Is Buying Used Cars a Good Deal? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Is Buying a Used Car a Good Deal?

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Woman that is sitting on a used red car and holding up keys.

If you are buying your first car or one for the new driver in your home, you might look at used car deals and think they are great. You never want to be buying a hunk of metal with a ton of problems, but there are many used cars that are a great deal. We can help you to know a little bit of information about buying used, depreciation and car titles when it comes to used cars.


Buying Used

The process of buying a car can be quite an exciting experience, especially if it’s your first car. However, If you’re low on cash, buying a used car is probably best for you. You won’t get rebates, cash incentives or financing for many used cars like you would a new one, but you will get payments that are easier to afford.


Keep in mind that if you only need a car for a short while, a new car’s value will depreciate after you’ve driven it off the lot. A good rule of thumb is that a car will only be worth about 80% of the retail price once it is bought and driven. With used, you don’t get that and can still resale it for closer to what you bought it for if you take care of it. Make sure you don’t buy something that is severely damaged and will cause you more repairs than it’s worth.


Sign that is worn and says "used cars".

Cars in Accidents

The biggest factor in deciding to buy a used car is if it has been in an accident. Even a minor scrape on a car may be considered an “accident” by an insurance company, when there really was no real damage done. Make sure you take the car to a body shop to have it inspected thoroughly before you buy it. If it’s a good shop, they can see past the previous work that was done to see if the car was truly fixed up. They can find hasty patch-up jobs that will bring you problems. If the job was hasty, there may be other hidden damages that you can’t see.


You also want to pay attention to the title the car has. A salvage title is given to a car that has been in an accident, but the cost to repair it was more than it is actually worth. A rebuilt title is given when a car has been in an accident, but it’s had an inspection and is considered “safe” by the state. Rebuilt titles can never be changed, so the person can’t cover up major damage a car’s had. However, if the car was in a bad enough accident that the title was changed on the car, seriously consider not buying it.


Other Things to Consider

  • Many people buy used rental cars. Make sure to buy one with less than 15,000 miles on the odometer and one that had insurance on it. However, remember that rental cars can be a good deal, but many renters don’t take care of the cars.
  • Get a used vehicle history report no matter what kind of used car you get. Many times that history report can also be found online.
  • When having a used car inspected, don’t take it to the seller’s shop. Take it to someone you trust so you get a true and honest report of the car.


Close-up view of a car maintenance person with a car in the background.

Repairs On Your Car

No matter if you buy a new or a used car, it’s vital that you keep the car in good working order. This is very important if you need to resale it later:

  • Keep up on scheduled maintenance checks. Get your oil replaced when it’s due. Have your tune-ups on schedule. Make sure your car is serviced about every 6 months if you are driving it often. If you don’t keep up on maintenance checks, small problems that could be caught early-on might turn into major repairs that the used car isn’t worth.
  • Maintain a clean car. Even simply keeping your car dirty can depreciate its value and can damage it over time. A car is meant to be driven, not used as storage. If you eat in your car often, take the trash with you when you exit the car. Don’t have open containers in the car that can spill. Clean messes as soon as they happen. This will keep the interior cleaner and less worn over time.
  • Listen to your car. If you hear a strange noise or your car is acting differently (brakes not working right, air conditioning not working right, etc.) have those problems checked early. If you have a chip in your windshield, take it in to be fixed when the chip is tiny instead of paying for a brand new windshield.

These are just a few examples of ways to maintain your car. If you are buying a used car, then you probably want to save money. You won’t do that if you don’t get your car the repairs it needs or if you don’t make sure the car is in good working order before you buy it.


Is Buying Used a Good Deal?

Buying a used car won’t be a great deal with every person or every family. If you want to save some money, buying used can save you thousands, especially if the car has been used for less than a year or if it has no previous damage. When you know you only need a second car for a short amount of time, buying a used car is a great deal because you can get it way cheaper than the original sale price and you can resale it. To make sure your car stays in top shape, call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at (970) 682-4202 for all your maintenance needs.


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