Pretty much everyone loves the smell of a brand new car. Driving it out of the dealership, maybe with the ribbon still on, and the complimentary bottle of sparkling wine rolling around on the passenger seat, is a fantastic feeling. However, not all of us can afford such luxury.
Buying a used car has its advantages, though. A new car loses approximately 30% of its value within the first two years after purchase. If you buy a used car and decide to sell it 2 years later the value would not have depreciated too much, provided that the vehicle was well looked after while in your care.
Of course the most obvious advantage is the price. Used cars are much cheaper but this does not necessarily mean that it is of much lesser quality. As stated before the value of a new car depreciates with 30% so opting for a 2 year old used car will cost substantially less without sacrificing too much by way of value.
When you've decided and you're at the dealer perform your own inspection. Check under the car for rust. A car with a rusted frame is not structurally sound. This problem is fixable but it will end up costing you more than you are looking to save by opting for a used car.
Check for differences in tire wear as this could mean that the wheels are out of alignment or the car has suspension problems. Check the interior: if it looks like the car has been passed down through generations but has low mileage, something suspicious could be going on.
Look under the hood. You don't have to be a mechanic to notice loose wires or leaks. Smell the oil: it must not smell burnt.
Lastly, when you take it for a test drive don't just drive the car around the block. Drive for a bit to get a good feel for the handling. Check for sounds and smells that shouldn't be there. Always be sure before handing over your money.
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