Used cars: How to buy smart and save money

Consumer Reports

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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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