Save Money by Buying Slightly Used Cars

Buying a vehicle can be difficult especially if you have a limited budget. Purchasing a car is one of the few major expenses most people will incur in their lifetime. One way of acquiring a vehicle at a discount price is to purchase a used car. A four year old used car is a lot cheaper compared to a brand new car and will most likely still be the same as the current model.
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My previous and current vehicle were used cars. I personally prefer purchasing slightly used new cars. If you are searching for bargain deals of slightly used cars here are some tips to consider before you decide.

Compare Prices

Researching on different prices from various sellers will give you a good idea on what the current market value of a particular car model. If you are looking for a 2010 Toyota Altis E Automatic. Make sure you look for the prices for the same car model. Manual Transmission are usually significantly cheaper than Automatic model, so be sure to look at the details of the vehicles.
 Money-zine Car Depreciation Calculator is a great tool of establishing used car prices . This will give you rough idea of how much these vehicles should cost if you take depreciation into account.

Private Seller, Used Car Dealers or Repossessed Units

Some of the best deals I got were from private sellers and bank repossessed cars. My current vehicle, which is a bank repossessed unit, was purchased for 30% less than the used car market value. I bought my previous car from a private seller and I also saved around 30% less than what it cost had I bought it from a used car dealer. I may have bought these vehicles at a bargain price but I also had to exert more effort on looking for these vehicle.

If you do opt on buying from private sellers or bank repossessed units make sure you do a thorough check on the vehicle, its maintenance history and the vehicles LTO details. Since bank repossessed vehicles don't offer any guarantee and are a as is where is basis it is best that you are vigilant in examining these vehicles before you make a bid. See my previous post "Purchasing Repossessed Vehicles" for more details. One advantage of purchasing from used car dealers is these vehicles usually are checked by the dealers and some dealers offer guarantee.

Read User Reviews and Forums

Another advantage of buying a slightly used vehicle is that these vehicles are already tested. Some of the major problems of these vehicles can be found through reading user reviews, forums and used car reviews. Most car reviews only offer you a review of a brand new model and won't give you an idea of how the car will perform in the long run. One great source of used car review I found on the net is The Ultimate Used Car Guide.

Cash or Used Car Auto Loan

Buying a used car using cash is better than applying for a loan. Car loans on used cars are a lot higher compared to brand new cars. My personal experience has taught me not to purchase a used car using a car loan. I could have saved more than 30% of the interest from my car loan had I saved it instead of loaning it.

Brand, After Sales and Resale Value

Depending on your location, some car brands will be more expensive than other brands. Purchase price of the vehicle is only that start of the expenses you will incur when you purchase a vehicle. Service cost and replacement parts are the other costs you should take into account when you own a car.  When you purchase a slightly used car, there is a high probability of replacing some parts.

It is important that you consider the availability of spare parts, third party parts and a reputable service center. There are some car brands that sell affordable cars but have horrible after sales based on consumer reviews. There are also brands that offer quality cars but have expensive car parts. It is necessary that you assess each of these aspects of a brand and car model in order to be prepared of future expenses you will encounter on your vehicle.

If you are planning to dispose the vehicle a couple of years after, you should examine the resale value of a brand and car model. Some car brands and model easily depreciate and some brands hold their value a lot longer.

Take Your Time and Don't Rush

Never rush when it comes to buying a used car. If a car hasn't been sold despite its very cheap price, make sure you thoroughly check the vehicle. There might be a reason why it is sold at a very low price. Check the vehicles records and for defects that you won't immediately notice. Always take your time in examining the vehicle carefully and try to compare as many vehicles as possible before buying.