(Kelley), www.nada.com and www.carprices.com. Often you will get values for trade-in, wholesale and retail. Prices are revised weekly. The retail figure is the one the dealership hopes to get. It’s a high value for even the best used car. The wholesale price is generally a reasonable figure for a transaction between private parties if the vehicle is in good shjape. If you plan on trading in another vehicle when you make a purchase, don’t tell the seller about it until after you have a firm deal. Then bring up the subject of a trade-in to find out how much you’re really being offered.
THE OLDER CAR
The most important thing to realize when you’re buying an older car is that it’s going to need maintenance and repair work. Allow for that in your budget. That aging but still useful BMW may look like a great deal now, but remember, it’s going to cost a lot more to keep running than a newer and less luxurious Toyota. Luxury cars have more expensive features to maintain, and they remain expensive to maintain as they age. Keep the costs for parts and service in mind before you use up your entire budget on the initial purchase price. Buying a classic car is a different matter. But unless you’re an expert mechanic ready to take on a challenge, avoid that “fixer-upper” car. It could cost you more than its purchase price before it’s in good shape. Unless you can supply the labor, it’s nearly always cheaper to buy a good car than to fix up a marginal one.
Used car dealers on the Web
Online buying services for pre-owned automobiles
This site’s tools help visitors determine whether they should buy or lease a car and how much they can afford to pay.
In addition to listings of used cars, this site offers an online forum, a bookstore, general maintenance advice and a way to buy auto accessories and subscribe to a roadside rescue service.
Lists used cars and has links to auto clubs and events, and vacation-planning information.
The site’s used car marketplace allows searches by category, vehicle and dealership.
Users can search by make and model but may have to call dealer for price information.