When shopping for a new-to-you used car there’s a lot to consider, from your own wants and needs, up to the current state of, and history of the vehicle you’re looking at. Price is often cited as the largest factor in a vehicle purchase, but do not forget when looking at the sticker to also include the long-term “price” of this vehicle. Private sellers can sometimes offer seemingly great deals, but when is it too good to be true?
A dealership has a reputation to uphold, dealers build clientele and success in an area through repeat business both with sales and service. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, then you’re also highly unlikely to return for even simple maintenance. Long-term trust is not a concern for a private seller. There’s nothing to compel them to disclose known issues that may be difficult to find during a basic walkaround or are otherwise benefitting from a short-term patch that won’t be discovered until literally down the road. Dealerships inspect vehicles added to their inventory and repair major issues when found before you ever get to see them. If you’re looking at a certified pre-owned vehicle, then that’s an even more stringent inspection, but for the sake of this article, we’ll stick with standard used cars.
Selection and Warranty
Dealerships have first pick at vehicles coming off of factory leases, and they get a steady stream of trade-ins from new car buyers, meaning a hand-picked selection for you to shop. This often means lightly used cars, and can also mean potential remaining warranties. Depending on your choice of vehicle and dealer, an extended warranty is an option only found at a dealership as well. Peace of mind should be a consideration in your purchase.
Financing and Taxes
The ability to finance your purchase and include your sales tax provides the opportunity to lighten the monthly financial load and build credit. Dealerships have relationships with multiple lenders, so can help you with creating finance options that work for you, as well as creating a competitive environment for said lenders as they compete for your business.
Regardless of whether you buy from a dealer or private seller, just do not be afraid to ask questions and do your research on the model and model year of the vehicle of which you’re considering. Ask yourself how long you expect the car to last, and remember that what you pay that day isn’t necessarily the final price.