Used Car Facts: Things to Look for When Shopping Used
Used cars, trucks, and SUVs are priced based on a number of factors. It starts with the initial value of the vehicle when it was new. Clearly, some makes and models cost more than others. For example, a new Chevy Trax costs significantly less than a new Suburban. As a result, a used Trax from the same year as a used Suburban will most likely have a lower price as well.
The next factor is trim level, as the cost of a vehicle will go up as you move up to higher trims or get special editions or packages because they are more desirable. The age of the car will also factor into the equation, as older cars have undergone more depreciation. This goes hand-in-hand with mileage, as used cars with lower mileage will cost less than ones that have been driven more because they typically will provide the driver with more longevity.
Finally, some makes and models are more popular than others. This is simply a factor of supply and demand, with the increased demand for a popular make or model driving the price up. As a result, you can probably get a better deal on a less popular model in the same vehicle class.
Whether you are buying a luxury or economy model, a car, truck, or SUV, you need to know that the used vehicle you are buying will work properly. This is why it is so important to get a Carfax vehicle report on the specific model before you close the deal. Carfax provides a comprehensive report on every used vehicle based on its unique vehicle identification number (VIN). All it costs is just $39.99 to find out such vital information as open recalls, involvement in major accidents, service history, ownership and registration history, and whether it is a salvage vehicle. Some of the best dealerships will provide a Carfax vehicle report free of charge for each and every used car, truck, and SUV on the lot.
It is also vital that you do your homework on the specific used car’s safety record. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) test every new vehicle and maintain a free database on the safety of every vehicle. Simply go online and look up the year, make and model you are looking at to see how it was rated for safety by the IIHS and NHTSA. You can even look up the specific used car you are considering buying just by typing in its VIN. Safety is a major concern for all drivers, and the IIHS and NHTSA provide a valuable resource in this regard.
CPO: What is a CPO Car? Is it Worth it?
CPO stands for Certified Pre-owned, a program maintained by most major automakers. Under CPO, the automaker offers a number of excellent incentives for buyers of used models of the vehicles it produces. For most CPO programs, only recent models with low mileage are eligible to be considered. For example, the Chevrolet CPO program will only include used vehicles within the six most recent model years and have no more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. In addition, Chevy will only include vehicles with a clean title and vehicle report. Finally, only authorized dealerships for the brand are permitted to sell CPO cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.
In general, buying a CPO will cost more than the same year, make, trim, and model used vehicle with comparable mileage. However, buying CPO will give you incredible peace of mind. First, with respect to Chevrolet, each dealer must complete all safety recalls before it can list a CPO vehicle. Next, the prospective CPO vehicle will undergo a comprehensive 172-point inspection. This makes sure that all automotive, climate, infotainment, and safety features on the prospective vehicle function properly.
Chevy CPO vehicles come with other incentives as well. There are two factory-backed warranties: a 6-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. These both have no deductible, so you won’t have to worry about going out-of-pocket for any repairs covered by these warranties. Every Chevy CPO vehicle also comes with the CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program under which you get two free scheduled maintenance visits covering oil and oil filter changes, tire rotations, and multi-point vehicle inspections.
You will also get free 3-month trials of OnStar services and, if your CPO vehicle is equipped with satellite radio, a 3-month trial of the SiriusXM All Access package. If you love music, news, entertainment, and talk radio as much as we do, then you are going to love SiriusXM. Finally, under the Chevy CPO program, if you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return it within 3 days or 150 miles and exchange it for another Chevrolet, Buick, or GMC car, truck, or SUV that better serves your desires. So, despite the higher price, buying a CPO vehicle can be worth it.
Under $10K: Tips for Buying on a Budget
Maybe you can't afford all of the top models and trims, but you still need to find a used car that will fit your budget and provide dependability. The good news is that there are plenty of excellent used cars available for under $10K. The key is just to find one that works for you and won’t bust your budget.
One thing to consider is to look for models or trims that are no longer being produced. Each year automakers decide to discontinue models that are not popular anymore. For example, Chevy discontinued making the Cruze compact sedan in 2019 due to declining sales, even though the model received excellent reviews. As a result, you can find many used Chevy Cruze cars on the market at a great price.
If you would prefer to buy a used version of a car, truck, or SUV that is currently being made, then you should consider getting one from the prior generation. As you may know, each automaker will update an existing model from time-to-time, creating a new generation of the model. The used cars from the prior generation are still wonderful vehicles but will often see a decline in their price, making them an excellent buy for drivers on a budget.
As previously pointed out, the pricing on used cars is often dependent on age and mileage. The least expensive models will be those that are the oldest with the most mileage. Conversely, the newer used cars with the least amount of mileage will be the most expensive. If you have to decide between the two, then get an older model with low mileage, as many parts of the vehicle’s powertrain, drivetrain, and tires will experience problems at higher mileage numbers. An older, used car with low mileage will give you years of dependable driving at a great price. Either way, if you don't necessarily want to do all the legwork to find these cheaper models, most dealerships, like us, have a separate section of models under $10K-$15K on their website so that you can peruse your options easily.