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Why You Should Buy A Used Car

Apr 1, 2008
Some of the best values in the automobile market are used cars, especially late model used cars. Nearly everyone has heard that value of a car drops by one quarter as soon as the new car is driven off of the dealership lot. Not only does the second owner of a car not pay that cost depreciation, but other expenses such as collision insurance and taxes for the car are also lower. Also, many times the used cars that a person looks at will have more options than they would have considered for the same vehicle if they had bought it new.

One of the best reasons to buy a used car is reliability. Looking at the history of used cars from 1980 through the year 2000, the reliability of vehicles has improved by leaps and bounds. Problems of mechanical failures reported for two-year-old vehicles has declined to a fraction of what it was in 1980, the year such statistics started being kept. For example, exhaust system problems and related systems are now of minor concern, where once they used to be a significant problem. Today's vehicles should go well past 100,000 miles, and many can reach 200,000 miles with only minor repairs to the vehicle.

One way to notice this is that the warranties given by the car companies on their cars are now for twice the years and miles that they once were, even ten years ago. Also, these warranties cover more systems of the car than they once did. Depending on the year and the model, some buyers may be able to get the remaining manufacturer's warranty on the used car. However, considering the reliability of modern cars, most of the costs will be for replacement parts such as tires, battery, and other items that are not covered by warranty.

One thing to be aware of when looking at a used car is that safety considerations typically change somewhat year-to-year. Hence, such things as curtain airbags and new child seat restraint options are harder to find on the older vehicles. However, such features as antilock brakes, traction control, and side airbags are typically much more affordable on a used car than ordering them as options on the new car.

There are a number of questions to ask when considering purchasing a used car, and we are not going to cover all of them here. However, make sure you ask if the car has been an accident, if there are any recalls on the car, and the reason that the car is being sold. It is also a good idea to go to Carfax.com and get the vehicle report for the car.

Inspect a car both inside and outside, looking for evidence of any extreme wear, mistreatment, or other problems. When looking under the hood pay attention to the hoses and belts, and see if the rubber parts are firm and not hard or mushy. Check fluid levels and make sure that the owner currently has them up to the correct level. Check the radiator fluid and make sure that it is a clear green color, rather than milky or rusty. After making this simple inspection, the car should be taken to an independent mechanic for a used car check. Typically most independent mechanic shops have a fixed rate for that type of service.

A good several-year-old car is one of the best buys in the automotive field, and with a little careful inspection you will find a car that will be of good service for many years.
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