Used Car Buying Guide: 4 simple tips every shopper should know

There is little doubt that buying a used car can offer some of the greatest value. When compared to buying new, not only is the initial sticker price lower, but used cars tend to depreciate at a much slower rate, while most new cars typically lose around 40% of their value within the first three years.

 

Unfortunately, this does not mean that all used cars are priced fairly. There are a number of factors that go into determining the fair market value of a used car. By understanding just a few of these you can quickly determine if the dealer or seller is asking too much:

 

  • Shop around – compare pricing

When determining if the asking price on a used car is fair, it is important to shop around. Before settling on your next used car, it will benefit you tovisit multiple dealerships, both in person and online. Browse through our listings available in your area to get a clear idea of what dealers are asking for the car that you are interested in. This will help you in that first step to understanding what’s out there so you don’t feel pressured into buying the first used car you looked at.

  • Check the Kelley Blue Book® estimated value

Car buying tools such as Kelley Blue Book® KBB.com can provide you with all the information you need to negotiate a fair price on  your next used car. For years, KBB.com has helped buyers and sellers alike determine value based on a car’s condition and mileage. Every one of our listings provides you with a VIN number so that you can quickly pull a report from Kelley Blue Book®. Other sites such as VehicleHistory.Gov can also provide you with some insight into the vehicle’s crash and repair history. By having a full understanding of the estimated value of the vehicle you are looking to purchase you will be able to negotiate your final cost on your used car with more confidence.

  • Check the maintenance history on the vehicle

How much care has gone into the used car you are interested in? Has the oil been changed every 3,000 miles and the tires rotated regularly? Ask the dealer or seller for past maintenance records. Everyone one of our listings provides you with a CarFax report  – our premium listings will even provide it for free. Look through the report thoroughly while focusing on how many owners, if the vehicle has been in an accident, and how often the vehicle has been serviced.

  • Understand who the previous owner was

Of course you don’t want to go knocking on some stranger’s door, or ask the seller personal questions, but understanding what the car was used for will help you not only during the purchase, but after you have purchased the used car. If the vehicle has been used for business travel, rental services or off-road recreation, its reliability and expected life span can be affected negatively. A car that has been used for off-road will have some damage on the axels, a teenager as a previous owner will be damaging to the transmission, and typically a senior citizen or someone using the car for short drives (such as a commuter) will do damage to the exhaust. Once you have a basic understanding of how the car was used, you will know what to look at before purchasing, and what to expect in repairs after you purchase (what type of warranty coverage you will need).

 

By basing your car buying decision on fair market value, vehicle history, maintenance, and use; you should be able to confidently negotiate a fair price for the vehicle.


 Check our website to see if there is a page that explains how we provide the CarFax report.

4 simple tips every shopper should know

There is little doubt that buying a used car can offer some of the greatest value. When compared to buying new, not only is the initial sticker price lower, but used cars tend to depreciate at a much slower rate, while most new cars typically lose around 40% of their value within the first three years.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that all used cars are priced fairly. There are a number of factors that go into determining the fair market value of a used car. The following is a list of a few simple tips as a used car buying guide everyone should know before shopping for a used car. By understanding just a few of these you can quickly determine if the dealer or seller is asking too much:

 

  • Shop around – compare pricing

When determining if the asking price on a used car is fair, it is important to shop around. Before settling on your next used car, it will benefit you to visit multiple dealerships, both in person and online. Browse through our listings available in your area  to get a clear idea of what dealers are asking for the car that you are interested in. This will help you in that first step to understanding what’s out there so you don’t feel pressured into buying the first used car you looked at.

  • Check the Kelley Blue Book® estimated value

Car buying tools such as Kelley Blue Book® (KBB.com) can provide you with all the information you need to negotiate a fair price on  your next used car. For years, KBB.com has helped buyers and sellers alike determine value based on a car’s condition and mileage. Every one of our listings provides you with a VIN number so that you can quickly pull a report from Kelley Blue Book®. Other sites such as VehicleHistory.Gov can also provide you with some insight into the vehicle’s crash and repair history. By having a full understanding of the estimated value of the vehicle you are looking to purchase you will be able to negotiate your final cost on your used car with more confidence.

  • Check the maintenance history on the vehicle

How much care has gone into the used car you are interested in? Has the oil been changed every 3,000 miles and the tires rotated regularly? Ask the dealer or seller for past maintenance records. Everyone one of our listings provides you with a CarFax report  – our premium listings will even provide it for free. Look through the report thoroughly while focusing on how many owners, if the vehicle has been in an accident, and how often the vehicle has been servied.

  • Understand who the previous owner was

Of course you don’t want to go knocking on some stranger’s door, or ask the seller personal questions, but understanding what the car was used for will help you not only during the purchase, but after you have purchased the used car. If the vehicle has been used for business travel, rental services or off-road recreation, its reliability and expected life span can be affected negatively. A car that has been used for off-road will have some damage on the axels, a teenager as a previous owner will be damaging to the transmission, and typically a senior citizen or someone using the car for short drives (such as a commuter) will do damage to the exhaust. Once you have a basic understanding of how the car was used, you will know what to look at before purchasing, and what to expect in repairs after you purchase (what type of warranty coverage you will need).

 

By basing your car buying decision on fair market value, vehicle history, maintenance, and use; you should be able to confidently negotiate a fair price for the vehicle.

Courtesy of: http://cargoogler.blogspot.com

What Do the Numbers on Oil Mean?

Have you ever stared blankly at a wall of motor oil in the store, wondering what all those numbers and letter mean? SAE 5W-30, 15W-40, 10W – what does it all mean? And does it really make a difference which goes in your car?

Courtesy of: http://cargoogler.blogspot.com

The numbers you see on your motor oil can range from 0 to 60 and are determined in laboratory tests by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). These numbers refer to viscosity, or thickness, with the lowest numbers representing the thinnest, and therefore the most viscous oil. Also, the “W” stands for “Winter,” and refers to oil that maintains viscosity even in cold winter temperatures.

The need for different grades of oil is readily apparent when the weather switches, because temperature has a dramatic effect on the viscosity of oil. For example, 40-weight oil may be perfect for a long road trip in the summer when the engine is nice and hot, but turn to sludge in the winter. On the other hand, 5-weight oil may work best in the middle of winter when temperatures are in the single digits, but provide very little lubrication after the snow melts.





Because of this, most motor oils on the market today are multi-viscosity oils, meaning they are formed from different grades of oil and share the characteristics of both thick and thin oil. For example, a 5W-30 oil will have the viscosity of a 5-weight oil when temperatures are cold, but work as well as a 30-weight oil when the engine heats up.

If you’re not sure which grade of motor oil to use, consult your owner’s manual. Most manufacturers recommend something around 10W-30, but there are circumstances that may call for different types of grades. For example:

Older vehicles

  • As engines age, their parts often wear each other down. As a result, there can be more space between the parts of a 100,000 mile engine than in the engine of a brand new car. For older vehicles, consider a higher oil weight to help fill in this extra space.
  • Very cold temperatures
    If you often take short trips and live in a very cold climate, consider a lower number. Thin oil can work through the engine quickly on a cold day, protecting its parts from the moment it starts.
  • Overhead engines
    Because the oil needs to travel to the overhead cams and valve train, most mechanics recommend a lower weight for overhead engines.
kelley-blue-book

What Is the Kelley Blue Book and How Do I Use It?

The Kelley Blue Book has been an essential tool for used car buyers since the 1920s. It all began when Les Kelley, a young car salesman in Los Angeles, compiled a list of cars he wished to buy and the prices he was willing to pay. His list quickly became the trusted source of value information for local banks and dealerships. Mr. Kelley realized that he was on to something, and published the first Blue Book of Motor Car Values in 1926.

Today, the Blue Book has blossomed into the industry’s go-to source for accurate value estimates and trusted quality insight. If you’re shopping around for a used car, the Kelley Blue Book will be your best tool for negotiating the right deal for you.

Retail Value vs. Selling Price

One of the most important things to know about the car you’re considering is the difference between the retail asking price and the car’s actual worth. Dealers will often claim that their price is lower than the Blue Book value in order to encourage buyers, but this claim can be misleading.

The Blue Book price they quote is often the highest retail value, regardless of the actual condition of car in question. If you consult the Blue Book yourself, you’ll find various suggested prices depending on the conditions of the sale and the condition of the vehicle. For example, according to the Kelley Blue Book online, less than 5% of all used cars are considered “excellent” and worth the top Kelley Blue Book price. Comparing the Blue Book’s listed values with the actual condition of the car can help you determine a fair estimate and face negotiations with confidence.

Essential Expert Insight

The Blue Book also offers access to an extensive library of research materials. If you’re still looking for the right model, you can consult the collection of expert and consumer ratings and reviews. Real owners will give you an idea of the lifespan and repairs you can expect from each vehicle. Once you find one you like, the Blue Book website can specify value estimates to your area and calculate the value of your trade-in, so you know exactly what to expect when you walk into your local dealership.

The Kelley Blue Book is just one more tool you can use to make the best used car decision. Even if you’re new to the used car market, you can still make a good decision with tools like the Kelley Blue Book. Check out our below Kelley Blue Book deals!

Courtesy of: nashville.nashvillescene.com

How to Inspect a Used Car

You’ve found a car that seems perfect. The price is right, it drives well, and has all the features you’re looking for. But is it too good to be true? Whether you’re at the dealership or buying from an independent seller, you can’t always trust the salesman to reveal the dirty little secrets of their products. It’s important to learn how to spot red flags on your own. Here are some tips to conduct an effective vehicle inspection.

Bottoms Up

Courtesy of: nashville.nashvillescene.com

Grab a flashlight and start with the undercarriage. Look closely at the condition of each of the components. If you find something that looks newer than the rest, and the seller hasn’t told you of any repairs, he’s probably hiding something. Also inspect the framework and floor pans for rust, and check the ground for signs of drips and leakages.

Tired Tires

A vehicle’s tires can be a surprisingly good gauge of the car’s condition. Check for wear by inserting a penny into the tire treads. If the top of Lincoln’s upside-down head is visible, the tires probably need to be replaced. Perform the penny test in multiple places along the wheel tread to see if the wear is even. Uneven wear can be a sign that the car is misaligned, often due to a serious accident. Check that the condition of the tires is appropriate for the mileage. If the car has low mileage and worn tires, there’s a chance that someone tampered with the odometer.

The Walk Around

Many buyers do a walk-around inspection without knowing what to look for. Your primary targets are rust and damaged seals. Check the lower part of the body for exposed metal, rust, bumps, and discolored paint. Some rust is to be expected, especially near the wheels. Use a refrigerator magnet to check for repaired panels on all sides. If the magnet sticks in some areas and not others, there might have been extensive repairs. Make sure the doors, windows, and trunk close and seal properly.

Under the Hood

Don’t be intimidated. Even auto-novices can easily spot issues in the engine compartment. Make sure everything looks clean and rust-free around engine. If there are signs of newer paint, or if the bumpers around the hood have been painted over, the car has likely been repainted due to damage or rust. Make sure the oil is clean and at the correct level. If not, it’s a good indicator that the car was not well cared for.

If you know what you’re looking for, you can keep yourself from making a terrible buying decision. Avoid the pressure to hurry the inspection, and make sure you look over every inch of your new vehicle.