Need To Know Before Buying a Used Car
Setting out to buy your ideal vehicle is a big deal. You have to decide whether you want to buy a new or used car. With different advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a new or used car, it is worth it to buy a modern used car. Therefore, what is the best age to buy a used car?
Car Maintenance Repair Costs
One of the major concerns of buyers of used cars is the cost of maintenance and repairs. When vehicles attain a certain age, they cross some significant milestones that could positively or negatively affect their market value and overall performance.
Some cars become more reliable with age, while others have their manufacturers to offer a transferable warranty, keeping the vehicle insured even after its initial sale. Here are some helpful pointers on when is the best age to buy a used car.
Used car ‘sweet spot’
There comes a time in the automobile industry when cars must experience a depreciation hit. Immediately you drive off your new car; it undergoes a depreciation rate of about 20%. Used car ‘sweet spot’ is the period in a vehicle’s life when it hits its first significant depreciation while still going through the second steep depreciation, bringing it to about the fourth year of a vehicle’s lifetime.
Depreciation is usually consistent across all vehicle models. With a huge depreciation hit, a massive chunk of the market value is knocked off. Buying a car that has already undergone depreciation saves you a lot of money. Overall, we would recommend you buy a car that is one or two years old, drive it for a year or two the resell it. Cars between two and three years have received a great dip in depreciation while those from three years to 10 years could come with serious mechanical challenges.
One of key factor to consider with a used car is the cost of repairs. The older a car gets the more it will cost you in terms of repairs. Most American drivers average 12,000 miles per year but there those who keep their cars very well maintained. A used car from a diligent owner is a good deal. Their cars where you will find it is an old lady who drives it and she is very cautious in how she handles the car. In such cases the car would still be in good condition inspite of the depreciation and age. If the driver is young and an aggressive driver, then you may notice that the brakes, tires are more worn out than normal.
What does it mean to buy a one-year-old car?
Buying a used car is far much more inexpensive than buying a new car. One-year-old vehicles are just as competent and up-to-date as similar new cars. Since new cars take a 20% depreciation hit once they leave the lot, a one-year-old vehicle is 20%-30% cheaper. A used car also allows you to pay lower insurance costs.
By purchasing a one-year-old car, you allow the car’s initial owner to take the first biggest depreciation hit. You will also receive a relatively new vehicle at a cheaper cost. When it comes to selling the vehicle years down the line, you will lose less money on the overall value of the car. Similarly, buying the last generation of a particular vehicle’s model increases your savings once you sell it to the dealership.
Old car vs. new car
According to USA Today, a new car experiences a 22% depreciation rate once it leaves the dealer’s lot. Depending on the model of the car, the depreciation rate may be lower or higher. After twelve months of using your new car, which cost around $30,000, it will now be worth $23,400. This figure does not factor in gas costs, maintenance, insurance, or any other vehicle expenses.
A used car has already undergone its most significant depreciation hit- especially if it is more than a year old – meaning a huge amount has been knocked off the used car, giving you more for a less amount, especially if the used car is relatively new. Furthermore, in a few years, you will sell the same car for nearly the same amount you paid for it. Buying a used car also lowers insurance costs.
Purchasing a new car provides you with a valid warranty for repairs. Most modern cars have minimal repairs within their first few years of use, minimizing maintenance costs. Dealers may also offer convenient financing options for car repairs at lower interest rates. Ultimately, this low rate contributes to a less amount of interest over the entire life of the loan.
Some manufacturers provide a transferable warranty throughout a certain number of years after the initial purchase of the vehicle, giving you a fairly used car that is insured when you buy it. However, this does not apply to all car models. Often, you have to take out a new insurance policy once you purchase a used car. Luckily, this comes at a lower cost as compared to insuring a new car.
Used cars may require more repair and maintenance efforts, thus not being as reliable as you had envisioned. It is crucial to inspect the used car thoroughly before purchasing it. Luckily, with the emergence of advanced technology, vehicles do not need major repairs until they are close to 10 years of age and over 100,000 miles.
New cars come with the latest technology in the car manufacturing industry. You may find cars with lower emissions and better gas mileage, thus more cost-effective as you use it. You can also purchase a hybrid vehicle to save on monthly transportation. Modern cars also come with technology that enables you to connect your phone and other gadgets with your vehicle’s database.
When buying used cars, you may have to compromise on a several features to acquire a used car in good condition. Whether it is the color, amenities, mileage, or history, you will need to be patient and more flexible when buying a used car. It is advisable to expand your search criteria to get the best price on a decently used car in good condition.
In some instances, you maybe lucky to find a good classic car, that after repairs can fetch you a good price. Do not dismiss such a purchase on the basis of age alone.
Things to check before purchasing used car
Purchasing a used car can feel many with apprehension. Firstly, you are not sure what you are getting yourself into. You can purchase the car only for it to develop mechanical problems later. It is extremely hard to know what lies underneath. However, there some key things to be on the lookout for before you sign those purchase papers.
Inspect the exterior
In most cases, the seller will really work on the exterior to make it as good looking as a new car, but there some hidden telltale signs of a faulty vehicle. Firstly, park the car on level ground. You can inspect the undercarriage to ensure it is not sagging and the tires. Ensure the braking system is engaged when you are doing this.
Inspect the painting job in the car and be on the lookout for rust, scratches and dents. Take your time to run your finger along the car’s exterior while looking for anything that tells you of a previous accident. Note that if the body paint was done poorly, you can get a lower price for your vehicle. It could also be the first sign that the car was involved in an accident and the seller is trying to cover up the damage.
Many people will ignore the trunk of the car during inspection but you can find some telltale signs of a badly maintained car. Check for rust, the spare wheel and serious holes underneath the trunk.
The car’s tires should be worn out evenly and be properly aligned. If you have badly aligned tires it means you are going to experience challenges driving the car, with the steering veering onto one side. Ensure the thread on all tires is not worn out beyond the recommended inches.
The exhaust pipes is another place many ignore. Check for signs of holes and rust. If it leaks it will produce some hissing irritating sound. Do not purchase such a car unless you are prepared to incur more in damage repairs. Run the engine and while it is still cool, place your fingers inside the exhaust and check out for grime.
Engine inspection should be on the number one things you should be on the lookout for when purchasing a used car. Open the hood and perform a physical inspection. Here check for rust, cracks and dents under the hood. While opening the hood ensure it opens and closes with little hindrances.
Before starting the engine, inspect all the radiator hoses for looseness and cracks. The radiator hoses supply coolant to the engine and help in heat dissipation. If they have cracks, you are going to have problems with engine overheating. Next, check the timing belt. If this is loose or worn out it needs to be replaced immediately.
Physical inspection of the engine is for search of possible cracks and rust. If you notice some brownish substance on the engine block then it is a signal for further problems. It could also be an indicator that the coolant is leaking. Check the fluid holding tanks and ensure they are properly filled.
One of the most complicated item to fix with a used car is the head gasket. Open the oil cap on top of the engine and physically inspect the oil. If it is milky in color then it could symbolize that coolant is mixing with oil. Normal oil is amber in color. If it is darker then this is a symbol that it is old and overused. Also, check the transmission fluid. This should be red or pink in color. If it is dark or has a burnt smell then this is an indication of transmission problems.
Turn on the engine and listen to the engine sound. It should be smooth with no excessive smoke coming out of the exhaust. It is normal for a whitish smoke to appear from the engine but if you notice it has a sweat smell it means the coolant is leaking into the engine. If the smoke has a bluish color, then this is a sign that your oil has found itself into the combustion chamber. Excessive whitish smoke could also signal improper combustion of fuel. Such a car can be very uneconomical to drive.
The engine inspection is the most crucial as it informs your decision whether you are purchasing a road worthy car or not. If the engine or transmission is faulty it could signal hefty repairs which maybe more than the cost of the car. Once you are fully satisfied that your used car has a good engine you can then proceed to interior inspection. Make yourself comfortable in one of the car seats and feel the texture of the seats. Do you like them? Check for signs of tear and that the safety belts are working well.
If the car has Air con, turn it on and see how it performs on both hot and cold. Turn on the radio and see whether it works. This one can be easily be replaced to one that meets your specifications. If you have your mechanic with you, check the cars Freon. This is the air used in the car for Freon. If the levels are low you may need some refill.
The odometer should tell you how long the car has been driven over the years. Some dealers may tamper with it to reflect lower mileage. You should ask the seller why the odometer is low and the car is old. In some cases you may discover the car was not ridden for a long time or the user used the car occasionally.
Some vehicles come with onboard computers and you need to check that it is performing optimally. The onboard computer is vital for checking various car related errors. Use a code reader to see whether it is working fine.
The last check for interior inspection, is to check the wipers, signals, hazard lights, rear view cameras, interior lights, power windows and that the doors open and shut flawlessly. Also, check the rear seats for any signs of holes and tear.
Taking the car for a test drive
Once you are done with the physical inspection of the car the next step is taking your car for a test drive. Do not be in a rush for this. During the ride you can carry your mechanic, seller or a friend who is knowledgeable about the car. Take the car to for a test drive in an area that is flat and smooth. Hit the accelerator to a speed of around 20 mph and then let go of the steering wheel briefly. See whether the car has a tendency to veer off towards one side of the road. This could be an indication of lack of wheel alignment. Continue increasing the speed while listening to the engine and whether the car vibrates excessively.
When you are on a clear road and at high speeds hit the emergency brakes and see how they respond. If the pedal vibrates a lot then the brakes could be having problems. The car should also not swerve unnecessarily when you hit the brakes. If all is good, the next step is to ask the seller for the car service history. Here you should be on the lookout for repairs and accidents during the lifespan of the car. Once you are done with all these, the last step is to negotiate the price.
If you have seen some shortcomings with the car, this is the time to raise your concerns. If the brakes are not working properly tell the seller so that they can decrease the final price. If all is well it is time to sign for the car.
Risks of driving an old car – common challenges classic drivers face
Owning an old car can be fun as there some good old classics available for sale. Some of these vehicles have some chrome covering on them and you can get a good resale price for it. Alternatively, you can keep your classic car as a collector item. But, there some challenges you should expect to face with a classic car. Here are the some:
Lack of spare parts
If you have a car that was produced a long time ago, then you are going to suffer from the availability of spare parts. This is because you may find the manufacturers actually stopped selling the car and with very few people owning it, it can be challenging finding the right motor parts. If you have a vintage car, you best option is to join one of the numerous classic clubs. Here you will get some crucial tips on getting the right spare parts.
You will be slow on highways
While a classic car looks good, there is usually the probability that the car is very slow on the highways. This means you will struggle reaching some of the top speeds common with most modern cars. However, this is good as it allows you to drive in moderate speeds.
When most classic cars where developed they consumed high octane fuel. Things have changed and you now have most fuel stations stocking low octane fuels. In fact, most fuel stations now sell ethanol based fuels which a classic car is unable to handle. The search for high octane fuels can be a challenge.
Lack of modern safety features
Classic and old cars are often not fitted with some of the latest safety features. It is hard to find such cars with safety features like airbags, ABS or traction control. This can pose some serious challenges as the only thing that protects you during an accident is the safety belt. Your only option with a classic car is to drive it slow and pay particular attention on the road. Ensure before a road trip that your tires are well inflated, the engine fluids are above average and you have taken the car for service at least once in a year.
Carbon emissions is in fact one of the key limiting factor for getting an old or classic car. This cars where developed in an age where engines where not that efficient. The cars also consume high octane fuel which is rich in carbon. Due to their inefficient engines most countries will regulate the sale of old cars in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. The only solution to this, is to have your classic car inspected regularly for leaks or inefficiencies. This means using high mileage oils, keeping your engine clean and avoiding riding the car for long miles. In some instances, you may find yourself battling with both carbon emissions and a noisy old car. This is a car that rattles every time you take it to a rough road.
Depending on your preferences and needs, it is only you who truly knows when the best age to buy a used car is. However, many automotive experts recommend buying a fairly used one-year-old vehicle is the best option for those who enjoy modern gadgets and the latest technology.
Buying a fairly used car also helps in saving up money. A general rule of buying a car is that you should ensure you pay off the car within three years. If you cannot do this, it is likely that you cannot afford the car.
Similarly, conducting thorough research on reliable car models with good reviews assists you in making an informed decision when purchasing a used car. If you do not understand the world of vehicles, it is always recommended to have your mechanic view the vehicle before making any payments.