The automotive industry took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. New vehicle production was at an all-time low due to factory closures, skeleton crews, and supply chain disruptions. There was a shortage of semiconductors and microchip shortages. Many essential components needed for vehicles such as sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks were not produced or could not reach the plants on time.

As a result, dealerships had fewer new vehicles to offer the public, and therefore they offered fewer discounts and incentives. This increased the demand for lower-priced, used cars.

The experts at Edmunds advise consumers to shop early rather than wait for better deals since the chip shortage will likely affect car pricing and inventory for quite some time. You should thoroughly research all avenues to find the best deal for your budget. Nearly 40 million used vehicles are bought and sold each year, so you have plenty of choices, but finding the right one can be a challenge.

Where to Look for a Used Vehicle

Car buying can be quite confusing for car shoppers. Where to look? How much to pay? Are you getting value for your money? Can you afford a new car, or should you buy a used vehicle? These are just a few of the questions car shoppers have.

Your local classified ads are always a good place to start your search in the used car market. We don't just help facilitate the sale, we also provide resources to help you make informed decisions about buying or selling a vehicle. You can browse vehicles for average used car prices to give you an idea of what cars are going for these days. Always keep the Blue Book handy for the average list price. Dealers usually want more for their vehicles, so you are always better off buying from a private seller.

You will always get a better price from a private seller, but there could be drawbacks to these types of sales. For example, a private seller will not offer you a trade-in for your old vehicle, and they usually sell 'as is' without any guarantees or warranties. Plus, you will have to arrange your own financing. Luckily, PrivateAuto solves many of the drawbacks most buyers experience and specializes in making used car purchases from private sellers safe, simple, and secure. PrivateAuto even offers in-app financing so you don't have to spend time at a bank.

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Stay on Budget

Don't go beyond your means when you buy a big-ticket item like a car. As a general rule of thumb, your car payment shouldn't be more than 10% of your take-home pay. Also, remember that a used car can cost more than just the monthly payments. Things can start to fall apart quickly. Even if you have the vehicle thoroughly checked out by a licensed mechanic (which you should definitely do before buying) it will need repairs sooner or later.

One of the main benefits of buying a used car is the savings on car insurance. Since the vehicle has a lower value than its brand new counterpart, the car insurance will be considerably lower. Amongother factors, the replacement value of a vehicle is a major consideration for determining how much car insurance you have to pay.

Make a List

You may be partial to a certain brand and model, such as a Ford Ranger, Subaru Crosstrek, or Nissan Pathfinder, but don't discount similar vehicles made by Chev, Toyota, or Kia. Edmonds reviews can help you find comparable vehicles. Make a list of all of the vehicles that meet your criteria, and then search the papers and online sites. Find out what the car was worth new, what it is valued at now, and what the seller asks.

You may want to speak to several sellers before you physically go to see the vehicle.

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Stay Close to Home

Used cars are widely available everywhere. You don't need to drive hundreds of miles to find the right one unless you are looking for a specialty, one-of-a-kind car. You can see and test drive more vehicles if they are closer to where you live. You should have narrowed down your search to about three cars with your list. Just remember, with a private sale, that first car you looked at might be sold by the time you come back.

You don't really want to jump on the first car you see, but this might be the right one if you have done your homework. If it gets the all-clear from your mechanic, the title is clean, the vehicle history report is good, and meets all of your needs, there is no reason to look any further.

Conclusion

Whether brand new or previously enjoyed, buying a new car is an exciting yet daunting experience. Doing your homework will make the process simpler and ensure you end up with a vehicle that will serve all of your needs for many years to come. Just remember, the car should be mechanically sound, have a clean title, and have a good history report.

Use PrivateAuto to find your next car at privateauto.com.