Contrary to what you see in movies and TV, it is possible to shop for used cars from a trustworthy auto dealer. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some used car lots out there that live up to the negative stereotypes associated with these car lots. That doesn’t mean you should stay away from every car dealer that offers used options, but it does mean you have to do your due diligence in finding one that’s worth your trust and your business.
The Business of Selling Used Cars
Used car lots come in all shapes and sizes. Some dealers only sell pre-owned vehicles, while others offer a mix of new and used automobiles. In many cases, authorized dealers have an excellent used section.
The business of a used car lot is pretty straightforward. These lots buy used cars from auctions, wholesalers, and private owners with the intention of selling them for a profit. These dealerships also make money through financing, service contracts, and so on.
One of the main reasons used car dealerships have a bad reputation is that they can try to take advantage of shoppers. Unlike a brand new car with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), shoppers have no way of knowing what a used car lot paid for vehicles in their inventory, so it’s hard to know if you’re getting a good deal. Throw in the fact that a dealership might hide major issues with the car, and it makes sense why everyone walks onto a used lot with their defenses in the ready position.
Finding a Dealer You Can Trust
The reality is that some dealers out there push the limits of what’s ethical and legal to make a sale. That doesn’t mean that you should stay away from every used lot out there. The secret is to do your homework on choosing a dealership and the used cars you’re interested in buying.
Before you visit a used car lot, take some time to do a little research. One of the first things you should check is the dealer’s reputation. Look for that dealer’s reviews online, but make sure to check more than one source. Start with Google Reviews, followed by Cars.com, and more. You might even look if there are any complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau.
Keep in mind that people are more likely to complain online than they are to offer praise. Take a look at the actual comments left to decide if complaints are actually valid. You should also look for word-of-mouth reviews from people you know. Check your local Facebook groups to see if anyone can share their experience.
You should also trust your gut. If you visit a dealership and feel that the sales team is being too pushy or hiding something, you are welcome to leave and try somewhere else. You can’ always put your finger on why you get negative vibes, but pay attention to how a place makes you feel.
Luckily, the internet makes it easier than ever to get an idea of what a vehicle is worth. Go to sites like KBB or Edmunds to get a price range for the vehicle that caught your attention. If the dealership is asking for something outside of that range, it might be a sign of a bad deal.
You can also read countless reviews of specific vehicles to know a little more about what to expect. On that note, make sure to check out the vehicle’s history report, which is provided for most reputable dealerships.
Get a Great Deal And Explore Used Cars
Used cars offer you a great way to take home a quality vehicle at incredible savings when compared to new options. New cars depreciate immediately upon purchase, while used cars tend to retain their value for a longer period of time. You’ll also find that modern used cars are built to last much longer than pre-owned vehicles of the past.
If you take some time to research the used car lots near you along with the specific makes and models that catch your eye, there’s no reason you can find a used car lot that’s worthy of your trust.