Why Used Cars are Flooding the Market Right Now

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According to TIME, one of the after effects of the recession will be useful to individuals looking for used cars. Over the last six years, the used car market has seen a bit of upheaval. Less new cars were purchased for several years, driving up the cost of used cars (since there were less available, and more people searching for affordable options).

Today, the opposite is holding true — many dealerships are experiencing a sort of “used car flood” as more and more people drop off their old cars and decide to drive away in a new vehicle instead. This year, 2.1 million off-lease vehicles will be up for sale, and this number is expected to rise to 3 million by 2016.

Of course, there’s a trade off. While it’s a great time to buy a used car, it’s not the best time to sell one — dealers have a lot of options on their hands and they’re not going to pay as much for your used wheels whether you sell them or trade them.

Knowing what to look for when buying a used car requires understanding your needs apart from your wants, and researching the difference between different brands and models. A high mileage is a bigger problem for a model that tends to break down early, than one that typically goes 200,000 miles before needing more extensive repair work. You don’t want to have to plan a visit to the auto mechanic a week after buying a used car.

According to an undercover investigation of car dealership specials by Edmunds, they found that the average consumer ended up losing money when they went new car shopping and traded in their old car for credit. It’s easy to lose sight of the value of your old car when you’re itching to get behind the seat of a new one. In most cases, you’re better off conducting the trade in a separate transaction.

What should you ask while talking to used car dealers? Find out about the car’s history — you’ll want both a history report, as well as maintenance receipts if they exist. This can tell you what a simple look-over and test ride might not reveal. It’s also worth your money to have a licensed mechanic inspect the vehicle thoroughly before purchasing.

Do you know what to look for when buying a used car? Let us know in the comments. More research here.

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