Pre-Owned Cars Getting Cheaper

Huge SUVs and pick-up trucks have become the white elephants of the used-car market, with some dealers refusing to take them in trade because they are so hard to resell. You may not want to take on a $100-a-tankful monster either, but that doesn't mean there aren't other bargains to be found in pre-owned cars. In an economy with a bad case of the staggers, car dealers are poised to offer sweet deals to move the metal off the lot.

Huge SUVs and pick-up trucks have become the white elephants of the used-car market, with some dealers refusing to take them in trade because they are so hard to resell. You may not want to take on a $100-a-tankful monster either, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other bargains to be found in pre-owned cars. In an economy with a bad case of the staggers, car dealers are poised to offer sweet deals to move the metal off the lot.

Savvy used-car buyers surf the Internet before they venture out to kick the actual tires. The first order of business is to find the car you’re looking for. AutoTrader.com and Cars.com have nationwide listings, but you can also look at pre-owned inventory at dealerships in your area. The next step is to zero in on a reasonable price to pay for the car. The key to a successful haggling session with a salesperson is knowing how much other buyers are paying for the car you’re looking at. You can get this information from several web sites, including Edmunds.com and Kelly Blue Book.

Buying a used car can cause sweaty palms, but it isn’t nearly as risky as it once was. To protect yourself against odometer rollbacks and cars that have been in accidents or floods, you should get a vehicle history report from Carfax on any car you’re considering — all you need is the VIN number. If you’re going to be doing a lot of shopping, take Carfax’s 30-day unlimited deal, which costs $30. Another way to avoid risk is to choose a certified pre-owned vehicle, which has gone through a thorough inspection and usually comes with a comprehensive warranty. The car may cost more, but your peace of mind may be worth it.