TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – When it comes to buying a used car, many people may feel nervous. But auto experts say – as long as you’re smart about it – there’s no reason to be.
There are plenty of shops where you can purchase a brand new car in the Tampa Bay area. But there are also options for those who want to save some money.
“Affordability and reliability were very important. I was looking through a ton of cars and it was excruciating,” Clint Walker said.
Walker spent weeks looking at used cars before he took the plunge on a Kia Soul.
Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports says used cars can be a great choice. In particular, late-model used cars can save you a bundle.
“The real sweet spot is a 3-year-old used car,” Fisher said. “You could typically get one for about half what you’d pay for a new car. And many 2016 models have all the latest advanced safety gear.”
Here are the four most important safety features to look for:
- Forward collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Pedestrian detection
- Blindspot warning
Toyotas have consistently been standouts when it comes to reliability. If you want a little more luxury, you could consider a Lexus.
But as Walker discovered, every car has a history and being thorough helps avoid surprises.
“Doing the homework was very beneficial,” he said. “It pays off in the end.”
Fisher says if you want a little more peace of mind, you can look at a certified pre-owned car.
“You’ll pay a little more but you’ll get a warranty that’s very similar to the one you’d find in a new car,” he said.
You can look at a vehicle’s history report with services like CarFax. It’s also important to check any open recalls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.