One of my passions over the years has been the art of automotive science. Over my lifetime I have researched, studied, kept up on the latest automotive technology with a vengeance. My buddies and I used to play the “name that car makes and model game” as we drove down the various roads all over the USA. It was a competitive game between us to see who could correctly identify the make/model of a car that was approaching us before the other guy, all for bragging rights. This game may seem trivial to some folks but to any of you auto buffs it makes perfect sense. So I thought I’d write a quick post and share a few tips about what I’ve learned over the years of buying and selling a number of cars.
With so many choices in today’s automotive world where does one start? Unfortunately, from my personal experience, there are more than a few car dealerships that still play the high-pressure games. Although with the advent of the internet most well-armed buyers have more than enough resources to level the playing field between them and the car dealership.
Hopefully by the time it comes to look for your new ride you have some idea of what type/make/model of car you are looking for. If you need assistance with this there are some great websites you can utilize. is a great resource to help you research different makes and models and also has a consumer ratings/feedback section where you can read other car owners reviews of that particular vehicle.
Once you have narrowed it down to the particular make and model, I would recommend using a top online auto classified site like , Autotrader is one of the best websites out there from my personal experience, although there are certainly other good sites I would start with them as they seem to have the broadest inventory of new and used vehicles of any site I’ve researched. One word of caution, unless you have a burning desire to be the first butt to warm the leather… save yourself a lot of money and but slightly used! Automobiles are NOT a good investment and they depreciate up to 50% within a few years of ownership. I would recommend purchasing a pre-owned automobile that is two to three years old and has under 30,000 miles on the odometer.
You may ask why two to three years old and under 30k miles? Good question, most manufacturers have a bumper to bumper warranty that covers any defects or problems for four years or 50k miles whatever comes first. By purchasing your car with 30k or fewer miles and two to three years old, you still have enough of a cushion to drive your new ride and still be protected. If you purchase your new car from a new car dealer they may even certify that particular car for up to a 100k mile warranty but that does add to the retail price of the car.
Now that you have found a car you really like and are willing to drive for the foreseeable future its time to negotiate a price. With the advent of the internet, one can search nationwide to find the car of your dreams. I have personally purchased cars all over the country and had them shipped to my residence with great success. Shipping to most parts of the country costs between $500 to $1000 depending on the distance.
Car pricing can vary greatly from one section of the country to the other and whether the car is being offered through a dealer or a private party. I would recommend using a site like Kelly Blue Book or, you can look up the exact pricing for your car based on the year, make, and particular model. KBB will then give you an estimated price range based on three pricing levels; wholesale or trade-in, private party, and retail dealer pricing.
If you decide to purchase from a dealer, I would stay away from the “our best price” model some dealers employ. Usually with a little negotiating you can find that same car for quite a bit less somewhere else. I always negotiate the price I wish to pay using the KBB wholesale pricing. It is a good way to always low ball the dealer/private party and who knows, maybe they are motivated enough to sell you the car at a wholesale price.
Another very important aspect of buying a pre-owned automobile, get a research report on the vehicle before committing! and are two of the top car history reporting services. They will run you a report that details its entire history so you will have peace of mind concerning any accidents, title discrepancies, flood/hail damage, salvage title, service history on that particular automobile.
Below is a summary to a smart automobile purchasing experience:
If you can, purchase a slightly used or pre-owned vehicle and save a TON of money!
If you’re not sure of your next horseless carriage, utilize a good automobile research/review site.
Utilize a good car classified service to search nationwide as prices/inventory vary across the country. Look for cars that are 2-3 years old and have under 30k miles on the odometer.
Look for cars that are 2-3 years old and have under 30k miles on the odometer.
Negotiate the price utilizing an automobile pricing guideline service and start by using the wholesale price.
Before you purchase your next bucket of bolts, make sure it isn’t! Use a car research service to review its history or you may be sorry.
Do not be afraid to purchase your next car from someone out of state. Shipping is relatively painless and easy to set up.
I hope you find value in this article and from my personal experiences purchasing and selling a number of cars over the past twenty plus years. If you did enjoy this article please feel free to re-tweet it and leave a comment below, I really appreciate your comments.