fbpx

JAR’s Car Buying Guide

For our customers who may be considering replacing their current vehicles or adding to the family fleet, the experts at JAR have some advice to save you both time and money.

New vs. Used

Marketing companies are working harder than ever to sell Americans on the dream of owning a shiny, brand new vehicle. The problem is that the only thing that fades quicker than that new car smell is the value of a new car once it is driven off the dealer’s lot. Carfax has found that “the value of a new vehicle can drop by more than 20 percent after the first 12 months of ownership. Then, for the next four years, you can expect your car to lose roughly 10 percent of its value annually. This means that a new car can be worth as little as 40 percent of its original purchase price after five years.” This is terrible news for new car buyers, but great news for you since you can purchase an incredibly reliable vehicle in great condition for less than half the cost of a new vehicle. 

But what about the peace of mind that comes with a new car warranty?

Warranties for new vehicles may provide some confidence for vehicle owners. A typical new car warranty lasts between 4 and 10 years and between 48,000 and 100,000 miles. These warranties will cover any major issues with the (engine or transmission) that would be due to manufacturing defects. As cars have become increasingly more reliable since the 1980s—led by the Japanese auto manufacturers—these warranties are less necessary. However, if a factory warranty is something that you want to take advantage of, one good option is to buy a vehicle with miles and time left on the original warranty. There are excellent deals to be had on off-lease vehicles. These are vehicles that are usually three or four years old with 24,000 to 48,000 miles on the odometer. By today’s standards, these cars are barley broken in, and having a few thousand miles left on the warranty will give you the opportunity to rule out major issues risk-free. 

No Warranty, No Problem

Buying a used vehicle without a warranty does not have to be a risky proposition. As long as you bring the vehicle to JAR for a pre-purchase inspection, we can identify any issues that need immediate or near-term attention. This will give you confidence in your purchase and allows you to go back to the seller and negotiate a better price based on your vehicle. Some sellers will offer to fix the issues for you before you buy, but if they were either unable or unwilling to perform the work before trying to sell the vehicle, do you really trust them to fix it correctly? Insist on a lower price and bring the car to JAR for any repairs! 

JAR Recommended Vehicles

We agree with Consumer Reports that Toyota, Lexus, and Subaru offer the greatest reliability. Other Asian brands that consistently rank highly on Consumer Reports’ best used car list are Acura, Honda, Nissan, Infiniti, and Mazda. Any models from these brands are worth checking out, but when looking to buy a used vehicle there are some very specific factors you should consider (see Red Flags to Avoid below). 

Where to Start Your Search

Searching for your next vehicle has been made incredibly easy thanks to websites like autotrader.com and cargurus.com. CarGurus even provides information about how long the vehicle has been listed for sale and if the price has dropped; this is very helpful for negotiating purposes. Autotrader offers links to complete Carfax vehicle history reports, while CarGurus offers a more basic vehicle history check (number of owners, accident history, and title check). 

Red Flags to Avoid and Using the Vehicle History Report

If a vehicle listed on autotrader.com does not include a link to the complete vehicle history report (Carfax or Autocheck), especially if the listing is from dealer, do not waste your time with that vehicle or that dealer. The advertised prices of these listings are often hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than similar vehicles, but a dealer not willing to provide the Carfax report is very likely trying to hide something. There may be some listings from private sellers that do not include Carfax reports, and if one of these vehicles looks appealing, consider contacting the seller to ask for the report. If a private seller does not have the report, you could at least ask about the vehicle history and then verify it by purchasing the Carfax on your own; the $40 you spend could be well worth it. 

A Carfax report will not only tell you how many owners a vehicle has had, it will also tell you where the vehicle was owned. This is important because dealers purchase cars from auctions all over the country and resell them in Georgia. Vehicles that were owned north of the Mason-Dixon line were almost certainly exposed to winter conditions that include rock salt on the roads. This leads to corrosion that results in earlier breakdown of exhaust system and suspension components. Try to find a vehicle that was locally owned in Georgia or in the Southeast if possible. Sometimes a service history is included in a vehicle history report. This gives you an even more accurate idea of where the car was owned and driven. Cars that are serviced in a city often show more wear than cars serviced in suburban and rural areas. 

Don’t necessarily pass over a vehicle just because it has an accident listed on the vehicle history report. Although accidents can sometimes damage a vehicle frame and compromise the safety of a vehicle, many accidents only result in minor cosmetic damage. If you look closely at a Carfax report, you will often see notes regarding the severity of damage a car received in a reported accident. And here is one thing many buyers do not consider: a car with no accidents on its vehicle history report does not mean that car was never in an accident! Some accidents go unreported and different states have different requirements for how they record damage. This means that you should ALWAYS have your vehicle inspected by your experts at JAR before buying. We will look for any evidence of damage that could compromise the safety of the vehicle. 

To schedule a pre-purchase inspection for your next vehicle, just call or stop by to speak with any of our service team members. If we find any issues with the vehicle and you choose to have them fixed at JAR, we will credit the cost of the inspection to your repair. Good Luck with your search!