If you’ve ever been in the market to buy a new vehicle, you may have heard the old adage that a car’s value decreases the minute you drive it off the lot. This means that used cars can provide excellent value. Yet buying a used vehicle is far more complicated these days than in the past. While visiting a used car lot can be intimidating in itself, you now have a wealth of websites and online classifieds to choose from, from eBay to Craigslist. With the goal of finding a high quality car at the lowest possible price online, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind.
The main advantage of buying a used car online is that it puts you in a position of power. You have numerous tools at your disposal to compare makes and models of cars, learn more about a car’s features, and narrow down what you’re looking for. Rather than settling for the closest fit on a lot, you can browse thousands of listings from the comfort of home.
Choose a Car with a Paper Trail
A seller should be able to provide you with records of the car’s maintenance and insurance history. It’s best to choose a car that has been serviced by the same mechanic, which will give you a more consistent source of information over the years. You’ll also want to choose a car with a clean title; without any liens or other legal issues attached to it.
Get an Independent Mechanical Assessment
Even with the car’s maintenance and repair history in your hands, you’ll still want to have your own mechanic take a look at it. This could simply be a friend who is knowledgeable about cars, or you could take it in to a local shop. Don’t rule out purchasing a vehicle that has a minor mechanical issue. You could use this to negotiate a lower price, provided that the cost of repairs isn’t sky-high.
Look at Running Costs and Resale Values
The sticker price is what you will pay up front, but you must also think about running costs and whether or not you’ll be able to resell the vehicle for a decent price down the line. For example, if you buy a new Toyota Yaris at carsales.com.au or other listings sites, it will hold only 56% of its resale value after three years. You can search for new and resale values using numerous online resources, like Kelley’s Blue Book in the USA or Glass’s Guide in the UK. When you are calculating running costs, think about issues like fuel economy, repairs, and general upkeep. By choosing major name brands like Honda cars with a solid reputation and easy-to-find parts, you can cut down on maintenance costs.
Exercise your Right to Bargain
Finally, it’s both accepted and expected that you will try and bargain a low price on a used car. Using internet research and comparison shopping, you should be able to negotiate a great price on the gently used car of your dreams.