When you are living on a tight budget, replacing your car can seem like an impossible task. You want to buy a reliable vehicle, but you simply can't afford a new car or even one that's just a few years old. Can an older car, one that is ten years old or older, be a good investment? The answer depends on a number of factors.
Before you hit the car lot, do some research on which models have a history of being reliable. Consumer Reports is an excellent source for this information. For instance, they have determined that the Ford Focus and the Hyundai Sonata are good used car buys for under $10,000. They even provide a list of models to avoid. Of course, these lists are not foolproof, but they can help you make an informed choice.
Having a mechanic inspect the vehicle in question is absolutely vital. You know you should never buy a vehicle without taking this step, but it's easy to be swayed by your enthusiasm for a particular car. Reputable dealers will encourage you to invest in an inspection. Many car-repair chain stores offer this service for approximately $100, a small price to pay to avoid buying an unreliable vehicle.
Getting financing on a car that is over ten years old can be more complicated than getting money for a newer model. Many traditional lenders will not loan you money on that old of a vehicle, even though cars are lasting much longer these days. The average car on the road is eleven years old, so lenders should reevaluate their attitude toward these vehicles. You may have to seek a loan from a specialty lender who will charge a higher interest rate. The car dealership itself may also offer some sort of financing, but make sure that the interest rate is something that you can handle. If at all possible, pay cash for your older vehicle.
Many vehicles last for more than 200,000 miles, something that would have been unusual not so many years ago. If you find the right older car, you can expect to drive it for a number of years. After all, some ten-year-old cars only have 100,000 miles on them, and that is only half-way to the reasonable goal of 200,000 miles. Do your research and then consult with your reputable used-car dealership. They will be happy to locate an older, quality model for you. Visit a variety of companies such as Best Buy Auto Inc so you can get an idea of what's out there.