Three Little-Known Tips to Help You Buy a Used Car for Less

White Kia Optima

You need to buy a cheap used car, and you don’t want to end up with an unreliable purchase. Here are four tips to help you make it happen.

Buy a shuttered brand

Many people worry about buying a used car by a defunct brand such as Plymouth, Pontiac or Mercury. They feel that these cars simply aren’t likely to have spare parts anymore, now that the manufacturer isn’t around. While it is basically a sensible idea, there are some cases in which it isn’t.

Many of these shuttered brands took models made by other marques, and simply rebadged them. For instance, the Mercury Montego is practically the same car as the Ford Fusion, and the Pontiac G6 is the same as the Chevrolet Malibu. Since the Malibu and the Fusion are still around, you will always find parts for the G6 and the Montego. If you’re willing to buy one of these shuttered brands, you’ll save about $1,000 on what you would pay for the exact same car by a functioning brand.

All you need to do is to look up defunct brands, find out what other rebadged defunct models they were sold as, and go for those. Buying rebadged is a good idea for functioning brands, as well. The 2003 Isuzu Rodeo was actually the Honda Passport. Buying the Isuzu will usually save you hundreds of dollars over buying the Honda.

Look a model with a really long warranty

The Kia Optima from 2006 came with a 10-year warranty. This means that anything major that went wrong with it was usually fixed by the manufacturer, rather than some cut-rate mechanic. It’s likely to be in far better shape, then, than a much better-known brand with a shorter warranty.

Go to a new car dealership

The used cars on a new car dealership’s lot are trade-ins. Car dealerships don’t like to see them clogging their lot, and ruining their look. Unlike a dedicated used car dealership, they are usually anxious to see them go. They tend to be more open to some smart haggling than used dealerships.

There are two points to keep in mind. To begin, new car dealerships usually pay very little for their trade-ins. On top, when they sell these cars, they usually price them about $2,000 above what a private seller would take. The extra money, they say, is for the guarantee that they offer. There is much more padding there, however. You can lowball them without worrying about getting an insulting look. You only need to let the salesperson see that you know what you’re talking about.

It’s safe to assume that there is a 30% markup. It’s a good idea to simply pitch the salesperson by telling that you understand they probably paid $7,000 for their $10,000 vehicle, and you would be happy to give them a neat $1,500 profit by paying $8,500 for it. It usually works, especially if you’ve taken your time scouting for a good vehicle, taken it on a test drive and paid $150 for a check by your favorite mechanic. If the salesperson knows that you are ready to buy, they won’t want to let you walk.

A few little hacks are all you need to get great value out of the used market.

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