In the market for a used car? Used cars are a great way to save money on the purchase price as well as licensing and insurance costs. Here are some questions to ask.
1. Is the Car Certified? Car Certification is an important piece of paper. It clearly shows that the used car went through a proper inspection. It also provides detailed information of the car’s history – at most dealerships you will get a CARFAX report. Typically, certifications apply to newer, low mileage cars, so if you are buying an older car, this option won’t be available.
2. Who certified it? The optimal certification is offered by the manufacturer. All other certifications are insurance-backed programs which are not as valuable. So, ask this question to find out who certified the car you are planning to purchase. Also ask what is included with the certification. Typically, there will be a warranty program. Some certifications will entitle you to new car rates on financing and roadside assistance for a period of time.
According to CNN Money, you can save between 30 to 40 percent if you buy a 3-year-old car model, since cars typically depreciate more in their first years. By buying used, you let the original owner “buy” the first few years of depreciation.
3. What is the Return Policy? Before you buy, make sure you go through the return policy of the dealer. Once you purchase the car, you are legally bound to this policy.
4. What Repairs Have Been Performed? For a certified car, the dealer will have reconditioned the car to bring it up to certification standards. Ask your dealer what the reconditioning included. If you are buying a car that is not certified, you may be buying the car “as is.” Consider buying a short-term maintenance policy if you are concerned about unexpected costs.
5. Is there a transferrable warranty? Some used cars may still have a portion of the manufacturer’s warranty remaining. This can save money if the warranty is transferable to a new owner. Look for warranties that exceed the current mileage and age of the vehicle. Then check to see if the warranty may be transferred and if any fees are involved. While it isn’t the only reason to buy a particular car, it can make the difference if you are comparing a few different models.
So, now when you go to car buying you know exactly what questions to ask and purchase with confidence.