How to Successfully Buy a Used Car

A used car is a terrific option for buyers with limited budgets, unlimited budgets and everything in between. You can’t put a price, we suppose, on the “new car smell,” but other than that, automotive economics strongly favor buying a used vehicle. 

The chief reason why pre-owned vehicles are financially appealing is depreciation. New cars carry a hefty premium that all but disappears as soon as the odometer moves. And then, in the first few years of ownership, the value of that nice-smelling new car declines considerably, leaving you with the much less pleasant odor of a car that’s only worth about half of what you paid for it. If you applied those economics to buying a house or condo, you’d never make the deal. 

The infographic below, The Road to Buying a Used Car, reviews the economics of buying used vehicles, and then goes on to provide guidance on how to buy one. 

This infographic is essential reading for anyone interested in making such a purchase. You have to be careful — while the reward of buying used is saving money on the purchase, the risk of buying used is getting stuck with a car that costs a fortune to own, or flat-out doesn’t get you where you want to go. 

Getting swindled on a car deal is a cultural cliché, but the fact is, the vast majority of auto dealers are reputable, and are happy to show you a used vehicle’s service record, certification and other documentation to support the price and reliability of the vehicle you’re considering. Nevertheless, you’ve got to do your homework and ask the right questions in order to be confident in what you’re buying and negotiate the right price. The questions discussed in the infographic are spot-on.

If you’re making a used car purchase from a private party, especially a stranger, you have to be all the more careful. You always have legal remedies if you purchase a vehicle that’s been misrepresented, but you certainly don’t want to subject yourself to that kind of hassle and expense when all you wanted was some basic transportation. 

Used cars, as we said at the top, are not just for economy buyers. Pre-owned luxury vehicles are widely sold, because even millionaires like to avoid five-figure depreciation on a five-figure purchase. Not only that, but we non-millionaires can feel like one when we’re behind the wheel of a (pre-owned) luxury sedan or SUV. 

To learn how to make it your used car purchase a roaring success, continue reading now.


Melissa Walter is Regional Service Manager for JDBNOW, a buy-here pay-here cars dealership. Walter has spent more than 10 years running the franchise’s service departments and making sure vehicles meet JDBNOW quality standards through rigorous inspection and reconditioning.

Related Posts