Why should I buy a used car?

used-carBuying a new car is great. You don’t have to worry about the quirks that come along with an older car that someone else has already driven. But there are plenty of reasons to buy a used car, especially when you have the option of buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a brand like Kia. Buying used doesn’t always mean buying a car with problems. There are lots of reasons someone would sell their car back to a dealership. Trade-in programs are one of the biggest reasons—it makes buying a new car less expensive. Here’s what you need about buying a used car:

1. You’ll spend less on a car. You can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a car that has already been used. You might even be able to buy the same care that you were going to purchase new off the lot, in an older model year. New cars depreciate in value and they depreciate quickly. A survey of car buyers found that people who buy used spend around $13,000 less than those who bought new cars. Take this, for example. You could buy a car, drive it around town for a few hours, and then bring it back to the lot. That car is no longer new, even though you have owned it for only a few hours. If you were to sell it back to the dealership, they would have to sell it as a used car. Because of this, they would have to sell it at a much lower price than what you paid for it, only a few hours ago. If you drive that same car for three years, it is worth only a little over half of what you paid for it originally. Those numbers sound rough when you are buying a new car, but if you are thinking about buying a used car, they mean you can pick up a car that is perfectly functional, for much less than you would have to pay for the new version of that same car.

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2. The car will probably be just as reliable. One of the biggest misconceptions about used cars is that they are always going to be less reliable than a new car. While this is likely true if you buy a ten year old car off of a lemon lot, when you buy a certified pre-owned vehicle, you are buying a car that has been thoroughly inspected, tuned, and is ready to hit the road again. Thirty years ago, it would be difficult to find a vehicle that was five years old that was just as reliable as a brand new car. Luckily, you are not trying to buy a car in the 1980s, you are buying one in the 2010s, when vehicle are built to be much more durable and last far longer than their predecessors. Most new cars have at least fifteen years in them. If you buy a car that is three years old, you’ll pay a fraction of the price of a new car and you will still have over a decade of driving time on that car. The average car drives for about eleven years without any major problems. They just last longer, which means you will pay less for repairs and get more miles than you would have ever before.

 

3. A certified pre-owned vehicle can be just as high quality as a new car. In order to qualify for one of these programs, a vehicle usually has to be in “like new” condition. This means that they have a low mileage, they were properly cared for by their owners, and they have had the maintenance they need in order to continue functioning properly. You probably will notice little difference between vehicles in a certified pre-owned program and brand new vehicles. Many of these vehicles are the ones that were leased previously or even were rental cars before they were sold to the dealership. Of course, there will always be some vehicles on used lots that are not in this excellent condition, but if you are looking for an even cheaper option to just get you around town, you might not need something that is in “like new” condition. Even if the vehicle is in one of the CPO programs, you might still want to check their VIN to make sure they have not been in any serious accidents.

 

4. Vehicle history reports make it easy to know where this vehicle has been. It is important to note that a vehicle history report only contains the information about a vehicle that has been actively reported, but this is a good way to find out if the vehicle you are considering buying has a clean history and if it has ever been in an accident. This takes away much of the fear that can come along with buying a used car and not knowing where it comes from or who drove it before you. In these reports, you will learn how many owners the vehicle has had, where the vehicle has been registered, if that vehicle has ever been in an accident or was flooded or repaired, and a validation that the number of miles on the odometer is the number of miles that should be on the odometer. With this information in hand, you can make an extremely informed decision and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you are actually buying a lemon when you are being promised a vehicle in like new condition.

Avoiding Lemons: How to Buy the Best Used Car

The best way to avoid buying a lemon is to avoid the lemon lot. Still, depending on where you’re shopping, it’s still possible to find a lemon on a used car lot, even if it’s surrounded by reliable, functional cars. One of the perks of shopping on our used car lot is knowing that all of those cars have been serviced and certified—so you’ll never buy a lemon. Here are some other ways you can make sure you’re not purchasing a very used car.

1. Ask to see the car’s history. It’s surprising how many people will buy a used car without asking to see its history. Every used car has a history, and even if the only thing on that car’s history is routine maintenance, at least you’ll know that whoever owned the car before you actually took care of it. If there is absolutely nothing on the car’s history report, that isn’t any reason to panic. Those reports only show what is actually actively reported on those numbers, so it’s unlikely they’ll have a record of every single thing that has ever happened to that car.

2. Look for damage. Some cars will come onto a used lot with a little bit of damage. They get discounted because they’re not in pristine shape. Sometimes, a car will show up on a used lot that looks pristine, but has actually been in a major accident. What’s wrong with having a car that’s been in a major accident? If it’s ever in one again, the occupants of that vehicle are more likely to be hurt, because the car’s frame may not have its original structural integrity. Evidence of repainting or uneven painting can be a good indication that the car has had massive body work done.

best used car3. Inspect the engine. Even if you’re not a car maintenance expert, you probably know what a clean, functional engine should look like. When you buy a vehicle from a used lot like ours, it will already have a maintenance check and be completely ready to go. If you’re not sure, you can always have it inspected again.

4. Check the mileage. Today’s cars are built to last and many will run perfectly smoothly even after 100,000 miles of asphalt. You’ll still want to take a look at the mileage. A two-year-old car that has hundreds of thousands of miles has probably been driven hard. This means it also should have had regular maintenance. If it hasn’t, you might want to stay away. However, an older car with low mileage probably means it didn’t see much action and will still have decades of good miles on it.

5. Research used car prices. Once you’ve found a used car that you want to buy, ask for the make and model and model year and run a quick search for similar cars. You can probably get a good idea of what cars like that are being sold for in our area. A used car is almost always a better deal than buying a new car, but if you don’t check the prices yourself, you might not be getting as great of a deal as you otherwise would. Don’t be afraid to take a moment and step out to make sure that car is properly priced and the seller isn’t trying to sell a used car for more than its worth.

6. Look for out-of-state titles. If you’re not buying a car from a certified used car lot like the one at our Kia dealership, you will probably want to be wary of out-of-state titles. Sometimes, criminals will steal cars and then they will ship them across state lines, where it is more difficult for the police to track them. Some people will also submit a car for salvage, but the buyer will transport it into another state to sell it, instead, as crossing state lines can “wash” the title of that salvage indicator.

 7. Ask the dealership to run a warranty check. If you take the VIN to a dealership that sells the make of the car you want to buy and ask them to run the number for you, they should be able to tell you if any work has been done on that vehicle that was covered by the warranty. For example, if the engine, transmission, brakes, etc. have been replaced within the warranty period, this could tell you that the car has an issue with that component or just that the car has a new transmission, engine, brakes, etc.

8. Watch out for cars that have no record of regular maintenance. Some people simply do not take their cars in for regular maintenance. While this is fine when the car isn’t experiencing any problems, it can devastating in the long run. Regular fixes and tuning can prevent more serious problems from occurring in the future—which is when you are going to be driving this car. Most people save the receipts from their oil changes and checkups, so ask to see them.

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9. Consider purchasing an extended warranty. If you’re purchasing a car that still has some of its warranty left, you may not want to extend your warranty quite yet. However, if you’re buying a car that is already out from its warranty, you might want to consider purchasing a new one or an extension to ensure that you can benefit from this program. If you purchase a Kia that is less than ten years old, you’re likely to still have plenty of time left on your warranty.