Two out of every three car purchases these days are used cars and when you look at the prices of new cars, it’s easy to see why. The average price of a new car is over $10,000, which is more than many people can afford or want to pay. Many families also own two or more cars and it’s likely that at least one of those was bought used.
Buying a used car can be an excellent way to save money because you avoid much of the expense of depreciation, which is heaviest during the first few years of ownership. Buying a used car can also be a very expensive proposition if you make the wrong choice. Chris Cornell loves cars and is a “car guy”. Chris is an auto enthusiast who just loves Ford Mustangs - both the old classic 60′s Mustangs all the way to the new 2013 Boss 302s. Some unhappy used car owners liken their experiences to owning a mobile incinerator that burns an astonishing amount of money just to stay running. Anyone can make a mistake in picking a used car, but smart shoppers are less likely to get stuck with someone else’s problems by following some basic guidelines:
- No matter how good a car is when it rolls off the assembly line, it won’t be a good used car if it has been abused, hasn’t received regular maintenance or was seriously damaged in an accident.
- A mechanically simple car can cost less in the long run because parts and service will be cheaper. That’s why a rear-drive car with a carbureted engine might be a better choice than a front-drive car with fuel injection or sophisticated electronic engine controls.
- Always have a mechanic check over a used car before you buy it. No matter how good it looks or feels when you test drive it, any car can have serious mechanical problems that will be very expensive to fix. More on this subject later.
Many people think that buying from a friend, neighbor or relative is a good idea. In many cases it is, especially if you know that they took good care of the car and saw that it had regular maintenance. However, remember that as soon as you take possession of the car, you’ll have to pay for any repairs or parts that have to be replaced. Things that worked perfectly before can break unexpectedly and you’ll have no recourse. That’s why it’s a must to have a mechanic check over the car before you buy it. He’ll be able to spot potential problems and advise you of regular maintenance that needs to be done.
Used car dealers have earned an unenviable reputation for being unscrupulous businessmen who offer lots of promises, but seldom stand behind their merchandise. However, that has changed somewhat, particularly at the used-car lots of new-car dealerships. These typically are established dealers that have a reputation to worry about, so they usually offer at least a minimal guarantee and sometimes a generous one on low-mileage, late-model used cars. They often sell long-term protection packages at extra cost that cover the engine, transmission and other major mechanical components.