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How To Save Big on Your Next Used Car Purchase

By Charles Hopkins Published 10/23/2007 | Auto and Trucks
Buying a new car is a long-term investment that should not be taken lightly. Buying a new car is definitely the second highest investment you will make other than the purchase of a new or previously occupied home. Car expenses that continue after the initial purchase like gas and maintenance make a new car purchase even more expensive.

For those that cannot afford the total costs involved with the purchase of a new car, they can settle on the purchase of a previously owned car.

According to consumer reports, a new car depreciates in value once it leaves the car dealer lot. The depreciation amount can be as high as 20% annually. Considering this, you can see that it might be easy for someone to buy a fairly new car at almost half the price of what the car would cost new.

If you find the right deal at the right price, you could possibly move up to a higher end model compared to what you would purchase new. All in all, you save money since the value you are getting for your previously owned vehicle purchase will be significantly less than the same car purchased new.

Before buying a previously owned vehicle, it is best to narrow down the model and options you are willing to spend your money on. It is important to research your potential car purchase, looking at the model, its options, its safety features and other items. Armed with the complete knowledge about a certain vehicle of interest enables you to get the right car for the right price from most any dealer.

Obviously, you can buy a previously owned car from a dealer or from a private individual. It stands to reason that you can get a better price from an individual but he may not be able to prove certain things like if the vehicle was in an accident like a dealer could. The dealer can also give a short warranty on the vehicle and also would be able to provide a free Carfax report if you request it.

Tips for previously owned vehicle purchases

You should check if the dealer or individual has a good reputation or is able to provide adequate records of maintenance, accidents, etc.

Make sure you thoroughly test drive the vehicle and also check to see if all the accessories work. Turn all the switches on and off to make sure all the electrical features work.

Most cars will have a maintenance record of some kind. Request those records from the dealer or individual and if they are not available, find out where the work was done and ask them about the vehicle.

Since most people are not knowledgeable about cars, it is advisable to bring the car to a reliable mechanic for a proper and thorough inspection.

There are many car dealers in the car market today. Take your time and inquire with more than one dealer when looking for your car. If you cant find your car right away, ask a reputable dealer to try and find one for you. Give the dealer information about how much you are willing to pay, what specific colors you want and things like that. The dealer may either find that specific car or offer another model that is very similar to the one that you desire.