Finding A Cheap, Yet Reliable Car: 6 Buying Tips To Follow

May 20, 2024

Buying a new car is a pretty daunting prospect in this high-inflation world we now find ourselves in.

It’s especially tricky if you are looking for a new set of wheels that won’t break the bank, is reliable enough to avoid the need to bring it into the garage every other month, and has all the bells and whistles that make driving an enjoyable experience. While these stipulations may appear an impossible ask, there are a few things you can do that will help you discover your dream vehicle for less than you might expect. This post is here to answer your prayers and, hopefully, assist you in ending up with something that meets all of your requirements without worrying about whether you can cover the cost.

Consider Used Car Options First

If you are serious about saving some coin, you should really avoid buying a brand-new car fresh from the lot. New models have the unnerving habit of losing a large percentage of their value as soon as you leave the lot (double digits in some extreme causes). What you gain in reliability and aftercare, you lose out on when it comes to cold, hard cash. In fact, according to Sun Ridge Auto, it’s even possible to grab a surprisingly good model in excellent condition for under 10K! However, before you make your decision to opt for a used car, you need to be aware of your two choices (and why one is significantly better than the other). When it comes to this option, your options include:

  1. Private sale: This type of sale involves parsing a selection of online and physical publications to find people selling their cars. Think Facebook Marketplace, Autotrader, etc.
  2. Dealership: Plenty of dealerships exist that provide access to a range of highly-vetted second-hand options that are in tip-top condition and have the backing of an honest company behind them

While the first option can sometimes seem appealing due to lower costs (after all, a professional dealer has overheads and commissions to deal with), if you are serious about finding a reliable car, you may want to avoid it. Not only will you be entirely on your own if anything goes wrong, but you also are susceptible to scams and all sorts of nefarious stuff. This might not be the case for all listings, but it is undoubtedly possible. When it comes to the second option, you will be much better off for lots of reasons. While it is true they tend to be more expensive than private sellers, they can still be cheap, and in most cases, the higher cost is negligible compared to what you’re receiving. Additionally, having the safety net of knowing that you’re buying from a registered business can offer a serious peace of mind. You can also usually purchase a range of extras like an extended warranty to ensure that even if your preferred model’s warranty has expired, you are still covered. 

Don’t Overlook Dealership Sales Events

Dealerships, just like most other stores, have a tendency to utilize the age-old marketing trick of initiating a sale event every now and then. While most people write this off as a chance for them to shift some of their older models, to believe that would be overly cynical. Many reputable dealers simply want to move stock and are more than prepared to offer some pretty deep discounts in order to do so. You can stay abreast of these events by following their social media channels and setting alerts for when they occur. Once you are aware of an event, you should hop down and bag yourself a fantastic motor and save some money in the process.

Explore Financing Options Carefully

Financing can often get you far more car for your money than you could ever hope to by doing it the old-fashioned way and saving up. There are also different options to explore that could be beneficial depending on your specific circumstances. These include:

  • Leasing: As the name suggests, you are merely leasing the car, not actually owning it. While this is great for some folks because you get a new model every x amount of years and lots of things like maintenance are covered, others avoid it because you can end up paying the price of a new car over time without ever actually having anything to your name.
  • Financing: While you will end up being the proud owner of your chosen vehicle, monthly payments can be large (particularly given the current economy), and you are often required to put down a major sum of money as a down payment.

Understand The Cost Of Upkeep

The cost of a car doesn’t end at the sticker price. You have a whole load of extraneous things to cover, like fuel, insurance, and keeping the thing on the road. While you are obviously going for a reliable model rather than a banger, you will be expected to service it every year to keep it roadworthy. No matter how good a driver you are, cars cost money, and certain brands are more expensive than others in all areas. For example, it’s no use getting an affordable BMW X6 only to find that a new set of tires will set you back the best part of a $1000 or the oil it takes is not available off the shelf.

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Check For Any Hidden Fees That Could Take You Over Budget

Nobody likes hidden fees, but they are just a part of the buying process. You can avoid these things by doing a little research and asking lots of questions before signing on the dotted line. In most cases, using some common sense can prevent a big shock when they announce that the car will actually cost another few thousand dollars. Always remember that if something looks too good to be true, it is.

Read Reviews Before Taking The Plunge

Reading reviews will assist you in making the right choice and save you a lot of heartache if you were to choose something purely based on your heart. Reviews come in the form of professional reviews and user-generated ones. They are both worth reading, as lots of information can provide a better picture, but only those from real users will show you what the car is like after a set amount of time. 

Buying a new car is fraught with issues, from making sure your budget stretches to your preferred models to having a good idea of the cost to keep it running. By using the tips in this post, you will be in a much better position to end up with a vehicle that you can be proud to call your own.

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