What to consider before buying a used car

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

(StatePoint) When it comes to their next set of wheels, the majority of Americans would consider buying used despite harboring concerns about reliability and necessary repairs, suggests a new survey.

The survey from Ally Financial and conducted online by The Harris Poll found that 69% percent of Americans would be likely to consider a used vehicle for their next auto purchase.

The survey also found that the source of the used vehicle matters to consumers, with 53% of respondents saying they would feel most comfortable buying used at a dealership that sells both new and used vehicles. This was much higher than any other category, including purchasing the car from another individual (12%), a used-vehicle-only dealership (10%) and from an internet-based company (8%).

“While there’s a lot of hype around internet auto sales within the industry, the majority of consumers are most comfortable purchasing at a franchise dealer that’s part of the community and where they can ask questions,” says Matthew Arnold, senior regional vice president of Auto Finance at Ally Financial.

Those who currently own used cars largely cite value as the reason for their purchase, with 61% saying they opted for a used car because it was less expensive than a new vehicle, and 34% saying they were able to get more car for their money.

“With new vehicle prices approaching $38,000, it’s a good time to have a refreshed look at used vehicles,” Arnold says. “Vehicle quality from the factory has greatly improved in recent years and that is carrying over to the used vehicle market. Yet, there are still several common sense steps consumers should take before purchasing.”

Arnold recommends the following steps when researching used vehicles:

• Get a vehicle history report. The minimal cost is worth the investment, and some car dealers will provide it for free upon request.

• Consider buying certified pre-owned (CPO). CPO vehicles are backed by the manufacturer and are a good option for used car buyers concerned about reliability.

• Give yourself peace of mind. Vehicle service contracts can help cover unexpected repairs and replacements parts.

• Do your homework. Go online and check independent sources on vehicle reliability and dealership reviews. You can also check the local market value for a specific model based on its mileage and condition. To get savvy about car buying and ownership in general, visit Ally.com/do-it-right/car.

While a used vehicle can be a good idea for a lot of shoppers, it may require a bit of extra research, particularly if you are harboring any concerns about the vehicle’s reliability. However, experts say that taking a few smart steps can offer you peace of mind and a better deal.