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Preparing To Buy A Used Vehicle

Shopping for a great used car takes a lot of work. Unlike new car inventory that features a large number of never before driven vehicles, the much larger used car inventory is composed of everything from demo models to run down old jalopies. As a result, finding the best quality vehicle means sorting through a far greater reserve of available cars. We offer some advice on how to find a great used car when there is so much to look at!

Determine What You Want and Need

First things first when buying a used car: How much can you afford to pay? Who will be driving the vehicle? What technology and safety features are important to you? Where will you be driving it? Answering these questions and being specific about the type of car you want will narrow your search parameters. For instance, you might be thinking, “I can pay up to $25,000 for a late model Hyundai Tucson, Chevy Equinox or a Dodge Charger (crazy, we have one of each of those in stock at the moment), equipped with Navigation and outfitted with leather seats. I will use this car as my daily driver.” At this point you have targeted your inventory to focus popular trending vehicle, or say perhaps you’ve budgeted x dollar for fuel each month and you drive a distance to work, you’ve now targeted fuel efficient vehicles as your primary search.

Analyze and Review

With your choices sufficiently narrowed, it is time to evaluate what is left in a bid to shrink your search parameters further. There are some additional questions you need to ask yourself, including: What trim packages do I require? Am I looking for a V6 or a V8 engine? Is fuel efficiency important to me? You should also find car reviews and read what the reviewers have to say about each vehicle.

Do you want a car with good crash test ratings? Head over to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website to see how the vehicles you’re considering perform in crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also provides crash test scores and recall information. The more you know about a vehicle going in, the better for your ownership experience. Use this information to help you narrow your search to just one make and model.

Search For Specific Vehicles

There are a number of ways for you to search for a great used car.  You might start by going directly to the dealer’s website for current inventory and pricing.  If a dealer doesn’t list pricing of a used vehicle, you must ask yourself why?  Knowing what you may be paying before you begin the process is extremely important!!

Review the Car

Once you find a vehicle that interests you, arrange for an appointment to review the car in person. It is best to see a car during daylight hours to accurately gauge the body’s condition, including the finish, trim and accessories. You need to ensure that the body panels match and fit. Raise the hood, check hoses, belts and the condition of the battery. Verify that the coolant is clean and that the engine oil and transmission fluid are clear. Look inside the car and check the condition of the seats, the dashboard and trim. Test every electronic feature for workability, including the seats, steering wheel, Navigation, the audio system, power accessories and other features.

Look for trouble signs under the hood, inside the car and in the trunk. Problems like possible water damage could be present if you notice odd smells such as mildew.

Go For a Drive

Get behind the wheel of the car and take it for a drive. You should drive the car exactly as you plan to use it. Test the lights, adjust the audio system, switch on the cruise control and adjust the suspension settings, if available. Take note of how the car steers and handles, as well as its acceleration and braking, ride comfort, sight lines and other driving factors. It is important for you to uncover as much information about the car as you can through real world driving since a lot of money could be riding on your experience.

If you need financing, a reputable used car dealer is going to have banks that they work directly with.  Try to avoid buy here pay here situations, or dealers that finance you “in house.”   Relationships with Credit Unions are important, they’ll help you establish or maintain positive credit history provided you are making timely payments.

Thanks for taking the time to read our advice (hopefully it wasn’t to one sided).  Check out all of our inventory at www.jandjautoplex.com find us on Facebook, call us 620.805.6800, or stop by and visit (you never know, maybe we’ll buy a free cup of coffee)! 

Compare the Costs: Buying a New Car vs. Used

While buying new cars is enticing, we think consumers should take a cold hard look at how much you could save over time by buying used cars instead.

The average person owns 13 cars in a lifetime, each costing an average of $30,000, according to a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association. If each of those cars was 3 years old, instead of new, you could save nearly $130,000 during your lifetime.

The real money-saver in buying a used car is wrapped up in a sinister-sounding financial word: depreciation.

Depreciation: Car buying’s dirty little secret

Once you fully understand how car depreciation (that will be another blog) sucks money out of your wallet, you’ll learn how to save boatloads of cash over your lifetime. You often hear that a car loses 20% of its value as soon as you buy it. Yes, in just one minute, a $30,000 car will lose $6,000 as you gleefully drive off. By the end of the first year, mileage and wear and tear could bring that to 30%, or $9,000. Why don’t you feel this big hit? Because it takes effect much later, when you sell or trade in your car.

Take a look at two similar cars, one new and one used.

New-car depreciation: You buy the car for $30,000 and sell it three years later for $15,000. The car has cost you $15,000 in depreciation.

Used-car depreciation: Now let’s say you buy the same car, but it’s 3 years old when you buy it. You could buy the car for $15,000. Three years later you could sell it for $10,000. So the used car depreciation cost you only $5,000.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you would quickly say, “But driving a brand new car is much better!” You’re absolutely right. So, if driving a new car is worth an extra $10,000 to you, go for it. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Forget the old used-car stigmas

It used to be common for people to put down used cars by saying that it was just a way to buy someone else’s problems. That’s not true anymore. Here are two updates on old knocks against used cars of recent vintage.

Reliability: Cars have never been more dependable than they are today. It’s not uncommon for some cars to deliver more than 100,000 miles before needing major repairs.

Maintenance: All cars require regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation, brake jobs. But you can drive today’s cars much farther in between these scheduled maintenance visits. Even tires and brake pads last much longer than before.

More used-car advantages

So it’s pretty clear that buying a used car is much cheaper and that cars in general are more dependable. But take a look at these other advantages:

Lower car insurance rates.  When a vehicle is worth less, it costs less to insure it when you’re buying collision and comprehensive coverage. You can also drop collision and comprehensive coverage, which pay for repairs to your car, and save even more.

Registry renewals are cheaper: The cost of registering a used car goes down every year.

Move up to a luxury car: Because you can save 30% or more, you can shop in a higher class of cars.

Less stress: Got a ding in the door? Who cares? But when it’s the first dent in your new car, it’s a huge bummer.

Check out all of our USED CAR inventory today at JandJautoplex.com and thank you for being  loyal part of the J&J FAMILY!!