Unless you need the latest and greatest cars on the market, opting for a used car is one of the best ways to save several thousand bucks for a reliable and safe means of transportation. With a wide range of models available from small hatchbacks to large three-row SUVs, there is plenty of choice in the used car market. Even if you have a tight budget, cheaper options like a used Nissan Versa are available for sale among many dealer lots.
However, why stop there? you can save even more money on top of the used car savings by following these ten tips.
1. Setting an affordable budget
Before starting your used car journey, set an affordable budget depending on your monthly income and requirements. As expected, smaller models like hatchbacks and sedans will be a lot cheaper and easier to own than a large SUV. But fret not, depending on the age and mileage, even bigger models will be affordable. So, setting an affordable budget initially will help you avoid spending more than you can afford.
2. Finding the right model
Once you have a set budget, the next tip is to find the right model according to your requirements. For small families who commute a lot in the city, a small hatchback will be sufficient, offering seats for five passengers and a practical hatch to swallow up the weekly shopping. Sedans also offer similar practicality with more focus on dynamics and performance. However, if you can stretch your budget and require a car for a growing family, a used SUV will be the perfect companion, offering a balance of comfort and practicality. In the modern used car market, even all-electric models are available if you’re planning to make the move to electric.
Overall, do your research and find the perfect model and body style for your requirements, and make sure it fits your budget. If you can live without certain creature comforts and features, opting for base models will reduce the price even further and keep maintenance costs down if something goes wrong.
3. Skip the popular and best selling models
As usual, popular and best-selling models will fetch higher market prices because of their demand. As an example, popular “go-to” models like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and more will retain their value a lot longer, resulting in higher used prices and valuation. The high demand for these models will also limit negotiations since they are fast movers in the market. Bodystyle choices will also impact values, and in the modern market, SUVs are in high demand now, resulting in higher prices.
4. Older or discontinued models
Like the popular models in high demand, discontinued and less popular models will be valued a lot less, appealing more to the budget-conscious buyer. Discontinued cars will also offer a lot more value even with the high-spec models. Similarly, older models will also be substantially cheaper than usual, resulting in lower insurance and ownership costs. Considering an older car will also allow you to jump segments and opt for premium models for the same price, adding a lot more features and creature comforts for the same price. Since manufacturers usually stock up on spare parts for several years after they discontinue a model, servicing will not be an issue for the foreseeable future.
5. Always consider maintenance and ownership costs
Along with the initial buying cost, also calculate and keep aside a set amount for maintenance and upkeep of used cars. Unlike new models, used cars usually won’t be covered with the factory warranty. Because of this, the chances of unexpected repairs are high, so keep the extra expenses in mind just in case. Other expenses to keep in mind are fuel costs, insurance, finance charges, registration, taxes, and more. So, always consider all these ownership costs for easy long-term ownership.
6. Certified used cars
If you want an easier and safer ownership experience, certified used cars are a better option, offering warranty and checkups in most cases. Most dealers who sell certified cars also do a thorough checkup of the car and repair all the issues before putting it up for sale, providing a more peaceful and predictable ownership experience. Most dealers provide comprehensive warranty packages that cover maintenance and unforeseen repair costs, just like new models. Getting a loan or financing a certified used car will also be a lot easier and convenient.
7. Dealers or private buyers
When shopping for a used car, you’ll usually come across listings from private sellers and used car dealers. As usual, buying a used car from a dealer will be more expensive because of the dealer mark-up and convenience on offer. But, the increased price will usually include some warranty and a thorough checkup of the cars sold to avoid unforeseen repairs and issues. On the other hand, buying from a private seller will be a lot cheaper, but there is some risk involved with no warranties or checkups on offer. Of course, make sure you do a thorough checkup of the car you intend to buy at a manufacturer-authorized service center to detect any issues before finalizing the deal.
8. Vehicle history report
Buying a used car is a lot less risky if you opt for a complete vehicle history check through several services. The report will include any repairs, collisions, and major maintenance items. Services like Carfax can provide a comprehensive history with just the VIN of a car. Most dealers will include a copy of the vehicle history report for free to help you make an informed decision. The report will also reveal if the car has a salvage or branded title. Most importantly, it will also show the genuine mileage, letting you know if the odometer has been tampered with. If the report shows some minor fender benders or other issues, they can be used to negotiate for a better deal and bring down the final price. However, walk away if you spot any inconsistencies or major damages in the vehicle’s history.
9. Explore financing options
Once you find the best car that fits all your requirements, financing is the next big step. As usual, it’s a good idea to increase your downpayment to lower the overall interest rate. A higher downpayment will also lower the monthly payment amount. Try and explore several financing options before finalizing the best offer.
10. Taking a test drive and finalizing the deal
Even after all the vehicle history reports and checks, always test drive the car before going in for the final negotiations. If possible start the car when it’s cold and do a thorough test drive, both in the city and on the highway to check for any unusual noises and refinement issues. It’s also a good idea to bring a mechanic with you to spot issues that are usually missed. A lot can be revealed about the car and its previous owner from a simple tire check. If everything checks out, negotiate with the seller for the best price that you agree on and finalize the deal.