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Buying a used car with confidence

In the market for a new-to-you vehicle?

There are pros to buying used:

  • The original owner will have absorbed the costly depreciation that occurs in the first few years of ownership.
  • And, since the value of the vehicle is lower, you will save on sales tax and insurance premiums.

But how do you find a used vehicle that fits both your needs and budget? Adam Dodds, lead indirect lending specialist at Dupaco, offers these tips:

Before you shop

The car-buying process is less daunting if you do your homework first. It’s a good idea to get pre-approved so you can set a budget from the start—narrowing your choices and saving time as you shop.

Getting pre-approved also gives you an opportunity to review your credit score to give you a clearer picture of your financing options. The higher your score, the lower your rate will be.

Even if you plan to pay cash, a free Dupaco Money Makeover can help you review your budget to determine what you can afford to spend. (It might even help you free up extra money!)

Safety first

When you’re considering a used vehicle, it pays to know the vehicle’s history. Get a vehicle history report from a site like CARFAX by simply entering the vehicle’s VIN or license plate number.

“You’ll find out, for instance, how long the vehicle has been sitting on the dealer’s lot,” Dodds says. “If it’s been there awhile, ask why.”

Take the vehicle on a thorough test drive, and have a reputable mechanic look at it prior to purchase.

Know your options

If you’re in the market for a newer used vehicle, consider buying a Certified Preowned (CPO) car. These vehicles are relatively new with low miles and have been inspected and refurbished by the dealership prior to the sale. CPO cars also might come with additional manufacturer’s used car warranties.

Due to the certification, though, these used cars will often come at a higher price than comparable used cars that are not certified, Dodds says.

Take advantage of the many online resources that can help you compare vehicles and their values, including:

“Members need to keep in mind that no two used autos are alike due to miles, options and condition,” Dodds says. “Pricing will vary between similar cars.”

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