Does going to the local car dealer make you want a root canal instead? From the waiting, the uncertainty, and the expected high cost, many people like you dread going to the dealer to buy a car. Years ago, the ONLY alternative was buying a car from a friend, neighbor or through the classifieds. This isn’t something I’d look forward to either.
Let me suggest some things you may not have considered.
CarMax is a nationwide used car dealer. What makes them different? First, they will buy your car even if you don’t buy a car from them. This means they make you an offer whether you end up buying a Cadillac, Toyota Yaris, or none of the above. Because of this, you can have confidence in how they assess your car when it comes time to trade it in. Unlike your dealer, if you see a car you like online, the web price will be the same when you get to the local CarMax. No bargaining, no ‘body-side-molding’ conversations, etc. Since they have locations nationwide, if the car you want isn’t ‘in stock,’ they can ship it to you for a modest fee. No new car dealer can beat that selection. CarMax also provides service, extended warranties and accessories. Finally, if the car you buy is less than 5 years old, the initial factory warranty may still apply.
The Government Services Administration handles miscellaneous tasks for lots of federal agencies. One of these tasks is selling gently used cars at auction. As long as you are near a metro area, there is probably a conveniently located GSA vehicle auction location. Consider being able to buy a hybrid, electric or conventional vehicle with low miles and that has ALREADY depreciated (so the car doesn’t lose significant value while you own it). You could probably get a late model vehicle with more bells and whistles than a bargain basement used car.
If you’re like most people, you either haven’t considered or are hesitant to buy a former rental car. The phrase ‘Its a rental’ implies that most people don’t take good care of these cars and that the rental car companiesonly maintain them when they have to. Yet, the number of rental car companies offering their recently used vehicles has increased and they seem to be getting better at it. They also offer warranties and lower-mileage vehicles.