Let’s be honest. Buying a new car is easy. You walk into a dealer like it’s a big box retailer. You pick the exact model with the exact colors and features you want “off the shelf”. If you want, you can order your car to your exact specifications and have it in six weeks or so. No one has touched, let alone used the car you are about to buy. It is yours to do with what you will.
Buying a used car is a whole other ball game. You start having to consider some compromises. Can you settle on a color that isn’t your number one choice? Is silver acceptable because black isn’t available in my area? Do I have to have the manual transmission or can I be happy with an automatic transmission? There are so many safety and convenience features that you have to consider and decide whether you have to have them or can live without. Everything from the number of airbags to the finish on the wheels should be considered.
Some people are concerned with the quality of a used car. I can understand having that feeling. There are a lot of unknowns with buying a used car. How was this car driven? Was this car in an accident? How is the car’s service record? The list of unknowns can go on for a while. With that being said let’s start answering some of these common unknowns.
Accidents can really adversely affect a car if the accident is severe or if it is not properly fixed by a qualified competent auto body shop. Luckily there are lots of ways to tell if a car has been in a major accident. The first way to tell is by checking how each body panel lines up with the adjacent body panel. They should meet up at smooth junctions and be “perfectly” flush to each other. Second way to know is by driving the car. A car that has been in an accident and subsequently fixed poorly will make sounds that a no-accident car will not. When you listen for this, make sure to drive the car at decent speeds and along dividers or barriers. Sounds will bounce off of these and as a result you will hear them (make sure the windows are open for this). Third way I’ll discuss here is checking the title history of the car. Inquire with your local DMV on how to accomplish this in your state. Of course there are other ways to judge the condition of a car. Talk to your trusted automotive professional about additional ways to determine car condition.
Used cars here are originally rental vehicles. These kinds of cars are great because they are generally used as vehicles for getting from point A to point B. What I mean by that is that these cars are used to get around, not to race or drive aggressively. These cars are going to be of high used car quality. Also these cars are regularly inspected after each rental and serviced by Hertz professionals.
Last, but certainly not least, is the warranty that comes with these used cars. These vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but on average the warranty coverage on major systems (engine, drivetrain, etc.) and some warranties on newer models will have a remainder of the full warranty available.
A beautiful 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited, courtesy of Hertz Car Sales
Rent2Buy is an incredible and unique way to buy a used car through Hertz Car Sales! You can test the car of your choice for up to three days for a nominal rental fee or take a two hour test drive at no cost. Just imagine taking a Mercedes-Benz GLK for a weekend and test how it performs with the whole family on the road. It’s unprecedented! Usually test drives are 10 to 20 minutes, right? Here you can really get to know your next car before ever signing on the proverbial dotted line. In my book that some serious buying power!
A beautiful 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK, courtesy of Hertz Car Sales
Beyond this, if you’re still having some doubts, stick with perennial used car favorites like the Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion. These are all good to excellent in reliability and performance. Other cars will undoubtedly prove to be excellent too. My used car, purchased with 39,000 miles went to 267,000 problem free miles, and I only stopped my journey with my car because I was involved in an accident.
The bottom line is the only thing you will miss when you buy a good used car is the inflated car payment and that new car smell that scientists have yet truly replicated.