True or False: Myths and Facts About Buying Used Cars

Posted Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018

There are many reasons why consumers may want to buy used cars instead of new, but the most obvious is the price. It's much cheaper to buy from a used car dealership than it is to buy new, but that often leaves buyers wondering: Have I gotten a good deal? Have I made the right decision?

The many myths and misconceptions surrounding used cars for sale only exacerbates the problem. Before you start shopping, get the facts. Read on for some of the most commonly heard legends about used car buying, and whether you ought to believe everything you hear.

#1: Used cars depreciate in value faster than new cars.

FALSE. A new car's value depreciates most rapidly from the moment it is driven off the lot. When you buy a car new, you may only be able to resell it for a fraction of its initial value after one or two years, no matter how well you cared for it or how few miles it has. When you buy a used car, what you pay is more in line with its actual retail value.

#2: Odometer fraud is a huge problem.

TRUE. It's still all too easy for unscrupulous pre-owned dealerships to tamper with odometer readings to make a car appear as though it has less mileage than it actually does. It's estimated that the average rollback on odometer fraud is 15,000 miles, which can translate to $4 billion a year in consumer losses. Be sure to buy only from reliable, trustworthy dealers and always ask for the official vehicle history.

#3: All used cars have problems.

FALSE. Many used vehicles are in pristine, like-new condition. Some may even be cars from other dealerships that were only used for test drives, while others are one-owner vehicles that may have been leased for just a short period of time. It's possible to find great deals on mint condition cars for much less than you'd ever pay on a new vehicle.

If you're shopping for a new-to-you car, don't let the many misconceptions about used cars get in your way of finding the perfect vehicle. With the right know-how, you can find a car to fulfill all of your driving needs at a price you can afford.