How to Save Money When Buying a Used Car


Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is a smart way to purchase a car you want at a lower price. Let’s face it, cars are expensive. The last thing you want to do is spend a good chunk of your savings on a car. The good news is, if you buy used you shouldn’t have to. The moment a car leaves the dealer’s lot its price depreciates between 9 to 11%.

This isn’t to say that people buy new cars just to sell them a month later.  But this can work in your favour as a used car buyer. The more they drive it, the more you can save when they decide to sell it. We have some tips on how you can bargain for the best deal on the car you’ve always wanted, albeit used.

Do your research

The first step in making any type of purchase is thorough research. Even before you head to the dealership, survey the online marketplace to get an idea of cars that fall within your budget. Use online tools like a car loan calculator where you can get estimates of what your monthly payments will look like. This will give you an idea of which cars to check out when you finally decide to go to a dealership. The knowledge will provide you with bargaining power and ensure you don’t end up making a bad deal.

Shop for an older model

The latest model of any car comes with a premium. You will pay extra for the shape, state-of-the-art technology, and numerous other features that the car comes with. Rather than opting for the latest model, look for a model that is a few years old. The technology, drive, and overall appeal of the car will pretty much be the same. It might not feature all the new bells and whistles but will save you thousands of dollars. Plus when you buy used, you get any customizations the previous owner paid for without the extra fees.  

man at sunset in front of jeep

Look out for minor defects

Minor defects will always work to your advantage during negotiations. Sellers will always try to cover defects when they put the car in the market, so you will need to do a thorough check to find them.

There are numerous defects you can look for that will lower the cost of the car, at least enough for it to be a reasonable buy. Reasonable in the sense that the defect can easily be taken care of or has no impact on the usability of the car, only a physical blemish. Look out for the following defects to drastically lower the cost of a used car:

  • Rust: Just as long as the whole body isn’t rusting away, you can easily control the rust after purchasing the car.
  • Cracked windshield: Don’t shy away from a car with a cracked windshield, use it to your advantage. You can have the price reduced by thousands if you play your cards right and spend hundreds on windshield repair especially if you hire a less mainstream local auto glass shop vs going with a large brand like Speedy Glass
  • Dents and paintwork: Both dents and paintwork are easily manageable once you purchase the car. Once again, you can save thousands and only need to spend hundreds on repair work.

Besides these, you need to carefully assess every aspect of the car. If there are any defects detected, you will gain the upper hand in negotiations. Make sure that the defects are only minor and nothing major that will end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Ideally, you shouldn’t purchase a car with any type of problems related to the engine and the body frame.

man infront of truck

High mileage

Sellers use low mileage to their advantage when selling a car, which is why you as a buyer need to use high mileage as an advantage. The higher the mileage, the more likely that the car will have additional wear and tear. Use that argument during negotiations. Even though that won’t necessarily be true if the car is well-maintained.

When it comes to mileage, you need to consider the maintenance of the car. The last thing you want to do is purchase a vehicle with high mileage and low maintenance, which can lead to several trips to the mechanic and end up becoming a financial burden. At the same time, a high mileage car that is well-maintained will end up saving you a lot more than purchasing the same vehicle with lower mileage.

Buy from a private party

The wonderful thing about purchasing a used car is that you don't necessarily need to buy it from a dealership. Yes, dealerships generally certify the vehicles they sell, but you can also get a reliable vehicle from a private party. The best part is, you will end up saving cash because the dealership's name as well as their overhead costs will not be included in the price tag.

When buying from a private party, you do need to do a little more research and ensure all paperwork is complete. Be sure to also have the vehicle inspected and certified by a registered mechanic to make sure the vehicle doesn’t have any problems. If you plan on financing, then it will likely be a bit more paperwork. However, the hassle of buying a car privately will be worth it with the money you end up saving.

A reason many people opt to buy a used car is to save money. However, you will be surprised at the number of people that end up spending too much because they make a hasty purchase or take advantage of minor defects to lower the asking price. Follow our tips, and you should get the best deal on your purchase.

Are you ready to buy a car?

If you’re ready to shop for the car of your dreams, let Car Loans Canada help makes the process easy. We have plenty of resources on our site like the rates page where you have access to see the lender’s rates. Once you’ve seen the rates page, you can check out our car loan calculator and plug in numbers to give yourself a rough estimate of the costs per month of owning a vehicle. 

Tarek Salam is a Canadian auto glass repair technician with over a decade of experience repairing automotive glass for all makes and models of vehicles in Canada. He loves sharing interesting and useful information with the intention of educating and helping people make better automotive decisions. 

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