In The Market for a Used Car Bargain?

August 9th, 2022 by

We’ve all heard stories lately about the precipitous spike in used car prices during the pandemic. Some used cars were priced higher than the price the car sold for originally. The biggest factor causing this was the chip shortage which resulted in the scarcity of new car inventory. While this scarcity is still causing used car prices to be higher than normal, they have eased off a bit, due to rising interest rates and increased fuel prices.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), current used car prices are 48% higher than they were in the first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic brought the world to a screeching stop. So how in the world are you able to get a deal on a used car these days?

used car bargainUsed car prices have risen faster than new car prices, but you can take advantage of that if you’re going to trade in a car for your newer used car. Because of the price spike, dealers are giving top dollar for trade ins, especially cars between 2 and 5 years old.

Used car shopping has always been tough, but some factors are making it much easier. The internet has allowed people to compare cars online, research prices, and even shop and complete a purchase without ever leaving the couch.

While the buy from home market is growing, though still small, most consumers still want to kick the tires and test drive the car they’re interested in before making the purchase. If you do end up visiting the dealership to see the car, the internet has made it possible for you to research the car, the market conditions, other similar vehicles, and even the financing. This gives the consumer more power in negotiating than ever before.

Finding a great low cost vehicle is easier than ever before. Cars built in the last few years are so well made that they easily run over 100,000 miles and still be in good operating condition.  Generally speaking, you can find better deals on smaller cars with better fuel economy. Also, whhen manufacturers decide to discontinue a particular model, the used car prices that car can be very attractive.

Some buyers are hung up on the brand of car. Toyota and Honda have a great reputation for long lasting performance and reliability, but those brands come with a higher price tag.  Other car makers such as Mazda, Nissan, Hyundai, or Kia are producing high quality vehicles that can offer a better price than the two big boys from Japan.

So, you’ve done some research. You’ve looked for the car you want at the dealers inventory online, you’ve compared similar cars at other stores, now it’s off to the dealership to see what you can do.  Obviously, the first thing you want to do is to look at the car. Take a look at the car from all angles, making note of any blemishes, dents or dings. Dents and dings are necessarily a bad thing, as they don’t affect performance, but they can lower your price.

Next is a test drive to feel how the car performs. Don’t play the radio during the test drive, rather listen for any unusual sounds coming from the engine, transmission, or suspension. If you can, drive the car on the highway as well as surface streets during the test drive in order to get a better feel for how you’ll actually be using it.

As for the condition of the car, you should ask for a vehicle history report and if possible, have a certified mechanic perform a thorough inspection of the car.

There are negotiating tactics at your disposal that you can use to get the best deal on a particular car. Some people will get all of their research done and go into the dealership ready for a fight. This will not work in most cases, as the old saying goes, “you get more flies with honey rather than vinegar”.

When you look at prices online, you may be worried that they’re too high. Used car sellers know that there will almost always be haggling, so they will build into their pricing some room to move from the original price.

To get the best deal, you should politely see what the dealer is willing to offer and be prepared to make a counteroffer based on your research and financial needs. Making a ridiculously lower offer may be counterproductive, so be reasonable and base your offer on facts, not emotion.

When negotiating, don’t get to attached to a particular car. If you’ve found similar cars at other dealers with higher or lower prices than the one you’re looking at, that could mean that there’s more wiggle room in the price the dealer is offering you. If you’re too much in love with a particular car, you may be afraid to walk away from a deal you consider too high.

When you finally decide to buy, try to get the best rate on your car loan. Your car dealer often has multiple lending sources at their disposal and can get you the lowest interest rate. Other sources would be your bank or credit union, but you make like the convenience of doing all of the paperwork at the dealership.

Whatever you decide about choosing your next car or truck, you’ll be best served if you find a dealership with a reputation for honest dealing and great service.

For over 85 years, Dixie Buick GMC has served the Ft. Myers area, offering a diverse inventory of both new and used vehicles to choose from. Our highly trained sales team is ready to help you select your next vehicle, and our certified factory trained service technicians are equipped to handle your service needs. If you have any automotive needs in the Naples, Cape Coral, or Ft Myers area, we hope you will stop by and let us serve you. For more information, visit our website or contact us. We hope to see you soon!

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