Best buying practices make best used car purchases

James Raia

Using smart business practice will likely result in buying a quality used car.

The used car market is booming. According to industry analysts, about 40 million used cars get new owners each year in the United States.

It’s nearly 2 1/2 times the amount of new cars sold in the United States each year.

Used car superstores, private-party sellers, online sellers, specialty auctions, lease returns and combination new and used car dealerships flourish.

Using smart business practice will likely result in buying a quality used car.
Using smart business practices will likely result in buying a quality used car.

But with so many used cars available, what’s the best way to find a used car? And what are best practices for buying a used car? And what manufacturers have the best reputations?

Before selecting a vehicle, used car experts suggest the first step for a used car purchaser is to determine their budget or at least a budget range.

If you’re going to finance a vehicle, a standard recommended practice is to limited yourself monthly payment to no more than 20 percent of your take-home pay. If feasible, consider a small percentage because used cars will need maintenance.

One savvy way to purchase a used car less than five years old is to make sure it’s a certified pre-owned (CPO). It’s a long-term warranty guaranteed by carmakers, not just the dealership selling the vehicle. The caveat: Manufacturer franchises can only sell a CPO vehicle of the same brand.

If you’re planning to buy a vehicle that is less than 5 years old, consider one that’s certified pre-owned (CPO). CPO vehicles have long-term warranties backed by the carmakers, not just the dealership selling it to you. Franchised dealerships are the only companies who can sell a CPO car of the same brand. If you want a CPO Chevy Cruze, for example, you need to buy it from a Chevy dealer.

If you’re buying a used car out of warranty, considering a monthly savings plan in case repairs are required.

Deciding what manufacturer’s used car to purchase is, of course, is a top consideration.

Much like their new car models, which perennially include several of the country’s top-10 selling vehicles, used cars from Toyota and Honda have stellar reputations. But the two Japanese brands can also command top selling prices.

As alternatives, Kia and Hyundai, both made in South Korea, haven’t had the same legacies as Honda and Toyota. But the respective quality of the two brands has dramatically improved in yearly reliability studies by national analytics companies. Kia and Hyundai also have 10-year powertrain warranties.

Equally important in the process of buying a used car is to obtain a vehicle history report. AutoCheck and Carfax are the two most prominent vehicle history report companies. A vehicle report will determine whether a vehicle’s odometer has been turned back or if the vehicle has a salvaged title. A salvage title means the car been categorized as a total loss by an insurance company. Vehicles’ history is available via identification number (VIN) and or its license plate number.

Another smart practice to consider when purchasing a used vehicle is to have it inspected by a mechanic. Pre-purchase inspects cost about $100 and are a worthy investment



Article Last Updated: November 24, 2017.

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