I personally never restrict my options when buying used cars. Why should you? Everyone is looking for a great deal. Why restrict your choices to the local dealership which has been exploiting your community for years? I would recommend that you visit trade-ins as well as browsing the internet for private sales. Some sellers also put up notices at the community center or in the department store. Of course you should not forget the power of the dealerships because they have the purchasing power to give you some really great deals.
- What about purchasing a new car? I would not recommend this. My personal experience is that the value of cars will deteriorate rapidly by up to 15% every single year. In fact some people are of the view that you start losing value the moment that you leave the parking lot at the dealership! That brand new BMW that you bought for $90,000 could end up losing $30,000 in value within a mere 12 months. No thank you…I would not risk my money on a brand new car. However some people are happy to take the plunge partly because it gives them the chance to show off. Of course the brand new car will almost always pass the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test (in the UK). It is less likely to break down and that can save you loads of money. It is also more likely to be environmentally friendly when compared to an old banger. I personally choose a car that is between 3 and 5 years, subject to a detailed test. It must be said that I have sometimes bought cars that are older than 10 years and they have invariably given me great pleasure. It is all part of the magical inconsistency of buying used cars.
- What about the mileage issue? I have had so many run-ins with used car salespeople about mileage. Invariably they will play about with the odometer. Therefore I recommend that you check the records and compare it with the digital reading. Of course ‘manual’ ones are easier to manipulate. Do not trust that smooth salesman. They are trained to tap into all your emotional and psychological weaknesses in order to close the deal. I would recommend that you buy a car than is ‘younger’ than 3 years but has a mileage of not more than 15,000 on the cloak. If the mileage is less than 10,000 then you have to make further inquiries about the accuracy of the reading. Likewise if the mileage is over 20,000 for a relatively new car then you should run a mile. Do not take on company vehicles or public transport write-offs. The seller is merely passing on their mechanical problems to you at a price. Cars that are driven hard are going to collapse at some point. You just have to ensure that you are not behind the wheel when this happens.
- What about luxury? Trust me, there is absolutely nothing as pleasurable as driving a luxury car. I once owned a Jaguar XJS and it often made me forget that I was still very much in this world. There are two schools of thought on this. You can either have a blast and repent at pleasure or live sparingly and never enjoy driving. Generally speaking the medium saloons and small cars are much easier to maintain that the convertibles. The hatchback will cost you almost $10,000 less per annum than a fully fledged luxury car. Even the standard service alone can set you back at least $1000 for each session if you are dealing with a Rolls Royce.
These are my top tips for buying used cars. There is no guarantee that you are going to get it right. In fact the chances are that you will get it wrong. The trick is to persevere and get as many options as possible going. If you find a good dealer then you must stick with them. It is nearly impossible to replace them in the future.