Most new vehicles lose over 40% of their value in the first three years. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t still highly valuable vehicles but that they devalue very quickly. Savvy consumers know that the best value for their money is in a used vehicle but many of us, even forearmed with that knowledge will fall head over heels for the rush you get of owning a brand new automotive.
I mean with a brand new automotive it is yours, no one else will have had a chance to mess anything up, it is the newest, shiniest, etc. Most of that is a moot point these days though, auto fact reports are easy and cheap to obtain and will let you know if you might be getting a previously crashed car. It is still wise to have an auto genius along to take a look under the carriage and hood to ensure everything looks good but really when you are looking at getting your pre-owned vehicle for a third to half off of the price, regardless of how much that pretty new charger makes me swoon, I am sticking with used and think most of you will agree.
There are several different types of used autos available. For example, a good option is to purchase a leased vehicle. Leased vehicles usually have very reasonable mile counts on them, have been taken good care of in most cases, and are now available for sale at a severe discount over the new version. Check to see if the maintenance records are available, some leased contracts require these to be kept anyhow and can give you an excellent indication of what the used car has seen in its life.
Another option, though one to be a bit more careful about, is to buy previous fleet vehicles. Before, fleet vehicles seemed reserved to a few specific models, my how things have changed! Now, it has become trendy to use the more compact, fuel efficient models as well for commercial purposes but often they will trade in for new vehicles within a few years. This leaves them up for sale at good prices but you have to be more careful here. Sometimes commercial used vehicles have special modifications, such as ashtrays being removed to prevent their usage, and these modifications might be ones you do not want to have to live with. Another thing to look closely at is the mileage, commercial autos tend to rack up the miles quickly. Again, see if you can find maintenance logs or even determine what business used the vehicles and see how their drivers tend to drive.
That brings us to the most abundant category, trade-ins, where regular consumers owned the vehicle before you but they still can be a substantial savings compared to the use they have seen. This equates to saving you a bundle. Check for maintenance records, and consider an automotive fact report for any used car. Also, check out our guide to dealing with a pushy salesman in case you run into one.