Buying a Used Car: Part 1

Buying a Used Car: Part 1


By: Tim Edgecomb

There is no “correct” way to go about buying a car. As a local, family-owned dealership, our staff has been selling cars for a long time though and there are certainly some tips we can offer on the process. Some of this is definitely tailored to buying used, but most of it is applicable even if you’re buying new. We hope some of this will be useful the next time you look for a car at any dealership.

Be Preemptive
Buying a car can be a stressful experience under any circumstances, but one of the most nerve-wracking is when your current car suffers catastrophic failure and you’re stuck trying to buy a car as quickly as possible. We don’t recommend that you test drive cars every three months (although you can if you want!) but once your car has a decent amount of mileage, or you start to get longer lists of things that need to be done on it, take a Saturday and go browse.

By getting some test driving done before you’re stuck needing to buy a car, you’ll have a much better idea of what car you want to move into next. That way if the worst does happen and your current car is no longer worth fixing, you’ll be several steps further along in the process than you otherwise would be. It will also help make sure that you buy a car that you’re happy to drive rather than feeling forced into what was available at the time. That leads me into our next piece of advice.

List of Must-Haves
Before and during your test-driving phase, make a list of things you definitely need and really want. Don’t limit yourself to safety items. It’s perfectly ok to decide that you can’t live without leather seats, a heated steering wheel or any other options that are available out there. With the sheer amount of used cars out there and with our special order service, we can definitely find what you’re looking for. The truth is that buying and maintaining a car is a significant financial investment. If you make sure you get what you want and need, it will make that investment far more valuable.

This also goes well with being preemptive. Give yourself the time to really figure out what you need and want without a time limit hovering in the background. This can make the difference between ending up with a car you’re on the fence about and buying the car you’re excited to be driving every day. At the end of the day Edgecomb’s is here to put you into a car that covers everything you need AND makes you happy.

Used vs New
I won’t spend time enumerating the benefits of buying new other than to say that they exist, but you pay a premium for them. That’s where the benefits of going with a used vehicle come in. As soon as a new car leaves the lot it loses value. One of the major benefits of a new car is the factory warranty, but there are plenty of used cars that still have factory warranties and can be bought for less. To give an example, we currently stock a 2018 Toyota Prius with 23,000 miles on it. The Prius is still under factory warranty which has very few exclusions until March 2021 or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The hybrid system, including the hybrid battery, is covered until March 2026 or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

This car originally sold for $25,615 in March of 2018. It is currently listed at $21,995. In a year and a half the car’s price has dropped $3,620. So buying this car used still gives the buyer a significant factory warranty but at a much lower price. Of course, for some people spending the extra $3620 for a year and a half of factory warranty is worth it, but keep in mind that by purchasing a slightly used car you can save significant money and still get many of the benefits of buying new. It’s also good to remember that you’re more likely to need the factory warranty towards the end of it rather than the beginning.

We’ll continue to provide tips and advice on buying cars. If you have specific questions or items you’d like to see addressed please e-mail us at

Test Drive, Test Drive, Test Drive