Three Tested Secrets for Finding a Great Used Car

January 21st, 2017 by
used car shopping secrets

Shopping for a used car can be one of the life’s pleasures, or a laborious chore. It’s a big purchase. In America, and especially in southern California, your car is viewed as a fashion statement, an extension of your personality, and sometimes as a status symbol. But buying the best used car that does all that for you, at the right time and at the right price, doesn’t have to be a matter of luck. Here are three powerful tips that will streamline the shopping process for you and make it more enjoyable. You will want to know 1) What you are shopping for, 2) When to buy it, and 3) How to make the purchase on the most favorable terms.


Know What You Are Shopping For
The first secret of successful shopping is to get help evaluating which types of vehicles you would be happy owning. The common misconception is that there is one ‘right’ vehicle for you, that you have to hunt for it, and that anything else would be the ‘wrong’ vehicle. How frustrating!
You certainly have a lot of used cars in El Cajon and San Diego to choose from. It’s no secret that modern cars last a long time. With a little maintenance and care, your vehicle will be reliable and attractive well past 200,000 miles, and longer. Taxi cabs normally log over 500,000 miles before they are retired. That’s a lot of years without a car payment! It’s no wonder that the used car industry is huge business all across America. People have confidence that today’s vehicles will last.
Evaluating your needs should be a pleasant process. So check with us first here at Auto City. Why? Because we’ll consult with you, listen to you talk about all the features you want in your next vehicle, and then offer suggestions on various makes and models that you might enjoy owning. No sales pressure, either, it’s just a nice conversation. Your consultant will probably discuss with you several models that you might not have otherwise considered. That streamlines your shopping process, and helps you become fully informed and focused. You will know exactly what you’re shopping for. It’s like shopping for nice clothes, perhaps a new suit, or some special cosmetics. You appreciate being ‘consulted with’ and not ‘sold.’ Nobody likes sales pressure. The shopping process is supposed to be fun, not work.
And if you like, your Auto City consultant would be happy to send you an email, perhaps every week or so, that lists several of the vehicles (we receive new vehicles in every day) that meet your ‘shopping list’ requirements. That helps you develop a feel for the market and its used car prices. The more you know, the better. Agree?

Here’s a side note that might help you. Consider that many nationwide companies advertise that they recondition their used cars before offering them for sale. True and good. And every company probably hires great mechanics too. But consider that a mechanic who reconditions vehicles for a huge national company knows that he (or she) will probably never see the cars they work on again. The vehicles could be shipped hundreds of miles away to be sold. But a mechanic who works for us right here in El Cajon knows that he will very likely to see his vehicles again, after they are sold. We want your service business too, and want you to be a completely satisfied customer, for a very long time.
So you are welcome to meet the mechanic who reconditioned the used car you are considering purchasing from us, and to review his repair and service notes with him. Some shoppers find this step is very important, and that it makes them feel much better about their purchase! That’s one way we are different from the bigger companies.

Buy at the Right Time
Let’s move on to the second secret on shopping for a used car; timing. The old wisdom was to simply buy a car towards the end of a month. Supposedly the sales manager would cut prices late in the month, simply because he was under pressure from the dealership owner and managers to meet his monthly sales quota. That simple rule, though, no longer holds true in today’s sophisticated business world, where up-to-date information is always at our fingertips.
Every dealer keeps a daily record of the vehicles on his sales lot. Since the dealer finances his inventory of vehicles, he can readily see how much interest he is paying on each car, every day. That can be more pressure on him than a monthly sales quota. Plus, he has to buy insurance on those vehicles while they are on his lot. Like clothes on display in a store, the faster they sell, the less they cost the store, and the sooner the store can put other items on display for the next customer to buy. Make sense? So the best time to buy your next used car might not be at the end of a month.
Also on timing, everybody wants a good deal, but most people do not like having to haggle over price. It’s distasteful to them. Very well, too. So get your good deal the smart way instead. By having a list of several potential vehicles you would enjoy owning, you put the odds greatly in your favor of getting the lowest price on at least one of them. Sooner or later some of your ideal choices will have stayed on a dealer’s lot (maybe ours) too long, and will get a lower, discounted price. Perhaps everything about the car is exactly what you want, except for the color. Is it still too good of a price to pass up? Only you can say, but it’s nice to have that choice. A big lesson from business school, though, is that people start changing their minds about what features they really want as the prices start coming down.
Another aspect of timing to consider is the vehicle you now own. Is it nearing time for an expensive major service, or coming due for tires and the like? Normally you would be better off (financially) trading your car in still needing that work, then you would be from spending a lot of money on it right before you sell it. Otherwise you don’t get your money out of the repairs or new tires. Make sense? We’ll do the repairs, and the next owner will receive a car in great condition. It’s better for everybody involved. So don’t wait till the last minute to locate your ideal replacement. Get the process moving well in advance. Give yourself ample time to shop, so you don’t find yourself under time pressure to replace your car. Shopping is supposed to be fun, not stressful.

Get the Best Terms on Your Purchase
Finally, our last of the three secrets is about buying on the best terms. It’s about your credit. While credit scores don’t normally change by huge amounts monthly, errors and mistakes do pop up on credit reports. It’s not uncommon either. Imagine finding an ideal car to buy, at a great price, and then suddenly being informed there are errors on your credit report. Those could take time to fix, time that could cost you that great deal you waited for.
The solution? We can do a ‘soft inquiry’ to access your credit report in advance. The inquiry is only for information, and does not impact your credit score. That gives you a clear picture of what rates and terms you best qualify for. That also gives you some shopping leeway too, and helps you set a budget. So prepare in advance, the easy way. If you are ready to apply – fill out our quick credit application to get started!
In summary, these three secrets are really just good advice from people who work in the used car industry. They are simply passing on years of experience to you. Feel free to share this article with your friends.
If you apply these three shopping tips, they will help you easily buy a used car the best price, at the right time. That’s the easy way to find a great used car in El Cajon, San Diego and the surrounding areas. Happy shopping!