Finding a good used car dealership, or a car dealership in general, that you actually want to go to can be a bit of a challenge.
You want to find a reliable, used vehicle at a dealership at a price you can afford with an experience that has you coming back next time, or telling your friends and family to go. While current vehicle supply issues aren’t necessarily the dealer’s fault, and pricing can remain high because of supply, we can certainly guide you on how to find a good used car dealership to shop at and explain the difference between the traditional private party sale and a dealership sale.
Let’s go into a little detail about the difference between a private party used car purchase and buying from a dealer.
Private party purchases can be less money than buying at a dealership, though not every time. While the price might be less, there is a reason for that. Dealers have costs in inspecting and fixing a vehicle – as well as for advertising and maintaining a building.
Some people feel safe meeting people who they have at most briefly communicated with via social media or Craigslist and some people don’t. Our suggestion from this viewpoint is to not bring money, whether that’s cash or a check, with you if you plan to go look at a private seller’s car. Selling a high ticket item, even as small as a phone, is a known trap for people to rob a buyer who is expected to arrive with money.
On a less dangerous scale, you’ll have to keep in mind that schedules can be wonky and make it difficult to meet someone to take a look at their car, especially during the day when the sun is out and seeing the fine details on a vehicle are easier.
While we admittedly suggest you have a vehicle inspected prior to purchase, regardless of who owns the vehicle, it can be awkward to tell someone you want to get the vehicle inspected.
Most states don’t legally require that a private seller offer any form of warranty. If the vehicle breaks down on the way home or in two months, you get to pay for fixes unless they are in some way covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. This is not common without a low mile or late model preowned car.
Without buying at a dealer, you and the person you are buying from get to complete the paperwork yourself and experience all the pleasantness of taxes and the DMV.
This could be positive or negative. Sure, some buyers can find a reasonably low rate at a local credit union. But the buyer has to put the work in to find the rates, which can take some time.
Unless you find yourself working overnights, dealerships are more accessible. Most have weekday hours from 8 or 9 AM to 8 PM, with slightly longer hours on weekends. You can call ahead or email ahead and arrange a time to head in, plus the salesperson should be motivated to fit a time around you, after all, it’s literally their work schedule.
Dealers do the paperwork for you. You’ll have to sign some documents, but you don’t have to do anything to process them or stand in line for it.
A used car dealer does their own inspection. Of course, you can schedule your own inspection with a neutral mechanic, but know that the dealer has already done this because they probably don’t want to sell lemons and deal with the negative perception.
A used car dealer has partnerships with many banks and finance companies that will compete for your business. You also have to do significantly less work to learn all these rates, as you just would give the dealership finance team information about your income, etc.
A used car dealer both has an easier time offering a warranty on a vehicle – and is sometimes legally required to have one. While states do differ, some states require that dealerships fix vehicles when they have certain issues under a number of miles. Regardless, a warranty purchased through a dealership can be a better deal than the one you buy yourself. While all these extended warranty spam calls you get actually offer warranties, they certainly aren’t in your best interest.
Want to know which dealerships are best based on reviews left by other shoppers at car dealerships? Finding a used car or truck in Germantown can be a challenge – especially finding one at a place that treats you right. One of the best ways to find out which dealerships are best is to find reviews online. Here are some options for sites that offer reviews so you can narrow down your search.
Yelp offers reviews for a variety of businesses. While we often for Yelp first, we also want to offer some advice: businesses on Yelp tend to have a lower star rating than other sources we’ll list later, so cross-reference Yelp against other sources and never rely on it as a sole source of reviews.
Google Maps tends to offer a good number of reviews for a car dealership, as it’s more accessible than other sources. Google maps can often be found by looking up a dealership on Google, and the results will show on the right side with a star rating. Unlike Yelp, Google reviews tend to be a little more balanced, and businesses can not pay google for better reviews.
Facebook reviews are similar to Google Maps reviews and relate to a dealership’s Facebook business page. Facebook makes leaving a review pretty easy, so long as you have an account and they follow the same format as other Facebook pages. This means that people are, let’s just say, quite honest in their reviews.
Some social media platforms have a town or city-centric groups, including Reddit, Facebook, and Nextdoor. These are good places to ask people who they recommend visiting for a used car purchase. Explaining your situation and what you need is a good start to hearing a story that applies to what you need.
Not all reviews are the same. Many dealerships have a service department, body shop, and sales department. Some car dealerships even have a new department and a used department. When looking at reviews, place the most trust in those that name a specific department or better yet, offer a person’s name, preferably in a positive sense!
Salespeople and dealerships pride themselves on trying to provide the best service and like to have names named for reviews. This is how dealerships earn good reputations, with happy, word-spreading customers. This is also how bad dealerships are exposed.
Consider another level of this thought: some dealerships get bad or just confusing reviews. How does the dealership respond? Do they at least attempt to solve the problem in a sincere way? Just know that a dealership that tries to fix a problem knows that they have the opportunity their problems, and that’s a step towards better serving their customers.
Buying a car with bad credit adds a bit of a layer to finding both a good quality used vehicle and finding a place that treats you right. A person with poor credit might be best off buying a car from a dealership that can help with financing situations and figuring out down payments instead of navigating those issues on their own.
A person with repossession or default on their credit score can be subject to higher interest rates or simply have a hard time finding a bank that will finance their purchase. Higher down payments are also possible in an effort to secure more cash against the car. Consider looking at the previously mentioned reviews to see how they help customers with poor credit.
To some people, buying a used car online sounds great. You can avoid a physical dealership, and choose from a wide selection of vehicles without ever having to step foot into a dealership.
With Vroom, Carvana, and other online dealerships, you get access to a regional or nationwide selection of cars. You can get picked from quite a few cars and everything is handled for you before the car even shows up.
Online used car dealerships aren’t known for being good at bad credit finance. They specialize in people who have the money to finance a vehicle ready and want it delivered. The result is also additional fees and can be higher-priced cars.
Sure, you get a vehicle history and photos, but is that enough for people to trust a preowned vehicle? Not everyone. If you know anything about cars, seeing one in person can reveal problems earlier and faster.
While companies like Carvana, Trust Auto, and Vroom spend lots of money spreading the word about buying a used car online, they get some of it back from you. Their prices can vary, and just like buying lunch and a drink at a good local gas station, you are largely paying for the convenience.
We’ve taken the hassle out of buying a used car online near Germantown, Maryland by ensuring transparency along the way. We provide a virtual test drive, and encourage you to have the vehicle inspected! How many other dealerships are going to do that? We do this because we stand by our vehicles and want to provide the best of the best to our Germantown customers.
From trading in. to online used car shopping; the Trust Auto team is in your corner. We stock a fantastic selection of late-model luxury vehicles, as well as SUVs, sports cars, electric cars, and much, much more. If you live near Germantown, and you’re in the market for a used car, Trust Auto should be your first choice.