Buying a Used Car: Shop Smart. Buy Smart

By. Brooke Gilchrist, Enterprise Car Sales

Educating members that a good deal may not be a good value

With so many cars built to last 150,000 miles or more when properly maintained, it might seem that shopping for a great quality, late model used car would be limited to deciding on body size, price range and features.  But getting a good “deal” on a dream car does not necessarily equate to getting the best value.

Credit unions can help their members get the best value for the best quality used car by sharing the following “smart shopping” tips:

  • Research in advance as much as possible on everything from online crash test ratings and reviews to annual maintenance and vehicle service contract costs and coverage.
  • Select only certified used cars.  A certified used car means it has been inspected, refurbished and certified by a manufacturer or other qualified authority.  Certified used cars typically include a warranty or extended service contract that provides some protection for the buyer.
  • Secure a vehicle history report from an outside third-party provider, such as CARFAX®, which the dealer or seller may provide free of charge.

Most of the time, the key to getting the best value is to focus on the features that are needed versus wanted.  Making this decision before visiting the sales lot or internet site makes it easier for members to compare and choose the vehicle that will meet their needs and budget and avoid the temptation of extra bells and whistles that may drive up costs without adding much value.

Last but not least, working with a dealer that has an established process for valuing trade-ins can also make a big difference in creating a positive shopping experience.

Purchasing an automobile can be an intimidating process for those who try to do it alone. But, credit unions can help alleviate their members’ anxiety by remaining actively involved in the process and helping them select the right car from a trusted dealer.  In addition to providing the best member service, the credit union may also end up attracting more loans.

Brooke Gilchrist

Brooke Gilchrist

Brooke Gilchrist is National Business Development Manager for Enterprise Car Sales and can be reached at 314-512-4181. Enterprise Car Sales, which has sold more than one million used cars, has ... Web: Details