How to Shop for a Used Car – Cincinnati, OH

June 21st, 2019 by

This is a black 2014 Chevy Mailbu in front of a Chevy sign.

So, you’re looking to purchase a car. Well, you’re in for quite an exciting experience. There are a plethora of car options out there, from hulking, powerful SUVs to sleek and zippy performance cars. The car buying journey is truly one worthwhile embarking on. Between the test drives and long talks about features and fuel economy, there is plenty to discuss with your dealer. All that said, before visiting a car dealership and throwing yourself headlong into the car buying experience, you should ask yourself one of the biggest questions surrounding car buying, “Should I buy a new or used car?” While the question seems simple enough, there are plenty of things to take into account, one of which being that used cars can be a great alternative to the classic path to car ownership. Often cheaper and sometimes inspected from bumper to bumper, used vehicles offer drivers a different option, one that can be just as fulfilling as purchasing a vehicle that is brand new.

The Differences Between a New, CPO, and Used Car?

When you step foot onto a dealership, chances are you’ll be given the option of a used, certified pre-owned, or new car. While all of these vehicles may be great options, they each offer a completely different car ownership experience. We’ll start with the traditional choice, new cars.

Buying a new car means that you’ll be the first driver to sit behind the wheel as its sole owner. They’re often the latest and greatest models from a manufacturer, and in many cases are equipped with all of the modern bells and whistles drivers have come to expect out of a new car. All that said, when you purchase a new vehicle, you’ll likely pay much more when compared to both certified pre-owned (CPO) and used cars. Sure, a new car has its appeal, but it may not be within every budget to afford something that is brand new. Fortunately, CPO and used vehicles provide buyers an alternate method of car ownership, one that comes with plenty of benefits.

When car buyers enter a used dealership looking for a vehicle, they are often confused as to what the differences are between certified pre-owned and used cars. On the surface, they can appear similar, especially since they’re both technically used. Although, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that they’re both quite different.

CPO cars are used cars that have received a multi-point inspection from either a manufacturer or a dealership. These inspections are quite thorough and can cover everything from the transmission to the car’s tires. As a result, potential buyers are offered greater peace of mind when they purchase a CPO car, and in some instances can feel to have rolled right off a brand-new car dealership. However, it is important to note that each CPO program is different. While Toyota may be put through a vigorous 160-point inspection, receive a detailed CarFax report, and come with a sweeping range of bumper-to-bumper warranties, a dealership’s CPO program may stop at a multi-point inspection. While CPO vehicles offer used car drivers peace of mind, understanding the details of each particular CPO program can make all the difference in your used car buying experience.

Used cars are standard pre-owned cars that have not undergone a thorough inspection by a dealership or manufacturer. Nor do they often come with extensive warranties. However, this lack of complete coverage comes at the benefit of a much lower price when compared to CPO vehicles. For this reason, many used car buyers take their used car into a trusted mechanic first before putting the money down and investing in the car.

While used cars often are not inspected by dealerships and manufacturers, and may not be as flashy as new cars, they are typically the most affordable option and can be an excellent pick for drivers looking to get behind the wheel of a reliable vehicle without breaking the bank.

How to Make the Most out of Buying a Used Car

A smiling couple is ready to pay for the used car they just picked out at the dealership in Cincinnati, OH.

Some car buyers may be intimidated with the idea of shopping for a standard pre-owned car. Without an in-depth certification, there are plenty of unknowns initially involved in the process. However, you can avoid purchasing a used lemon by taking careful steps and doing an adequate amount of research.

First things first, you should determine what your car buying budget ought to be. By first figuring out what you can afford, you can set foot onto a dealership without feeling overwhelmed or in over your head. Next, figure out what kind of car would best fit your needs. This step is inherent whether you’re buying a new, CPO, or standard pre-owned vehicle, and by determining what type of car works best for you can make all the difference in your overall driving experience.

When doing research on models and body types, it is also worthwhile to check for a particular vehicle’s long-term maintenance demands. Some cars depreciate quicker than others, and by understanding, servicing needs ahead of time, you can avoid being caught off guard. Once you’ve figured out what you can afford and what kind of car you need, sweep through local used dealerships and locate a used car that is in great condition, and that you enjoy driving. There are plenty of dealerships and used cars out there, and chances are you’ll find one that meets your every automotive expectation.

Once you’ve found the right dealership and used car, use the car’s VIN or vehicle identification number to research its history and previous owners. A standard pre-owned car can change a lot of hands, and it can be worthwhile to see how it ended up from the factory floor to the used car dealership. Once you’ve cleared the car’s history, take it for a test drive, and ask yourself, ‘is this the car for me?’ It might take several test drives before you land on the perfect used car, but it is always worthwhile to take your time during this step in the process.

So, you’ve found a car you love; your next step should be taking it into a mechanic before putting down cash on the vehicle. While the first test drive can feel smooth, there is no way to guarantee that there isn’t some underlying mechanical issue that may go unseen at first. Once you’ve cleared the used car with a mechanic, the time has come to negotiate a fair price. With the information, you’ve gleaned from a history report, a test drive, and a mechanic settle on a price that fits your budget and matches the value of the vehicle. While this step in the process can result in a lot of back and forth, negotiating for a fair price can make or break your entire buying experience.

Why You Should Buy Used

Sure, there is an appeal for new and even certified pre-owned cars. However, purchased a standard pre-owned vehicle can provide a path to car ownership that is often far cheaper than the traditional methods. While you may have to do a lot of solo foot-work and research, this can all pay off in a vehicle that you not only love to drive but also pay far less to own.

We offer great used vehicles at McCluskey Chevrolet at our dealership in Cincinnati, Ohio. When you are ready to take the leap and get into a “new” used vehicle, our knowledgable and welcoming staff are here to help you with whatever your automotive needs are from purchasing to servicing your next (or current) ride.

Posted in Used Cars