The 2013 Memorial Day Holiday Car Sales Promotions have started… 2 weeks early.
So what does all this TV, Radio Newspaper and Mailbox stuffing mean to you, the USED CAR shopper?
As the pent-up demand and improved economy has pushed the old rust-buckets to the end of their tire tread, more and more car shoppers are pulling or dragging their trades into the dealerships. While that seems to bode well for those not ready to buy a new 2012 or 2013, the reality is the increased demand for new cars isn’t promising an abundance of nice low mile used cars.
The reality is unlike years past, the recession of 2008 cut the normal flow of off-lease vehicles, large batches of “program” or rental car fleets and kept the average car owner in their paid-off ride almost 3 years longer than usual. The result is a lot of trades coming into the market with no life left to live or drive. In most cases, the honorable dealerships are sending these “wholesale” or “auction” cars straight to the auction where most will be salvaged for parts. However, in some cases, the buy-here-pay-here and second chance car lots are snapping these JUNKERS up, regardless of the over 125,000 mile odometer. The demand for under $4000.00 cars has put many borderline safe vehicles on the road with financially distressed buyers left no choice but to pay outrageous payments to have personal transportation.
The $12,000-$15,000.00 used car for sale of 2013 Memorial Day…
As the price of JUNKERS broaches the $5,000.00 realm, the nice low mile, three year old car of yesterday, is now a five year old 40,000 miler. At this point, I strongly suggest you visit the new car showroom for a re-evaluation. Add up the rebates, special interest rates or other incentives, the manufacturer warranty and if the math reflects a $5000.00 or less margin, get the new car. If you have to trade a Toyota for a Kia, or Honda for Hyundai, so be it. The used Toyota Avalon may have more bells and whistles, but a new 2013 Ford Taurus may be a better deal in the long run.
WHAT’S YOUR CAR WORTH?
Forget the KBB.com, Kelly Blue Book, NADA or EDMUNDS report, your car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, in the best possible condition, or the condition it is presently in. These online programs are guides, that often add the value of the new car rebate, or dealers “over-allowance” into the data. Don’t go spending a bunch of money fixing cosmetic dings, or major stuff like tires, shocks or air conditioning, the dealer can repair it cheaper and faster. There are so many factors that can skew the “trade-in value”, the MYCARLADY rule of thumb is take the value of your trade-in on three websites, at average or fair condition, add them together, divide by three. Take this sum and reduce it by $1000.00. There,you now have a fair, conservative, objective trade-in value from which to base your buying decision when considering the dealerships trade-in figure, sans tax credit (if applicable). I like to keep the trade-in value separate from the net discount off the new car, whenever possible.
LUXURY CARS the BEST USED CAR DEALS of 2013 MEMORIAL DAY.
BUY miles per year not year over miles.
What I mean by this is, take the number of miles the car has and divide by the number of calendar years old the car is. Example: I’d rather have a five year old car with an average 10k miles per year than the three year old car with 50,000 miles. If you are stuck on body style, or the vehicle has since been discontinued, this principle may need ot be adjusted accordingly.
USED 2008-2011 luxury nameplates; Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus and Infiniti offer the best bang for the buck this holiday shopping season. Many luxury buyers have trimmed their over-sized garages and dispensed with extra vehicles they no longer need or want. These low mile, garaged cars are often the best kept secret of savvy used car shoppers who regularly look to minimize their car costs by seeking out the nicest trades. Their relationship with the salespeople at luxury car lots gets them the inside track when a “cream-puff” or “cherry” rolls onto the lot. These one owner or off-lease beauties are typically well maintained and will be serviced and certified (extended factory warranties) by the dealership. Certification often comes with special LOW interest rate financing, factory service and parts coverage up to 100k miles and above average loan terms.
Here is an example of a five year old Jaguar with less than 10k miles per year.
For those of you in need of cheap transportation, special financing – second chance interest rate auto loans and other options, there are some reputable used car dealers willing to help.
Be sure you check both the CARFAX and AUTOCHECK to insure against discrepancies in vehicle ID information. Ask to see the actual title of the car, and a recent service history.
Contact the local dealership of the brand and ask the service department to verify the vehicle is up to date with all recalls, service bulletins and factory campaigns by asking the service adviser to check the vin number through their database. If you are unsure how or what the details mean, send MYCARLADY.com an email and we will help you out, no charge.
All-in-all, be careful shopping used cars this 2013 (or any) Memorial Day Summer Selling Saleabration of car sales. I know important vacation plans can be made around that family trip to the Grand Canyon BUT the wrong car purchased in haste can be at the very least costly and even worse, dangerous. Do your homework carefully. If you need help, contact MyCarlady (advice is free.) and if you can’t find the right car for your budget and needs, considering renting that minivan for the trip to Grandma’s house.
Sarah Lee is an automotive writer, personal car concierge and commercial fleet manager. If you need free advice on your car problem, question, issue, contact her at email@example.com for a confidential conversation.
She has over 23+ years of experience. She writes about Cars, and is a staunch consumer advocate on car related subjects.