What You Need To Know Before Buying a Used Car

There are many advantages to buying a used car rather than a new car. Today's automobiles last a long time and can go hundreds of thousands of miles if they are properly maintained. Automobiles typically depreciate the fastest during the first two years, so if you purchase a 2 or 3 year old vehicle, the original owner paid a large portion of the depreciation. Of course, even older vehicles can be a good choice if you know what to look for. So, with that, let's take a look at how you can find a safe and reliable vehicle that suits your needs.

Finding the right one

Buying a car can be an emotional experience. Believe it or not, I've seen people with 3 or 4 kids buy a 2 door sports coupe because they got caught up in the moment. So, rule number one, think about how you are going to use the car and what features you want. When you do this you should be able to narrow your choices down a bit. You can do a lot of research online but there's nothing like seeing a vehicle in person, checking out the features and going on a test drive. This is the advantage of going to a dealer who stocks a good selection. If you can find a professional automobile salesperson who is a product specialist they can help guide you through the process and show you alternative.

Dealer vs private party

Many people think they can save money purchasing from a private party rather than a dealer. This may or may not be true. Fortunately, with all the automotive shopping services available on the internet, you can get a pretty good idea of what a particular car should cost. Additionally, review sites like Google and Dealerrater help you see how dealers treat their customers. Here at Tubbs Brothers Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, we put every used vehicle through a rigorous mechanical inspection, we do necessary repairs, change fluids then send the vehicle through our professional detailing department. Consider this when looking at vehicles, here at the dealership we spend an average of over $800 in reconditioning on every vehicle we offer for sale. That means if you purchase a vehicle off a Craigslist listing or off the side of the road, you need to plan for repairs. One of free services we offer here at Tubbs Brothers Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is a free vehicle inspection no matter where you are purchasing a vehicle. Just complete the Free Vehicle Inspection and Appraisal request and we'll schedule an inspection for you and give you a free market value appraisal. We'll also provide you a free AutoChek Report that will give you an Accident Check, Title and Problem Check, Mileage Check and Vehicle Use and Event Check. No matter if you use our free service or choose to inspect a vehicle on your own, it's critical to check the vehicle history. Title problems, mileage discrepancies or severe accident history can lower the value of a vehicle by thousands of dollars, not to mention lead to future problems. Another important thing to do is have the vehicle inspected by an experienced technician. That means inspecting tires, fluids, brakes, suspension and drive train as well as lifting the vehicle and looking closely at the undercarriage. We also check each vehicle for safety recalls and complete them before we sell a car. Your safety is our #1 priority! Expect to pay $100 or so to have this done if you don't use our free service. No matter what, it's money well spent. Finally, see if there are maintenance records available. When it comes to value, at Tubbs Brothers we price every used vehicle to give you the best possible bang for your buck. We compare our prices to the market daily and adjust them as necessary meaning you will get a fair and honest deal on a safe and reliable vehicle from us.

Selling your present vehicle vs trading it in

Whether or not you should try to sell your vehicle yourself or trade it in on your next vehicle depends on a number of factors. Consider the fact that if you are going to sell it yourself you'll need to either park it somewhere with a “For Sale” sign in it or you'll need to advertise it in the newspaper or online. If you park it, you've got to have something else to drive. If you advertise it you'll have to answer calls and emails and make arrangements to show the vehicle. That means meeting with strangers and dealing with people who don't show up. Of course, you may get more than what someone offers you on trade but you've got to factor in the cost of advertising, the inconvenience and the risk. Consider what form of payment you'll take. Do you really want to accept a check from a stranger? Do you want have to handle a significant amount of cash? Something we offer here at Tubbs Brothers Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is a free service to help you value your vehicle. Using our Black Book Value Your Trade tool you'll get an estimate of your trade value. Of course, this is an estimate only and to get an exact number we need to inspect and drive your vehicle. On another note, be wary of the dangers of minimum trade allowances and push, pull, or drag scams that assure you're going to overpay for a vehicle as well as overpay sales taxes. Something else we do differently here at Tubbs Brothers Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is that we honor our trade offer no matter if you buy a car from us or not. That means even if you buy a car from a private party or another dealer, we'll write you a check for the appraised amount. No games, no gimmicks, just honest and transparent vehicle pricing. In fact, due to our high volume, we are constantly looking for cars and trucks for our used car department. We'll pay you cash for your car whether you buy one from us or not!

Financing a used car

Finance terms, rates and conditions are based on many factors. First of all is your overall credit score. Credit scores range up to 850 which is exceptional. Credit scores lower than 650 mean you will likely pay higher interest rates and need more down payment. Of course, bad things happen to good people all the time and for that reason our finance staff has arrangements with lenders to help anyone with less than perfect credit. Just follow this link to learn more. Other factors influencing vehicle financing include your income, the amount of down payment you have, other debts you are responsible for, the age and mileage on the vehicle and the amount you want to finance. If you have a relationship with your local bank or credit union you can obtain a loan directly from them, however, keep in mind that every bank or credit union awards you an overall line of credit and if you borrow for a vehicle from them it uses up that credit line. Here at Tubbs Brothers Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, we have professional finance personnel on staff who work with multiple lenders. Many times we can get you a more favorable rate or terms than you can on your own. Due to our high volume, these lenders compete for our business and can be very aggressive with rates and terms. If you want to get pre approved on a loan, we offer another free, no obligation pre approval process. We also have a free loan calculation tool where you can get an estimate of monthly payments.


Vehicles today are complicated and highly technical machines. Our technicians are as likely to have a laptop in hand as they are a wrench. Although vehicles are very reliable, they can also be costly to repair. Consider that there are multiple computer controlling everything from engine management, transmission shifting, brake systems, voice activated controls, electronic steering and suspension, climate controls, back up cameras and vehicle perimeter warning devices and more. That means an unexpected repair is not only inconvenient but can be very costly as well. Here at Tubbs Brothers Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, we offer many optional service coverages to protect you against high repair costs. After all, it's much easier to pay a small $100 deductible versus a repair bill of several thousand dollars. These coverages can be tailored to match your loan term and driving habits. They can be added into your vehicle loan so they allow you to budget and they are generally transferable when you chose to sell your vehicle. For more information on how you can extend the warranty coverage on your vehicle click here.


So let's summarize. To get a safe and reliable vehicle at a fair price:

  • Research vehicles online to narrow your choices

  • Find a trustworthy dealership and a knowledgeable product specialist

  • Check google, dealerrater, yelp etc for reviews

  • Look at and test drive several models

  • If you find a vehicle you like, have it inspected by an experienced technician

  • Ask for maintenance records

  • Get a vehicle history report from AutoChek or CarFax

  • Make sure whoever gives you a trade offer will write you a check even if you don't purchase from them.

  • Get pre approved for credit

  • Protect yourself from unexpected repair bills with an extended service contract

We hope this has been helpful to you as you search for that perfect vehicle. Of course, we'd love to help you find that perfect car or truck too. You can use our Carfinder Tool and we'll notify you of vehicles of interest to you. Even though you may be hundreds of miles away from us, we sell and deliver cars all over the U.S. Check out our Free Delivery service or if you'd like, our Fly n Drive program. You can learn about all of these services and check out our great selection of new and used vehicles at TubbsBrothers.com or by calling (810) 648-0000 where one of our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Categories: Advice