You get what you pay for… Nothing is truer than this statement when it comes to buying a used vehicle.
I previously owned a small dealership mostly locating vehicles for people who didn’t want the hassles of sourcing their own vehicles. I purchased most of my vehicles at the same place the big franchised and smaller dealers do, the auction. There are literally a 100,000 cars auctioned across the world weekly. At each one of these auctions there will be 500-1000 dealers or buyers agents buying vehicles for their dealerships or for their clients (in the buyer’s agent case). If a vehicle is in poorer shape the price it sells for will obviously be less, on the other hand if a vehicle is in top shape meaning, no accidents or previous paintwork the price will reflect that.
I would only consider vehicles that have had no body or paint work. This made my searches incredibly difficult as 75% percent of the vehicles I would look at had one or more repainted panels. 75% is pretty much what I see while out inspecting vehicles at dealerships as well. Paintwork isn’t always a negative thing when considering a ten year old vehicle, however in my opinion is pretty inexcusable on a $30K+ luxury vehicle or a vehicle which is only a couple years old.
Some dealers sell cars on only flashy looks alone. They sometimes do no more than spend money on a fancy detail and cosmetic re-spray work and completely ignore the more expensive mechanical/maintenance work. Have you ever heard the term “Lipstick on a pig”? Most of the vehicles I would purchase from auction would need brakes or tires right off the bat. Many people decide its time for a new vehicle when their vehicles start needing great sums of service work knowing months in advance they would be doing so. Of course they don’t take care of necessary services it might need prior to doing so. As quality used vehicle values continue to rise and dealers look to cut costs, I’m seeing more and more dealers cutting costs when it comes to the reconditioning of their used cars trying to maximize profit. This means for some of the poorer quality dealers many of the vehicles sitting on their lots need crucial safety items, which typically end up being some of the most expensive services like brakes and tires. I would estimate 80% of the vehicles we inspect at some of the smaller independent dealers need at least $500+ in tires and/or brakes not even considering some of the issues we might come across in the rest of our inspection. The cost of the inspection is so minimal and almost always less than the cost of some of the needed maintenance, mechanical/electrical issues, or devaluation for paintwork or accidents in which we find and report.
Just be aware and remember to always have used cars inspected by a confident/trained/independent certified technician before purchasing it. Tires, brakes and other necessary services will quickly add up and will always be more than the inspection itself not to mention the confidence of knowing you’re not going to end up with a lemon. Know what you’re buying, research the dealer by checking reviews, have it inspected and buyer beware!