Looking for a new ride? Shopping for a pre-owned vehicle can help you save thousands of dollars on your next car, van, or light-duty truck, given the steep depreciation rate on new vehicles.
According to data from Edmunds.com, a mid-sized sedan that sells new for $27,660 will lose about $7,419 in value within the first 12 months, despite the fact that most new car warranties extend well beyond the first year of ownership.
Depreciation in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year of ownership slows down significantly - in general, vehicles depreciate less in years 2-4 than they do during the first year of ownership, which is why the top used car dealers focus their business model on delivering savings and great service to their customers.
Today's Used Car Dealers Are Different
In the past, used car dealers were widely viewed as unscrupulous, fly-by-night operators who would take advantage of shoppers by concealing damage and mechanical problems.
Thanks to widespread efforts to improve the image of the used car dealership industry, along with online resources like the National Motor Vehicle Title Information Service (NMVTIS), buying a used car from your local pre-owned dealership is a safe, viable alternative to purchasing a new car.
Better yet, buying used gives you access to vehicles that might otherwise be priced outside of your budget, giving you the chance to shop for a more expensive make or model than you might be able to if you were to buy a new car.
Most used car dealers also offer warranties on the vehicles they sell, giving you the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you're protected against mechanical defects or maintenance issues just like you are with a brand-new vehicle. Known as Certified Pre-Owned programs, these extended used car warranties often come along with added perks like free oil changes, car washes, and special financing options.
Drive Like A Billionaire
If the significant savings on depreciation and extra focus on customer service isn't enough to convince you to consider shopping at your local used car dealer for your next vehicle, maybe this will - Warren Buffet, a.k.a. the "Oracle of Omaha" has long been an advocate of cut-rate cars.
In a BBC documentary about his life, Buffett's daughter disclosed that Buffett liked to buy cars at a steep discount, including cars that had been previously-owned or hail-damaged - despite the fact that Buffet has a net worth of approximately 87.4 billion!