Buying new cars is stupid from a financial standpoint; it’s just like throwing a bunch of money down the toilet. People like it for various reasons but it’s not very pragmatic, and if you are trying to get ahead financially it should be avoided.
People tend to be averse to used cars but the facts are, buying the RIGHT used car can be an incredible INVESTMENT. A really really good used car is worth its weight in gold almost! It’s even possible in certain cases to buy that dream used car and get a loan on it like one of these title loans in St. Louis, for example, and make money back because you got such a good deal! But how do you find such a great used car?
Here are some pointers:
1) Get a standard transmission.
90% or more of the great deals on used cars are going to be on these cars. And besides that, not only are they far cheaper to maintain (replacing a clutch costs a small fraction of dropping in a whole new automatic transmission), cars with standard transmissions tend to come onto the lot in way better condition. And the better you drive a standard car, the cheaper it is to operate and maintain, starting with improved gas mileage to saving your brakes through engine braking etc.
2) Ignore mileage.
Yes, you read that correctly! Mileage is absolutely the most overrated statistic when buying a used car, despite popular opinion being to the contrary. Some cars operate flawlessly through half a million miles or more, others start to fall apart even before the 100k mile mark. The make and model and year have a lot to do with this. Cars that eat up miles with little or no problems are VW, Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, just to name a few. Even some Hyundais can come out like tanks in the long run. VW Jettas and Passats deserve a special mention here; they commonly go years on end not needing anything aside from routine maintenance!
3) Do Due Diligence
When shopping for a used vehicle, make sure to take it for a proper test drive. Slam on the brakes a couple times to see how they respond. Make sure you take it on the highway at highway speeds (don’t go during rush hour) and take it up and down all gears a few times. Check how it handles around corners. Listen to how smoothly (or not) the motor runs. Check the suspension by pushing up and down on the car while it’s stopped. It should bounce smoothly and not catch or lean.
All in all, remember that the deals are out there. A little careful looking can find you that golden opportunity to get a car worth much more than its selling price.