The Hardest Part Of Buying A Used Car
Andrew Maness August 25, 2015

 

classic Buick for sale.
photo courtesy of Flickr

What’s the hardest part of buying a used car? Getting a bank loan? Nope. Should you need one, it’s relatively easy, so long as you’re being realistic about what you can afford. What about finding the right one? If so, then you must not have heard of the AutoTempest search tool, in which case your finding this article is quite fortuitous. The hardest part of buying a used car isn’t something to be crossed off on a checklist, it’s not a process one must go through, nor is it a tool one needs. The hardest part of buying a used car is deciding what model you’re going to get and sticking to that.

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This wasn’t always the case. Before the internet, the hardest part of buying a used car was finding the right one. On top of that, once you found the right one, there was no concrete way of knowing if you were getting a great deal on it. Limited knowledge and the lack of shared information kept consumers largely in the dark. That is of course until the dawn of the information age, which brought regularly updated knowledge to the masses. Even the largest luddites among us will admit that there is hardly a more efficient way to look for a used car than going online. If someone isn’t using the internet during their car shopping process, then it’s safe to assume that they don’t care about getting a good deal, and enjoy setting money on fire regularly.

All the automotive information that’s out there certainly gives one piece of mind when looking for a vehicle, but there’s only so far all that knowledge can take you. At some point the facts fade away, and you’re left with the intangible elements of the car buying journey. This is the hardest part of the process and it’s where people are most likely to make a mistake. It’s where a salesperson will show their true colors and where all the homework you’ve done counts for nothing. When it comes time to choose what model you’re going home with, you must stick to your guns, listen to your gut, and above all be realistic.

Consumers get the worst of this with new car purchases due to the fact that there are a number of the same model with different options sitting next to each other. However, it’s important not to overlook this moment in used car purchases, because it’s the time when all the knowledge you’ve gleaned during the research portion of the process can be rendered useless. All that preparation won’t do you any good if you start second guessing your decision making. Commitment of any kind is difficult, especially when it comes with a hefty financial element as part of the package. I’d have an easier time proposing than I would choosing between a ’62 Ferrari 250 GTO or a ’66 Porsche 906 Carrera 6.

As is the case with any tough decision, the key is to be honest with yourself. Spreadsheets, professional advice, and research will only get you so far. At some point you have to buckle down and trust your gut. When shopping for a used car, that point comes when choosing the model you’re going to get. You should arrive there only after you’ve thoroughly researched all your options, secured funds for purchase, and had a professional evaluate your choices. It’s not easy to make up your mind, especially when there are so many intangible elements of the purchasing process. However, if you’ve done your due diligence, you should be in a good position, one where you are fortunate enough to need only to sweat the small stuff.

You can’t know for sure how you’ll feel about a car in 6 months, a year, or 10 years. But you should have a concrete idea of how the car is going to perform, how it’s value will change, what it’s going to cost you, and those things will give you an idea of how it will make you feel. All the research you’ve done, all the factual information you’ve gathered, it’s there for piece of mind just as much as it’s there to provide you with guidance. It should inform the emotional part of the decision making process, not counter it. If you’ve handled the whole process properly, you should arrive at the hardest part of it with the greatest luxury of all, having no bad options.

Find your next car with AutoTempest!

 

 

Andrew Maness Head Writer

Native New Englander currently residing in Los Angeles. I like to go fast and tell stories, sometimes from behind a camera, sometimes in front of one.

  • Jake Wright

    Great article, with some truly valuable insights. Going to a car dealership largely undecided is what dealerships often prey upon. Understanding the process in its entirety and going prepared is how the consumer wins the negotiation. I also agree that a serious researching process drastically reduces the risk of the surprises that make us regret our decisions down the road.