models they are considering. Whether they are checking a vehicle's safety ratings, gas mileage or warranty terms, buyers know that such research is essential to making the most informed decisions. Preowned vehicle buyers should be just as diligent as new car buyers, researching the vehicle's initial assessments and ordering a vehicle history report to determine if a vehicle they're considering has been in any accidents and how many drivers have previously owned the car. Buyers also should research manufacturer warranty terms to determine whether the original warranty is still in place or if they will need to purchase a new one.
· Develop a realistic budget. Budgets are important whether buyers are purchasing brand new or preowned vehicles. But while new car buyers can reasonably expect their maintenance costs to remain low for a few years, preowned vehicle buyers, especially those purchasing cars without warranties, should expect to deal with repairs sooner than they would if they were buying brand new cars. Leave some room in your budget for repairs and then look for vehicles that fit your budget. Maxing out your budget could prove disastrous if your car needs repairs sooner than expected, and if repairs are a long way off, you are still saving money.
· Make sure you are getting the best price. Preowned vehicle prices may be more flexible than the prices of brand new cars, but it's still up to buyers to ensure they're getting the best price. Resources such as Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) and the Edmunds.com True Market Value (TMV)® pricing tool can help buyers make the best buying decisions. Using such resources is quick and easy and can help buyers quell any concerns they might have about overpaying for preowned cars or trucks.
· Insist on a pre-purchase inspection for vehicles not designated as certified preowned vehicles. Before making an offer on a preowned vehicle, buyers should insist on a pre-purchase inspection performed by their own mechanics. Such inspections are not necessary when buying certified preowned vehicles from dealerships because such certifications are only granted when manufacturers or other certifying authorities have inspected the vehicles before they were offered for sale. If private sellers or dealers selling uncertified preowned vehicles resist your efforts to get a pre-purchase inspection, walk away and continue your search elsewhere.