As you’ve probably noticed, new cars are getting more and more expensive, with the average vehicle setting you back $36,000 or more. Is it really worth financing a car for six years just to get that new car smell and full warranty?
In my opinion… no.
The truth of the matter is that you can get a lot more bang for your buck if you buy a used car, thanks to the magic of depreciation. Like the saying goes, “The minute a person drives a new car off the lot, it loses approximately 10% of its value.”
When you look at it like this, you realize that you can buy a 2-3 year old car (perhaps just off lease) that still has plenty of life left in it for a fraction of the cost when new, allowing you to afford a car that you might not have been able to have otherwise.
Sports cars are particularly tempting, as you can often get into a slightly used one for the price of a well-equipped sedan. Which would you much rather drive, a ’15 Corvette or a ’18 Camry? And if you’re willing to go with an older/higher mileage example, the deals are even better!
The key here is to buy smart. First and foremost, you absolutely MUST run a free vin check, to make sure that the car you’re looking at hasn’t been in any accidents and to ensure that the car has a clear title. Otherwise, you could be in for a rude awakening down the line.
It’s also important to do some research on the car you’re looking to buy and see how they hold up over time. While e46 M3s and e39 M5s might be tempting given their low prices, there’s a reason they’re so cheap.. they are money pits when (not if) things go wrong with them. Plenty of people have learned this the hard way.
Getting a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) is another must, as these guys will put the car on a lift and check out the car thoroughly, looking for any signs of abuse, damage, and repairs, along with identifying any potential issues before you purchase the car. A PPI is a small price to pay for the piece of mind that you’re getting a solid car, and one that hasn’t been abused.
Lastly, look for modifications done to the car. If you’re buying a Mustang, it’s not uncommon to find a car with an aftermarket exhaust, headers, and things of that nature. But who’s to say that the mods were done right, and that they haven’t negatively affected the car’s reliability and such. Personally, I’d be looking for an unmolested car and go from there.
Follow these tips and you should be able to find an excellent used sports car that will give you many years of enjoyment without breaking the bank. Enjoy!