It goes without saying that looking for used cars can help you save money, at least when compared to the manufacturer’s sticker price. Buying used may be more affordable than buying new, but that doesn’t mean every used car represents a great deal, nor that you don’t still have the responsibility to do your due diligence and find a good value.
This raises an obvious question: How exactly do you know when the car you’re getting qualifies as a good deal? We’ve got some tips for you here.
Looking for Cheap Used Cars
First, it’s helpful to have a reference point. After two years, the sales price of an automobile may drop by as much as 40 or even 50 percent from the original, manufacturer’s sticker price. The car may depreciate further from there. For this reason, those seeking a used vehicle are encouraged to seek something in the two-years-old range—a good way to get a decent discount while still getting a fairly modern car with a lot of life left.
A caveat to all of this: A cheap car does not always represent a good value. Sometimes, if a price seems too good to be true, well, it may very well be. It doesn’t do you much good to spend money—even a sharply discounted amount—on a vehicle that’s not in good working order, or that will require a huge investment in ongoing maintenance. For this reason, it is imperative to test drive and thoroughly inspect any used vehicle before making a purchase.
Kelley Blue Book Used Car Values
Additionally, it is smart to do some research before buying and see roughly what a vehicle should sell for. Kelley Blue Book, or KBB, as is the agreed-upon standard here, will give you a baseline value for any vehicle.
The thing to remember, once more, is that the KBB price is a foundation, one that is subject to fluctuation depending on the condition of the vehicle. If you’re looking at a car with practically no miles on it, it may be worth more than what the KBB price suggests. Meanwhile, a car that’s obviously in shambles and not well-maintained may be worth something far less than the suggested KBB value.
Find Used Cars in San Diego
A final suggestion for the consumer: As you seek to get the best deal on a used car, head to a used car dealership in San Diego, where the market for pre-owned vehicles is usually pretty hot. Dealerships are always a better option than private sellers, simply because legal protections are in place to safeguard the consumer—including “lemon laws” and other statutes, many of them unique to California. These laws are a kind of insurance for your used car investment.