Buying a car shouldn’t be a chore, but for many, finding a new means of transportation is an exercise in patience. And, if you’re wondering whether buying a pre-owned vehicle is something worth considering, there are even more things to think about. If you’re on the hunt for something particular from a year or two ago, such as the Ford Flex which was discontinued after 2019, you have a lot of research to do, too. Start with a review of the Ford Flex here in order to establish if this is truly what you’re looking for, compare it to a few rivals, and then start the fun process of going for a test drive.
This seems easier said than done, though, and if you’re still unsure whether investing in a used sedan, coupe, or crossover is a good idea, here is a useful guide to help make things clear.
This is obviously the main reason why many people opt to search the used car market – perhaps you don’t have a large budget that will cover the type of vehicle you’re looking for as a brand-new iteration, or perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a specific variation that is no longer on sale as new and you’re searching for it and nothing else… whatever the reason, the one fact that remains about buying a used automobile is that you’ll be spending less money than if you were buying from the factory or dealership. And we’re not talking about only the MSRP – you’ll spend less on insurance too, and in terms of tax. If you are financing a vehicle, however, you may have a higher interest rate, but the total interest payable over the duration of the loan will most probably be lower. Additionally, buyers taking on a used car buy it as is, without the need for adding on expensive options or dealing with hidden costs not listed on the marketing material.
It’s all about history…
Vehicles that have been well looked after are a boon for many reasons, not the least of which is being able to track the service and maintenance history. It’s always a good idea to make sure any car you’re purchasing has as much information listed about any mechanical issues it could have had, or the preventative maintenance it has been subject to. And if you’re investing in something that has been meticulously curated to ensure it runs smoothly and wear and tear is kept to a minimum, you’ll be buying a product that has is functioning at its absolute best and resulting in the best gas mileage rates, too. If you’re lucky, you might find a derivative that has been freshly serviced and is ready to give you a few thousand miles of flawless driving.
Get a better deal
So you’ve decided on a budget and have a set figure to spend, and the joy of perusing the used-car market is that you can often find an older car with better specs and more features fitted than you would have been able to equip if you were buying at the higher cost of a new version. So, for example, a top-tier trim that is two or three years old could cost in the same region as a new base model with much less on offer in terms of creature comfort and safety features. Additionally, you often also have access to a broader scope across trim lines and configurations because of the lower price of used cars. And since many additional extras on new cars are pricey and sometimes a little unnecessary (think sunroof, blacked-out exterior features, or other add-ons that you would’ve never considered to save money) you might stumble across one with such accessories already installed at a much more reasonable price.
Prevention is better than cure
Age is just a number, as they say, and with a car that now has a few years of life on the road, you will be able to spot problems and issues on consumer records or forums easily. You can also check for recalls and complaints with authorities such as the NHTSA and either decide if you can live with the reported problems, or whether to skip over buying it at all. Conversely, you could also use this to your advantage and pre-emptively service, maintain, or replace things that could hypothetically cause a problem on the vehicle in advance. Buyers sometimes find a vehicle that has been recalled and fitted with brand new replacement parts, which is a bonus, or be able to negotiate a lower price based on this information.
Keeping its value
The saying holds true that once you’ve driven an all-new car off the showroom floor, it’s value begins to deteriorate; the actual worth of a car drops over the first few years of ownership, which not only accounts for why second-hand vehicles are cheaper to buy, but also why it’s a great idea to invest in such, as it means that by the time you are the next owner, depreciation has slowed substantially. That also means that should you want to sell the car yourself after a while, theoretically you will not be losing out as much as the first owner did.
With all of this to consider, it should allay any of your fears about owning a used vehicle. There are many positives to shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, and studies on used models in the USA have shown that looking for a car between the age of two and four years is the sweet spot where you will get the most bang for your buck.