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Why Do Used Cars Remain Popular in the USA?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/23/2019 Posted: 10/17/2015

Buying used cars in the USA has always been a good option for people looking for a vehicle whether they are in the United States or they are buying from another country. Buying used offers some nice benefits, but there are also some potential drawbacks. We’ll be discussing both, along with how to find used cars.

The Prices

A used car that is a few years old is going to be much cheaper than a brand new car that’s a similar make and model. People who want to save money, or who don’t have enough money to afford a new vehicle, tend to cite this as the number one reason for buying used.

Often, you can save several thousand dollars or more when you choose to buy used vehicles. Many people will pay cash for the used car so they don’t have to go through financing from the bank or the used car dealership.

No Depreciation

When you buy a new car and drive it off the lot, it immediately loses value. Over the course of the first couple of years of owning that vehicle, it depreciates by around 30%, meaning you are technically losing value on the vehicle even though there is nothing wrong with it. When you buy used cars, you don’t have this problem, as they’re already depreciated. Buying cars that are a couple of years old and that are still in good shape means even more savings.

Great for Second Vehicles and First Time Owners

Whether you are buying a second car or truck to get back and forth to work or to shuttle the kids around, or you are excited about getting your first ever vehicle, used cars are the go-to choice for many in the United States. They can still last a long time when given proper care, and they can fulfill your needs without requiring you to take out a hefty loan that might be difficult to afford.

Foreign Buyers Love Used Cars Too

Even buyers from outside of the United States love the idea of getting used cars and then importing them to their country. They can find a number of vehicles that simply aren’t available in their nation, or that are severely limited, and then buy them at a cheap price. It does cost to ship and to import, but many buyers from outside of the United States find that it’s well worth the cost, as they will still be saving money.

What Are the Disadvantages?

While there are certainly quite a few benefits from buying used cars in the USA, it’s important to note that there are some potential disadvantages as well.

When you buy used, there’s the potential for there to be something wrong with the car mechanically. Most of the time, you will not have any warranties for the vehicle. If you buy through a used car dealer, you may have a warranty, but it will likely only cover the drivetrain, which doesn’t really amount to much help if something else is wrong with the vehicle.

Additionally, it may be more difficult to get a good price when you sell your used car, simply because the vehicle will be even older at that point. Many people buy used and then keep the car until they need to sell it for scrap or parts.

Finding Used Cars in the USA

If you like the idea of saving money on your next vehicle purchase and used cars are in your future, you need to know how and where to find them. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to locate used cars through the internet, and even in your local area.

First, you can find used car dealerships that are local to you, and they may have some vehicles that are in your price range and that fit your needs. Whenever you are looking for used cars, make sure you know the actual fair market value for the vehicle so you know whether the dealer has increased the price too high.

Buying through a dealer can be a decent option, but you want to avoid financing through the dealer if you can help it. Often, their rates will be much higher than what you will find through a bank or credit union, and this means you will be paying more for the vehicle in the end, possibly negating your savings entirely.

Second, you can buy through a private seller. While you won’t be able to find financing, you could still potentially take out a loan to cover the cost of the vehicle if needed. Most people looking for cars through private owners will simply pay the full price of the vehicle, after negotiating, in cash.

However, there is a downside to this, as you can’t always verify the owner, and you may not be able to get as much information on the vehicle’s history as you would like. While many people have been successful buying through private sellers, there are nearly as many stories of people buying lemon vehicles that are nothing but trouble. You can find vehicles this way, but you should always tread with care.

Third, you might want to consider cars in the USA from an auction. Buying from an auction gives you the potential to save even more money on the vehicles. You can find public auctions, government auctions, and even dealer auctions, some of which you can attend through a proxy. Both new and used vehicles, as well as salvage car are available at auctions.

As always, make sure you can get as much information on the history of the vehicle as possible before you decide to buy. Also, know the value of the vehicle so you don’t inadvertently bid too high.

As you can see, buying used cars in the USA can offer a wealth of benefits, and it’s relatively easy to find cars for sale. If you are patient and diligent, and willing to research the vehicles, it is possible to find a fantastic used car that can last you a number of years.

Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.

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