Used Cars: Where to Buy Them From?

Buying a reliable used vehicle and keeping it is a very budget friendly and wise thing to do. It happens to be the absolute cheapest way to own a car. Of course, like any car, it will need routine maintenance and occasional repairs, but overall, the right used car can really get you a lot of bang for your buck. 

Certified Dealership

A certified dealership is one that bears the name of a car company. For instance, there are Nissan dealerships and Ford dealerships, and they will sell both new and used cars. Certified dealerships typically bear the name of the franchise owner or another name of the owner’s choosing, and the dealership has to meet the standard of care and practices set forth by the car company. Think about how every Chick-fil-A employee, regardless of their location, will always say, “My pleasure.” 

Certified dealers also have certified pre-owned vehicles. Many car buyers like this option because the vehicle history is clear, it’s been through a rigorous inspection and it comes with an excellent warranty. Although this is the most expensive used car purchase, it does come with some guarantees that you won’t find with other used vehicles.

Independent Dealership

Independent dealerships are your local car dealers that are not affiliated with a car manufacturer. This includes places like Carmax and mom and pop dealerships. Depending on how large or small the company is, buyers can have very diverse experiences. Usually, independent dealers will repair any major defects with the vehicles before selling. Some allow for negotiating, while others do not. Some have return periods and others sell used cars as-is, negating the option to return. Independent dealers usually give buyers the option to purchase an extended warranty as well. If you’re looking for a great deal or have poor credit, this may be the better option for you. 

Private Seller

Buying a used car from a private seller can be very risky if you’re not careful. A private seller is someone who is not a car dealer. This includes, your neighbor, someone posting a classified ad in the newspaper or a site like Craig’s List and your brother-in-law. Warranties are not offered with private sellers and it’s your responsibility to have a mechanic check out the car and get it inspected before buying, to purchase an extended warranty if you like, to look up the car’s history and find financing if you need it. Again, the buyer experience with private sellers can vary greatly. Some people have great success while others have terrible horror stories. The key to having a good experience with a private sale is to be cautious, objective and judicious. Do as much fact checking regarding the make and model, the specific car you’re eyeing and the seller.

It can be really exciting hunting for a car, but there are some special considerations that come into play when you’re looking for a used car. Be smart about your purchase and be sure to do the necessary research to ensure you’re making a good buy. And most importantly, never be afraid to back out of a potential sale if you’re feeling uncomfortable. Trust your gut and your mechanic.