I’ve owned many cars in my lifetime and I never bought new one, they were all used. I grew up in Toronto and there were and still are many used car dealerships to buy a car from. Getting one from a private sale is also an option and sometimes this can work out better but in some cases not.
I do prefer getting a car at a dealership that is not only well known but has a good reputation too. With today’s social media, a few bad reviews for a dealership and they can literally sink unless they get some good reputation management to bolster their failing image. So even if you know a dealer and they seem nice, that’s not going to cut it. Actually read their reviews, check out their dealership Facebook page and get some feedback from others. Just because you may have had a good experience it doesn’t mean that someone else will. Dealership research is just so important. I believe Eric the car guy has lots of videos on buying used cars so he has a great channel to watch if you would like to know more about the technical side of used car buying.
What Dealerships May Hide
The shady dealers will buy cars from out of province, or even from the states where titles can be rebuilt, mileage flipped and a whole cast of unruly things. Never buy one of these cars unless its a collectors car that you absolutely have to have. That’s really the only exception. I remember a friend that bought a Porsche from California that he had never seen before in person, just from pictures online. Another bought a Mercedes-Benz off of Kijiji from another province and to his shock the car was repainted even though the owner said it wasn’t. These are the risks that you can’t afford to take by not seeing the car in person. So whether it is at a dealership or from a private sale, at least you will be able to do a full inspection so make sure you avoid buying a car unseen.
Talk To Your Friends and Their Friends
One of the most powerful sales tools any company can have is a referral. How often do you hear people asking others about their experiences with used car buying, or anything for that matter. Referrals are powerful and if a used car dealership gets lots of word of mouth referrals that are positive, then perhaps you might want to check this dealer out if you have not already.
The Car Sells Itself
Many times you will find a car that is exactly what you want, whether it’s a rare colour combination or has a certain engine, or some other rare option. Don’t buy the car just because of this. If it’s a great buy and is in sound condition, then sure, go ahead. But if it is a car that has other issues, then these options you want are just not going to matter when your muffler falls off as you drive.
Start Your Search Online
Depending on the city you live in, search for your city + car, car dealers, used car dealers or something like that. If you’re from Toronto, do a search for used cars Toronto for example. Check out the prices and at this point you should have narrowed down what car you want. If you have done so already, your search will be easier. Write in a spreadsheet the cost and year of the car you want after checking multiple dealerships online to see what the price range is. They have a good collection of both used Mercedes-Benz and used BMW cars & SUV’s among other brands so it’s good to find a car dealer that specializes in certain vehicles.
Now, you’re not going to just go and see the cheapest one. You need to see them all. The reason for this is you need to compare the most expensive with the cheapest (provided they are the same year) and then make your conclusions. You could get lucky with the cheapest car but difficult to say.
Don’t Rush Into it
I remember the first car I bought. It was a “had to have it” moment and the dealer guy knew that, it was all written over my face. I was only 18 so what do you expect. They didn’t budge on the price and even said some BS that the price was actually higher than what what was listed and they made a mistake but were willing to give it to me at the advertised price. Yea, right.
Which leads me to my final thought. Don’t pay the sticker price, ever. This goes for new and used cars. But, don’t be a cheap Charlie either. Be reasonable. If you’re reasonable you never know you might get some extras thrown in with the deal like a gas card or something. At the very least when it comes time to when you have some problems with your car if you are pleasant with your dealership salesman, they will be more likely to want to help you with any problems down the road. No pun intended!