Top 5 Myths About Buying a Used Car

December 26th, 2016 by
used car myth

From Hollywood’s depiction of used car salesman to good friends who have had bad experiences buying a used car, the idea of buying a used car might not settle well with some people. However, used car buying has greatly changed over the last decade and many of the myths surrounding the industry are a thing of the past.


Along with misconceptions like you’re bound to get ripped off or all used car dealers are dishonest, there are also plenty of myths about buying a used car. From the ordinary myths like always be sure to visit the dealership at the end of the month to the extremely absurd like you’re sure to get a better deal in inclement weather, some myths will end up costing you a lot of time and money if you believe them. We debunk the following 5 myths about buying a used car in San Diego here:

1. Paying Cash Will Get You a Better Price
The old saying of “Cash is King” is true in many cases, but not always true when buying a used car. The dealership may often be incentivized to finance vehicles and may even pad the interest rate you pay in order to increase the amount they make on the transaction. In many ways, this means the dealership will actually make more money if they help you finance your vehicle. Therefore, they are less motivated to offer further discounts for those who pay with cash only.

For that reason, despite a popular thought, bringing your own financing when purchasing a used car, is not always the best option. When you bring your own financing it is essentially the same as paying cash to the dealership. As mentioned above, if you do this the dealership may be less likely to discount the price. The highly discounted interest ways at the dealership may be a much better option and significantly lower than what your own bank or credit union can offer.

Before you purchase a used car, do the math and look at the deal as a whole rather than focusing on single factors or a single component of the car. A “good price” may not always mean you got the best deal. Consider everything from gas mileage to repairs when looking for the best price.

Of course, in your used car buying journey, you should choose the financing option that makes the most sense for your own budget, not the one you think will get the best price for your used vehicle. Check out our blog Safe Ways to Make Payments When Buying a Used Car for more information about payment options.

2. A Warranty or Coverage is Always a Scam
A warranty can often feel like a scam if you don’t know the details around it. If you don’t understand the length of the warranty or what it covers exactly, than it may appear useless. In reality, knowing what your warranty does and does not cover can help save you a lot of money in the long run.

Also, just because you purchase a used car does not mean you have a warranty. Dealerships do not automatically give warranties of any kind. When you do get a warranty, it’s important that you understand exactly what is covered and for how long you will have the coverage. Since not all warranties cover the whole car you may want to get two warranties. Definitely ask as many questions as necessary so you know exactly what is covered. The last thing you want is to think you are covered down the road only to discover your warranty ended months sooner.

In some states, newer used cars actually have cheaper warranties. Do your research when purchasing your used car in San Diego, and you may actually get a great deal on a warranty. Additionally, just like the cost of a used car, the price of the warranty can also be negotiated. Make sure you get a San Diego warranty for your used car from the manufacturer or the dealership you trust.

3. Buy Today or the Deal will Be Gone Tomorrow
This line almost feels like a cliché thanks to how often salesmen are portrayed saying it in movies and on television. But the truth is, used car dealerships always have great deals. Unless the car you’ve found is one-of-a-kind or in limited supply, you’ll be able to find a similar deal the next day, next week, or even next month. The “deal” may change forms such as a lower interest rate instead of a rebate, or lower mileage and a better warranty, but overall, you’ll spend roughly the same amount for your car.

You should never feel as if you are being rushed into buying a used car. If you’re not getting the car you want or the deal you want, it’s okay to walk away – regardless of how much time the salesperson has spent with you.

This debunked myth goes for the end of the month too. If a dealership is a few cars away from hitting their sales quota, and they have the car you want in stock, there is a very small possibility you will get a better deal. However, you will probably have to sacrifice on color or added features. However, if the dealership has already hit their sales quota for the month they may not go the extra mile to give you a better deal. Meaning the price you pay on the 30th of the month will be no different than the price you pay on the 1st of the next month. Don’t try to chase deals, it is always in your best interest to buy the vehicle at the time that makes the most sense for you and get the one you really want, configured to how you really want it.

4. Car Guide Prices are The End-All-Be-All
Nope. The good news is car prices are literally just that – prices in a guide. They simply calculate prices based on the trends in your area and then add extra for optional equipment while subtracting for high mileage. Deductions for past damages or existing problems cannot be deducted in a car guide.

Because so many dealerships go by car guide prices as well as their own experience, it’s important to know that no matter how much you think you know about cars (or how good of a negotiator you think you are) the car dealership will always have far more information about the cars they are selling and will always be able to better control the transaction than you. Used car dealers negotiate hundreds and hundreds of transaction each month. That’s their job, that’s what they do. They know the market, the available incentives and can use their buying volume to get you a below market price on any used car. It is in your best interest to work with them (not against them, or see them as an enemy) to help you get the best deal possible.

Like buying a house, buying a used car is a major expense and a big decision. There are many misconceptions about what you should and shouldn’t do but if you research thoroughly, inspect the car lot before making any decisions and always take our car for a test drive, and even better, take it to a mechanic, you are sure to find the used car you’ve always wanted. Take your time, weigh your options before you settle on any used cars in San Diego.

5. The Internet is the Only Place to Get a Good Deal on a Used Car
There’s no doubt there are plenty of used cars online and many of them are great bargains. More and more people are relying on the internet because it is easy and convenient. Whether you’re sitting at your desk at work, or in your pajamas at midnight, you can “shop” for a car when the time is most convenient for you. The internet can also feel like a much more comfortable place to look for a used car because you are doing it yourself and aren’t being bombarded by salesmen. However, it’s not necessarily the best place to buy your car. The internet is filled with used cars being sold by private sellers that may not be trustworthy or reliable.

Yes, the internet is definitely a great place to start, but part of buying a used car means test driving, looking at the tires, and getting an idea of how the car feels as you drive on the roads of San Diego. The same goes for looking at car magazine reviews. While many of the reviews may be a helpful start, your opinion and needs are individual and at times, much different than the next buyer. It is in your best interest to get off the internet and actually go to a dealership to look at used cars. You may find great deals on used cars that have not yet been posted online or, were there at one time but came off to make room for other cars.

If you’re in the market for a used car in San Diego, Auto City has hundreds of makes and models of used cars available to meet your needs. See our inventory of hundreds of used cars. We are happy to help you find the perfect used car for you and make the used car buying process easier than you ever imagined.