2900 S High St Columbus, OH 43207 614-810-8187

Top Questions About Shopping for a Used Car

A set of used car keys are shown on paperwork at a car dealership.

When it comes to used cars, more buyers are gravitating toward this option due to the outstanding selection of quality vehicles available at more affordable prices. When you’re shopping used, you’ll want to be sure to keep some important aspects in mind so that you’re able to find a vehicle that’s safe and dependable for your travels. At Columbus Auto Mall, we strive to provide our customers with some of the best options in the industry, all at reasonable prices. If you’re a little apprehensive about navigating the used car market, you’re not alone, so let us help by providing some helpful answers to some commonly asked questions.

What Are Some Things to Watch Out for When Buying a Used Car?

Although many dealerships, like Columbus Auto Mall, are stocked with high-quality options, this isn’t always the case on other used car lots. This is why it’s important to pay attention when shopping used. It’s always a good idea to look at a detailed vehicle history report before committing to a particular vehicle. If a dealership isn’t keen on showing you this information, this is a red flag, and you’ll want to take your search somewhere else. Once you find out more about a vehicle in question, it’s a good idea to perform a visual inspection of the vehicle, looking for rust or corrosion, frame damage, and anything else that appears to be damaged.

Take it for a test drive and pay attention to how it feels on the road. If it’s making a strange noise or pulling in a direction while you’re driving, it may need a repair or tune-up. You may also want to open up the hood and examine the engine. Chances are, if there’s a fluid leak, it’ll be noticeable, which means that this vehicle may have some issues underneath the surface. Inspect the tires, upholstery, and paint for any issues, and remember, what may seem small right now may cause big problems later on.

A row of cars are shown parked on the side of a city street.

What’s Good Mileage for a Used Car?

It’s been a long-standing belief that once a vehicle gets above 100,000 miles that it’s a risk, but today’s vehicles are completely different from those of the past. Often, vehicles can last hundreds of thousands of miles, especially if they’re well taken care of, so it’s important to prioritize regular maintenance. Many vehicles, like trucks, have a reputation for being able to last far past many other vehicles on the road, with some trucks averaging up to 200,000 miles without issue. The bottom line is that taking care of your vehicle is crucial. In taking care of it, it will take care of you by providing you with a safe and dependable ride, mile after mile.

What Are the Most Reliable Car Brands?

A handful of vehicles on the market are habitually found at the top of the list year after year when resale value is concerned. Resale value is generally dependent on the quality of the vehicle, as well as how reliable it is, which is what many shoppers are searching for in their vehicles. Currently, some of the most reliable brands include Toyota, Honda, Kia, Lexus, Acura, Buick, and Nissan. Plenty of other brands typically appear on this list, so it’s important to do your research and find the vehicle that meets your travel requirements while also providing a safe and dependable ride. With all of the helpful tools available, it should be easy to narrow down a model from a brand you can trust.

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Used Car?

There’s evidence to suggest that certain times of the year are better than others when getting the best price for a used car. Studies often show that late fall and early winter will offer lower prices since many automakers are debuting their newest model years, meaning that older models receive a price cut. We advise that the best time to buy a car is when you need a better way to travel. It’s not recommended to keep your car when it’s not offering you a safe and reliable ride just because you believe you’ll save money later in the year. When you choose a reputable dealer, you’ll be able to find a quality car for a fair price, no matter what time of the year you’re shopping.

What Documents Are Required When Buying a Car?

It’s important to bring the proper documentation when shopping for a used car to avoid any hang-ups in the process. Proper identification is required, so be sure to have your driver’s license with you, as well as your current vehicle’s registration. Proof of insurance and your form of payment are also required if you’re putting money down on your new vehicle. It’s also a good idea to run a credit check so that you’re aware of your current credit status, but this isn’t a requirement, as the dealership will run one for you. In some cases, you may be required to show a recent utility bill or pay stub, so having these handy is also advised.

What’s the Difference Between Shopping at a Dealership and a Private Seller?

There are many ways to go about shopping for a used car; however, you’re taking a risk when you choose to go through a private seller. When you shop from a dealership, you have a much better selection, meaning that if one car doesn’t meet your needs, you have other options during your search. You can also view a detailed vehicle history report, especially when you partner with a reputable dealer. You may not get the same luxury when you go through a private seller.

It’s also a risk when you’re negotiating with a private seller. When you buy from a dealership, you have the tools at hand to know that you’re getting a fair price without worrying that you overpaid for your vehicle. It’s also helpful to know that many dealerships offer warranties and maintenance plans on used vehicles, which isn’t something you’ll be able to enjoy when buying from a private seller. All in all, if you want ultimate peace of mind, choosing to work with a dealership like Columbus Auto Mall is highly recommended.

A car salesman is shown handing a key to a customer sitting in a vehicle.

What’s the Difference Between Shopping at a Dealership Versus Online?

You can’t beat being able to see and experience a car in person, no matter how convenient online car-buying tools claim to be, which makes dealerships the top options for car shoppers. You also won’t get to negotiate the price of the vehicle like you’ll be able to do at a dealership since many online car dealers claim that the price you see is the price you get. If you want to be sure you’re making the right choice by being able to test drive the vehicle before purchasing it and negotiate a fair price, shopping used at a dealership is the right choice for many buyers.

Success When Shopping Used

To ensure maximum success when shopping for a used car, partnering with a dealership that has your best interests in mind is your first step. Here at Columbus Auto Mall, we make our customers a priority, offering exceptional vehicles for prices that are fair and affordable. It helps to be prepared when shopping for a car, and by keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to owning a vehicle you can trust. So, visit us today and browse our extensive used selection to find the car that will make your journey better than ever.

October 19th, 2022 by Evan Riley

When To Pay More For A Vehicle

It is only natural to want to save as much money as possible when buying a new vehicle. Large SUVs and trucks, in particular, can be extremely expensive depending on the make, model, and trim you are considering. As a result, it can be easy to feel as though the vehicle you had your heart set on might be out of reach financially. But is this always the case? Is it always bad to spend more money than you may initially want? While there are certainly manufacturers out there that overprice their vehicles, sometimes, you actually get more value, performance, safety, and capability for the higher price tag. The trick in knowing when to spend a bit more and when to try to save is doing enough research ahead of time. If a specific manufacturer has more to offer than the competition, makes reliable vehicles, and can give you an experience that best suited to you, it just may be worth the extra cost for the long term investment. Take, for example, the differences between the 2018 Buick Enclave vs. 2018 Ford Explorer. Both of these crossover SUVs have a lot to offer in terms of overall performance and capability, but the Enclave gives you so much more for a few extra thousand dollars. This is an excellent example where a little bit more money can be a sound investment.
Better Performance
Many people often wonder what exactly they are paying for with a higher price tag. While it is true that some manufacturers simply increase prices to make more profit, there can be good reasons to pay a higher price if you want more performance and features. SUVs, in particular, can benefit from more powerful engines and all-wheel drivetrains which tend to be more expensive due to the extra mechanics and parts involved.
Sometimes, it can be extremely difficult to see the actual differences in performance between two SUV options. On paper, the Enclave and Explorer are fairly evenly matched when you compare their 3.6L and 3.5L V-6 engines. It is not until you start to look at the different metrics like torque and horsepower that you will begin to notice significant differences. In both categories, the Enclave manages to offer more performance, which can translate into better acceleration, higher speeds, and more off-road capability.
Fuel efficiency is another common area to address when comparing different SUV models. Crossover SUVs, even ones with a full three row setup, have the potential for better fuel efficiency than other full-size counterparts. Here again, the Enclave demonstrates this the best by offering 17 city/25 highway miles per gallon versus the Explorer’s 16 city/22 highway MPG. When you need to keep your costs low, better fuel efficiency can help you out at the gas station even when fuel prices start to skyrocket during the summer months or challenging economic times.
Since many people count on their SUVs in challenging weather and terrain, it is important to make sure any option you look at will give you the best possible traction. Quite often, many SUV models will provide you with different options between two, four, and all-wheel drive. Both the Enclave and Explorer come standard with a rear-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive in upper trims. All-wheel drive allows the vehicle to apply power to each wheel to maximize grip in loose terrain or wet conditions.
When you do not need the most in terms of performance and capability, many SUV models may look similar to each other right off the bat. Even the look and design of many modern SUVs are similar enough to be confusing. That is why it can be helpful to look on the inside of an SUV when trying to make the final choice between two options. The interior of an SUV is where you will spend all your time, meaning the features, safety systems, and overall feel of the inside can be extremely important.
One of the best areas to compare and assess is safety. SUVs at one time have a bad reputation for safety, being known to roll over or catch fire. Modern SUVs, on the other hand, often come with a suite of front and side airbags for passengers, active safety systems like forward collision and blind spot monitoring, and automated features such as automatic braking and stability control. The real difference between many SUV models is whether these features come standard or optional.
When you look at the Enclave safety systems, for example, you will see many of these advanced systems coming as standard on several of the trims. Even the base model trim has several built-in safety features that get an overall better safety rating than the Explorer. Since many large families use a crossover SUV to transport everyone around, it is important to keep everyone inside safe during a worst-case scenario.
Features are the final area to check out when finding a good SUV model to buy. Little touches in the interior like heated seats, dual climate zone control, and turn-by-turn navigation increase the convenience of driving the SUV overall. For family-oriented vehicles, DVD players throughout the interior or separate controls allow individual families to personalize their comfort and experience without compromise.
From a practical point of view, you should also take a look at cargo space. Folding rear seats can increase the overall square footage you have to work with, essentially turning your SUV into a well-protected truck bed. The Enclave excels in this area, offering up to 98 square feet of interior space compared to the Explorer’s 80 square feet. Combined with a larger suite of standard convenience features like independent climate zone control and a stellar infotainment system, the 2018 Buick Enclave is hard to beat.
The 2018 Buick Enclave versus 2018 Ford Explorer comparison is just one example of how different SUV models outperform one another. If you want the best vehicle in the long run, it’s important to set aside time to research, take some test drives, and think about what you need or want from an SUV. When you take these extra steps, you will have a greater sense of confidence in your final choice. Columbus Auto Mall tries to meet or exceed your 
 by Austin Fraccia on July 18, 2018 AutoInfluence

Consumers Flock to Certified Used Cars

Buyers are flocking to the certified used car market, buying CPO cars left and right. A recent survey from Edmunds shows that out of more than 2,000 adults, 88% of those adults said they would pay more for a certified-pre owned car than one that wasn’t certified. As opposed to buying one of the non-certified used cars found on the side of the road or in other used car lots. The CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) market used to be reserved for mainly luxury vehicles; consumers would buy the expensive luxury cars for a cheaper price than getting them new, but those days are over. Now, there is a plethora of mainstream models swarming dealer lots as they come off lease. They are making up a big portion of the CPO traffic, and the CPO market is at an all-time high.

People have begun to recognize the benefit of spending the extra money on a CPO car.

History Repeats Itself

Back in the 1990s, dealers were receiving an increasing number of returned lease cars. The manufacturer did not bother reselling them, until they realized the profit they were losing. They realized that most of the leased cars coming back were in great mechanical condition, the only “issue” being an expected increase in mileage. After realizing this, they needed to figure out a way to draw attention to these vehicles. They decided to take these cars and put them through a test, and if they passed they would be back on the lot marked as a CPO vehicle with an assurance of quality and warranties. Lexus was the first manufacturer to do this in 1993, and the concept remains the same today.

Passing the Test

Not all the leased cars returned to the dealer are deemed to be CPO worthy, they need to pass a rigorous test first. This test varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the core idea behind the test is the same. The test is a way for the manufacturer to check the quality of the returned vehicle, ensuring that it’s in good enough condition for resale.

When these leased vehicles are returned to a dealer, they consider if the car is a worthy candidate for becoming a CPO car. They start with the model year, which generally needs to be within the past five years. If it is, then they check the mileage. If it’s below a certain mileage (generally 70,000 – 80,000) it moves on to the inspection stage. At this stage, a thorough inspection is performed in which a mechanic goes through and checks the cars mechanical quality. If there is something wrong with it, the mechanic will repair it (if able) with the idea of restoring the car back to an almost new condition.

This is an assurance of quality inspection, and it varies between manufacturers. One manufacturer may want it to be below 80,000 miles, whereas another may not want it to exceed 75,000 miles.

The multi-point inspection differs from manufacturer to manufacture as well. One manufacturer may deem 112 points of the car need to be in good condition, while another may deem 182 points need to be in good condition.

What Being Certified Means to You

The term varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. In a nutshell, CPO means that a car has gone through a rigorous multi-point inspection by a factory-trained mechanic and is in almost new condition. It may have some mileage on it, but that is the only “bad” point about the car. A CPO is a car that is backed by testing from the manufacturer to give you assurance of quality and peace of mind to aid in the sale of the vehicle.

Most of the manufacturers also roll in a limited warranty based on years/mileage for a price. If something happens to your car within that timeframe or mileage, they will fix it with no additional expense to you. This warranty also varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well as what they cover.

For example, Chevy’s CPO guarantee includes a 12-month/12,000 mile bumper-bumper limited warranty. Coupled with a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. They have a 172 point inspection and reconditioning system, and a vehicle system report. For 12 months/12,000 miles, you get a warranty on everything that isn’t powertrain related. The powertrain warranty is good for 5-years or 100,000-miles after purchasing the CPO.

A lot of the manufacturers also offer a roadside assistance program for added peace of mind. Chevy’s is good for 5 years/100,000 miles if coupled with the powertrain warranty. If you break down, they will pick you up on the side of the road and get your car to a trusted mechanic.

Easy to See Why

A used car found on the side of the road doesn’t have this type of guarantee or peace of mind. It could break down for a number of reasons, and the price of the car is significantly cheaper only because it is an older model with no guarantee of how long it will last. The CPO is only a little more expensive than non-certified used cars at dealers, and certainly much cheaper than a newer model. For example, Edmunds tells us that a Certified 2013 Honda Accord EX costs only $1,000 dollars more than a non-CPO car sold at the retail price set by the dealer. This $1,000 dollar increase provides peace of mind and will certainly be cheaper than buying a 2015 model, even with warranties rolled in.

On average, the CPO price will only increase about $1,400 dollars more than non-certified vehicles, money well worth spending.

It’s easy to see why CPO sales have hit an all-time high. With the guarantee of the CPO benefits, the potential of low rate financing, and trusted warranties, consumers are flocking to the CPO cars for a cheaper “almost new” used car.

Understanding the Difference

There are various certified degrees out there, and you need to know who certified the vehicle. If it was done by the manufacturer, that means it was inspected and certified by a factory-trained mechanic. This boasts more of a guarantee than a dealer who gets the car inspected and certified by their own in-house mechanic, or a third-party source. Make sure to ask for the certification information, and understand what CPO means for the dealer you are getting your car from. This includes understanding how the car was certified, the price of the warranty package, and if the peace of mind and quality are worth the price of this particular vehicle compared to a non-certified one.

While these CPO cars are a much cheaper and more reliable alternative than buying a new or non-certified used car (respectively), it may not be for you. The warranties are nice, and that combined with the price of the CPO certification will get you a newish used car cheaper than the current model year. Non-certified used cars can be just as reliable, so explore your options, do some research, and talk to the dealers in your area. However, you can’t ignore the fact that there is a big reason that the CPO sales have sky-rocketed and hit an all-time high.

That reason being these CPO cars take the cheaper price of a used car and the expensive peace of mind of a new car, blending them to make an affordable and tantalizing package.

 by Roger Rapoza on December 16, 2015  Autoinfluence

3 Reasons Buying a Used Truck is Better Than Buyin

3 Reasons Buying a Used Truck is Better Than Buying New

It’s a tired, but persistent debate: new vs. used vehicles. Many will argue that new cars are more reliable, come with warranties that are worth their weight in gold, and have updated tech and safety features. Others will say that if you buy used, you don’t have to pay off a loan with interest, and the purchase price won’t be nearly as expensive.

But, what about used trucks? This debate applies to them as well. While there are upsides and downsides to buying a used truck, I can tell you three reasons why buying a used truck is better than buying a new one.

Cheaper Price

Trucks are expensive, many of them have a starting MSRP of around $30,000 if you’re looking for a full-size version. Not with a used truck, though. A used model is significantly cheaper, thanks to depreciation. Granted, since trucks and SUVs are in high demand right now, the prices will be slightly higher than when they aren’t in demand. But, that doesn’t change the fact that a used truck is still going to be significantly cheaper than a new one, especially if you buy one that’s anywhere from 10-20 years old.

Does that seem like it’s too old? Well, it’s not. Yes, a lot of full-size trucks are used for intense jobs. But, as long as you don’t buy one of those types of models you should be fine. Just check for signs of wear and tear, and ask if the truck was used for any hard work, as in towing or plowing. If that’s the case, don’t buy the truck. Since it will most-likely have an excessive amount of engine, transmission, and frame wear if it was used for the two examples of work listed above.

If you can, find a clean one-owner vehicle. These pickups are great buys, and excellent routes to save some money.

A More Durable Design

Reliability and durability are two different things, and with some of the trucks today, durability has gone downhill.

I’ll give you an example: a new F-150 is made mostly with aluminum. The frame isn’t, but a lot of the body is. The hood is mostly aluminum, and the truck bed is clearly made from aluminum. This not only compromises the truck’s integrity, but it also compromises its safety. A truck like this that gets into a collision will crumple like a tuna can with the right amount of impact.

But a used, older F-150? Those were made of steel. Granted, not all trucks have this issue. New Silverados and Rams are still made mostly from steel. But, some argue that the older designed models are still more durable.

CPO Programs

If you are worried about the reliability of an older used truck, you don’t have to buy one from the 1990s. There are plenty of CPO programs out there that will get you a used truck that’s no more than five years old, along with a guarantee that it will be reliable and high-quality. With no issues.

A cheaper price (most likely), more durable design, and a guarantee of reliability if you want it. Tell me why buying a used truck isn’t a good idea?

by Roger Rapoza on March 14, 2017 - AutoInfluence

3 Things to Know About a Used Car Before Buying

Shopping for used cars can be a tricky and overwhelming process. First, you need to figure out what you can afford. Then, you need to decide what type of model you’re going to buy. Car, truck, SUV, wagon, crossover? After that, you need to decide where you’re going to buy it from. This could be privately from someone on Craigslist, at a dealership, at an online car shopping website, or on a virtual web-based dealership that can get cars shipped to their physical dealership. Regardless of where you decide to buy, you should always thoroughly inspect the car (or get it independently inspected) for any potential issues, as well as test drive it for a solid 10 or 15 minutes to allow the engine to warm up. That way, you can identify any problems the car might have that you’d miss during a cold start.

But, those aren’t part of the three things to know about a used car before buying. However, they are connected. How? Just like those are two things you should do regardless of where you buy, these are three things to know about a used car before you buy it. The cool part? Whether you buy it online or at the dealership, there’s nothing stopping you from learning these three vital pieces of information.

Combine this info with a solid inspection and good test drive, and you’ll be surprised how much better your used car buying experience will become.

The TRUE Value of the Vehicle

It’s important to always know the true value of the vehicle. There’s multiple ways to do this, two of the most reputable ways are through Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds TMV (True Market Value) pricing.

To access either of these two online sources, you’ll need the vehicle’s make, model, year, mileage, and some other information related to the condition of the vehicle. Simply follow the yellow brick road of filling out information, and voila! You have the true value of the vehicle. It’s a little more drawn out than that, but that’s the general idea

This is important no matter where you’re shopping, because then you have a rock-solid price to haggle with. More importantly, it will tell you if the seller is trying to screw you on the deal or not.

Are There Any Warranties in Place? Or Are You Buying “As Is?”

While this relates more towards a dealership or online inventory, it’s still possible — albeit slightly rarer — to find warranties on a used car that’s sold privately.

If a vehicle is sold with the label “As Is,” you’re responsible for any repairs or damages that might happen to the vehicle. Even if the transmission giving out isn’t your fault, and the dealer knew about it, you bought it in “As Is” condition. Contractually, the dealership isn’t obligated to pay for a cent of repairs.

Same goes for a private seller. Find out if there is a transferable warranty on the used car you’re interested in, or if you’re buying it in “As Is” condition. Since most cars sold on Craigslist are much older, you won’t typically find warranties on them. However, if you are trying to buy a newer used car, make sure to look into this.

Know the History of the Car

Just like the true value of the vehicle, knowing the history of the model is of utmost importance. Why? Because, it will tell you about potential issues that the vehicle has had in the past (so you can see and ask if they’ve been properly repaired), any accidents the model has been in, how many owners the vehicle has had, and other vital information.

How does all this come into play? Let’s look at a mock (but very realistic) example. Say you find a car for a great deal, test drove it, had it professionally inspected, and checked out the history of the vehicle. It’s never been in an accident, you’ve seen the routine maintenance receipts, and know it’s only been owned by one person. That’s what I like to call the jackpot. Chances are, even if it has slightly higher mileage, it’s going to last for a long while.

On the other end, if a car has a price that’s too good to be true and you discover that it’s been in an accident and not had the proper repairs done, then it’s probably a good thing you took the time to check out the history of the vehicle before buying it. Right?

Learn about the true value of the car, learn the history, make sure to know what conditions you’re buying it under, test drive it, and get it professionally inspected. Chances are, you’ll find used car buying much less stressful if you apply everything this article has mentioned.

 by Roger Rapoza on May 8, 2017 Autoinfluence

Buying a Used Car Make Sure to Check its History

It’s easy to see the advantages used cars have over new vehicles. The advantage probably highest on most used car buyers’ lists is the price. Buying a used car can be significantly cheaper than buying a car that’s fresh off of the production line, but when you buy a used car, there is sometimes uncertainty about the car’s history. Understanding a used car’s history before committing to the sale is extremely important. If you don’t get a complete picture of what the car’s been through, you might end up over-paying for a car that isn’t in great shape, or even end up saddled with a car that’s going to cost you more in repairs than you spent in the first place!

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to check out your used car’s history before closing the deal, it’s called CARFAX. Many readers are probably already familiar with CARFAX, you may have even been presented with CARFAX paperwork at your dealership when making a final decision to purchase a used vehicle in the past. If you aren’t familiar with CARFAX, however, it’s important to understand what a CARFAX vehicle history report checks for before signing on the dotted line. And if you aren’t presented with CARFAX report at your dealership, make sure you do your due diligence and ask for one!

Details included in a CARFAX report give you a better understanding of things which you wouldn’t know just by taking the used car for a test drive. Often, a CARFAX report will turn up things even a qualified mechanic wouldn’t have spotted when they inspect the car. So, if you think having your trusted mechanic inspect the used car before you buy it is enough, think again. A CARFAX report lets you step back in time and get to know the used car a little better before committing.

These are some of the major things that a CARFAX report checks for in its vehicle history reports:

Major Accidents

Before you decided to buy a used vehicle, you want to know whether it’s ever been in a major accident. If your CARFAX report turns up with a mention of “major damages,” you’ll want to dig a little deeper. Many reports will give details like “car was driven from the scene.” In cases like this, you can assume the accident left the car with little more than some bumps and bruises. If it was towed from the scene of the accident however, you should check it out before buying. The dealer or your mechanic will be able to tell you whether the paint job on your used car is original or not and check under panels that have new paint. You should also find out if the repair work was done by a “factory” body shop that’s associated with the car’s manufacturer, or whether a low-cost repair shop did the work. This can definitely have an impact on the car’s value and may make you less likely to purchase the used vehicle.
Multiple Owners

A used car that’s had multiple owners isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if the car’s a little older, but might be a red flag. If the ownership turn-over seems to be higher than average, find out more details. More owners also means that the used car has more opportunities to have an owner that didn’t have routine maintenance performed. Different owners are likely to have had different driving styles as well, which can cause undue wear and tear on a car and impact its dependability. Used cars with only a single previous owner are considered the best, so keep that in mind when shopping for a used car.
Service History

A used vehicle’s service history will give you a good understanding of its current value. Just because the outside of the car doesn’t have a lot of scraps or dents doesn’t mean that the inner workings are performing well. Things you should be aware of include the used car’s last tire rotation, when the brakes were last services, and if the battery has required any work or replacement? Service records will show you exactly when maintenance was performed, and you’ll be able to check it against the car’s user manual to see if it was taken good care of. You can also see exactly who serviced the vehicle, which can be useful information as well.
Flood Damage

Flood damage is one of the most serious concerns a used car shopper should be aware of. You may assume that a car that has been in a severe flood was sent to the junkyard, but many of these flooded cars are rebuilt and put back onto the market. Often, these cars are sent far away from where the actual flood took place with the hope that prospective buyers won’t know the warning signs to look for. Shady right? If your CARFAX report shows that the used car has been in a flood, you should probably jump ship (no pun intended). Water can ruin electronics, lubricants, and the mechanical systems of cars. Even if it takes months or even years for the problem to manifest itself, flood damage can drastically reduce the life of your used vehicle and make it unsafe to drive, especially if it’s affected airbag controls, something you wouldn’t necessarily think to have a mechanic check.
Branded a Lemon

In the USA, a lemon is a car that is technically new, but has so many flaws and manufacturing defects that it can’t be sold on a regular market. If your CARFAX vehicle history report shows that the used car you’re interested in is a lemon, run! These cars may seem too good to be true because they are almost new and have few miles on them. The truth is that they are too good to be true. Manufacturing defects affect the used car’s safety, value, and usefulness. Do you really want to drive around in a car that had so many severe issues that it couldn’t be sold as a new car?
Mileage Rollback

This is a dangerous thing to see on your CARFAX report and can save you from spending a bunch of money on a car with poor value. Mileage rollback often referred to as “rolling back” or “spinning” an odometer, is when someone tampers with the odometer to make it look like the car has many thousand fewer miles on it. This is particularly common with leased vehicles with mileage limits when their drivers don’t want to pay the penalty for driving more than the allowed amount. Some sellers will also tamper with a car’s odometer to improve the selling value of the used car. If the car actually has 100,000 miles on it already but is showing a mere 30,000, buyers will be more likely to buy at a higher price. Don’t let yourself get scammed and make sure to check the CARFAX for mileage rollbacks before buying.

Here are some other facts that CARFAX vehicle history reports check for in used cars:

  • Structural Damage
  • Open Recalls
  • Registration History
  • State Owned
  • Total Loss
  • Rebuilt
  • Warranty Information
  • Airbag Deployment
  • Mileage Rollover
  • Not Actual Mileage
  • Salvage Titles
  • Hail Damage
  • Junked
  • Estimated Miles Driven Per Year
  • Last Reported Mileage
  • Length of Ownership
  • Commercial or Personal Use

It’s important to understand a used car’s history before you commit to buying. If you don’t, you could find yourself overpaying for a car that is worth less than it appears or even a car that will put you and your family in danger on the road. Some things that show up on a CARFAX report may be alright with you, minor accidents, etc. Other things might be red flags, however, and keep you from buying. If the seller tries to dissuade you from getting a CARFAX report, take the hint and don’t buy from them! Getting a CARFAX vehicle history report early will likely save you lots of headache down the road.

by Veronica Turk on February 8, 2019 Autoinfluence

Finding the Best Used Cars in Your Area

A hand is holding car keys to a used car while giving the thumbs up.
Before the internet, buying a pre-owned vehicle was a scary process. To find a selection of used cars near you, you’d have to either comb through the classified ads in the Sunday newspaper or drive around from dealership to dealership and get heckled by pushy salesmen. Nowadays, finding a pre-owned car is easier than ever before. All you have to do is search online for exactly what you want. You can find the most highly rated used car options that are currently available in your area.
Gone are the days of used cars being 12-year-old lemons that break down one week after you seal the deal. In today’s market, you can find a Certified Pre-Owned car that may not even be a year old yet. The options are endless, so we came up with a list of the best used cars to look for during your search.

2018 Nissan Altima
As an affordable, mid-size sedan, a used 2018 Nissan Altima is a great entry-level choice. It’s not old, so you will get the added benefit of advanced tech features depending on which trim you happen to come across. Powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the 2019 Altima generates179 horsepower and 177 pound-foot of torque. It also comes with FWD and a CVT, which means that the fuel economy is rated at 27 city / 38 highway.
A birds eye view of a red 2018 Nissan Altima that's parked in an empty outdoor parking garage is shown.

For this model year, there are four trim levels that you may come across during your search. The base is called the S, and it includes safety features such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. That’s pretty significant as many base-level sedans don’t come with any high-tech safety features. Rolling on 16-inch steel wheels, this model also includes a rearview camera displayed on a 5-inch monitor and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling. You can listen to music through the 6-speaker stereo and charge your mobile device via the USB port.
The SR trim rides on larger 18-inch alloy wheels and includes foglights, daytime running lights, a sport-tuned suspension, and a spoiler for a sporty look. Inside the cabin, the upgraded leather-wrapped steering wheel features paddle shifters for a racecar vibe. Next is the SV, which gets 17-inch alloy wheels, remote engine start, and a slew of added safety features such as blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Dual-zone climate control has also been added for comfort.
Finally, the top-tier SL model receives LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, and heated leather seats. For entertainment purposes, the stereo has also been upgraded to a 9-speaker Bose sound system. That’s pretty impressive for a pre-owned car.

2018 Chevrolet Malibu
If you happen to come across a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu, snag it! This sharply styled car offers advanced tech features and plenty of room. The first three trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that pushes out 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, it gets about 27 city / 36 highway. The top-of-the-line Premier model gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission, this version has a fuel economy set at 22 city / 32 highway.
A white 2018 Chevy Malibu, which is a popular model among used cars near me, is driving past an outdoor restaurant.
If you happen to come across a 2018 Chevy Malibu, it will be one of four trim levels. The first is known as the L. It’s the base model that is ideal for commuters. Riding on 16-inch steel wheels, it offers Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and a 6-speaker stereo system for listening to your favorite songs. Cruise control is also included, which is a nice feature on a base level trim. Next is the LS, which adds the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system that is displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen. This upgraded system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless audio streaming. Laminated side windows help to reduce cabin noise, and a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot is also included to keep you connected everywhere you go. Stepping up the 1LT will add heated exterior side mirrors, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, satellite radio, and back seat air vents. The top-tier model is called the Premier. It includes added comforts such as heated/cooled leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. It may also have advanced safety features via the Driver Confidence package. This will include a forward collision avoidance system, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and emergency braking.
The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu also comes in a Hybrid model. If you find one on a used dealership lot, it will be powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated with a battery-fed electric motor to produce 182 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Its features are the same as the 1LT model.

2016 Honda Accord
If you are looking for a used car that is family-friendly and loaded with cool features, you should keep your eyes peeled for a 2016 Honda Accord. Most models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a CVT, this motor has a fuel economy set at 31 mpg combined (27 city / 37 highway). The Sport trim level adds dual exhaust, which pushes the performance up to 189 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque. The trade-off is a slightly lower fuel economy set at 30 mpg combined (26 city / 35 highway). You might also find one with a robust 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the V6 gets about 22 mpg combined (18 city / 28 highway).

A blue 2016 Honda Accord Coupe is parked on pavement with mountains in the distance.
The 4-cylinder sedans are available in four different trims. The first is the LX, which is generously equipped with advanced features like a rearview camera, cruise control, and an infotainment interface that operates with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. A USB port is also provided as well as an auxiliary jack. Next is the Sport, which adds mostly exterior upgrades such as larger 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, and LED lighting. The EX model offers heated exterior side mirrors and a sunroof. It also has a 7-speaker sound system for listening to your favorite music. Finally, the EX-L heated leather seats, power-folding side mirrors, and driver memory settings.
The V6 models are available in two trims. The EX-L adds steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for a sportier feel and the previously mentioned dual exhaust for more power. The Touring model adds LED headlights with automatic high beam control, rain-sensing wipers, front and back parking sensors, and a rear decklid spoiler. The cabin also gets a few upgrades with the addition of a navigation system and heated back seats.
You should also note that any of the 2016 Honda Accord models could also be equipped with the Honda Sensing safety package. That includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic braking.

Choosing the Right Used Car
No matter which used car you have your eye on, you need to be sure to ask for a vehicle history report before you commit to a purchase. Many dealerships that offer used cars provide one for you. Finding the right car is only half the battle, you also need to find a reputable dealership you can trust. If you find one of these great used cars available near you, and the dealership is highly rated, go in for a test drive before it’s too late!

by Evan Riley on January 1, 2020 

Stop by at Columbus Auto Mall and let us show you how we can save you money on buying a newer vehicle. Located on South High Street, in Columbus Ohio. Your number 1 choice for buying a used car in columbus, ohio

10 Good Reasons to Buy a Used Car

View Columbus Auto Mall's 10 Good Reasons to Buy a Used Car

Content Provided by CarGurus.com

Whether you're exclusively browsing used-car listings or the latest television advertisement has you set on a brand-new model, each avenue offers benefits and drawbacks. To help you decide, we’ve compiled 10 reasons to buy your next car used.

1. Depreciation

Let’s get this one out of the way. Cars depreciate. With a few outstanding exceptions, buying a new car as an investment is a bad idea. Cars are lasting longer and longer, but vehicles still lose most of their value early in their lifespan. While some models handle depreciation better than others, most shoppers can expect a new car to lose up to 50% of its value within three years of rolling off the lot. Dad always said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and, unfortunately, that holds true with cars; for all the perks that come packaged with new vehicles (warranties, free maintenance, low financing), the inevitable law of depreciation remains a substantial cost and a great reason to shop used instead.

2. More Car for Your Money

This is where shopping for a used car can be a lot more fun than budgeting for a new one. Thanks to that pesky depreciation, your hard-earned money can take you a lot further in the used car market than if you were to buy new. Your budget may afford you only a base trim or entry-level car on the new market, but if you shop used, that same budget can buy you something significantly more fancy or better equipped.

3. Certified Pre-Owned Options

For many shoppers, having a warranty to protect them against a vehicle’s shortcomings is well worth the premium they pay for a new car. Today, however, virtually all carmakers offer some version of a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program, making a used-car purchase a much less worrisome endeavor. CPO programs vary depending on the manufacturer, and there is a significant difference between manufacturer certified and dealership certified, with the former almost always offering a more robust package. All manufacturer certified vehicles include some level of warranty (although the mileage and time covered vary) and often additional perks like free roadside assistance or a free loaner car when yours needs to head to the shop.

4. Variety

Every year, roughly 350 models are offered for sale on the new-car market in the United States, but if variety is the spice of life, consider the used-car market worthy of Emeril Lagasse’s kitchen. Three hundred fifty models may sound like quite a few, but that number is positively dwarfed by the number of models available on the used-car market. We all have different tastes, and maybe the car you want isn’t made anymore. Luckily, the used market has you covered. There aren’t many truly small pickups made today, but the used market will deliver Ford Rangers and Chevy S-10s. How about a retro hatchback? The Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevy HHR have you covered. Want a V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive station wagon with wood paneling? Well…you get the picture.

5. Data

Ah, data. We’re bold, so we’ll say it: This is where CarGurus shines. We have tons of data on both new and used cars, but the simple nature of time and history has allowed us to compile reams upon reams (or spreadsheets upon spreadsheets) of used-car pricing data. Tools like CarGurus’ Instant Market Value, which compares similar listings in our database, help shoppers estimate how much a particular used car should cost. By analyzing specific criteria beyond simply make and model, IMV can help ensure that no one overpays.

6. Lower Insurance Costs

Your car’s value is the primary item your insurance company considers when determining rates. That makes sense; the more valuable a car, the more money they’ll potentially have to shell out in the case of a wreck. It’s understandable that a BMW purchased used will cost less to insure than one purchased new, and that all comes back to depreciation. You might not notice the difference between your 3-year-old BMW and a brand new one, but rest assured, your insurance company will.

7. Cheaper Registration Fees

It depends on where you live, but older cars often cost less to register, too. Sure, some states charge the same fee no matter what kind of car you’re registering, but others vary their cut based on a car’s age, weight, or even power. Buying used won’t save you money on registration if you live in Missouri, where the fee goes up as horsepower goes up, or Illinois, which treats all cars equally (to the tune of $101 per year). But some states, like Montana, structure registration fees based on a car's age. On top of registration, many states charge yearly taxes, which are also often based on a vehicle's age. In Massachusetts, for instance, an excise tax is levied on all vehicles, but that tax is reduced dramatically once a car is two years old and bottoms out in the car’s fifth year.

8. Cars Last Longer Now

There’s a reason nobody sells cars with 5-digit odometers today. The option of a CPO warranty should mollify many used-car doomsayers, but the mere existence of these CPO programs lends credence to a decidedly convenient truth: Cars last longer than ever. In terms of mileage, 200,000 may not be the new 100,000, but nonetheless, automakers have taken impressive strides. Used-car shoppers should still be sure to have potential purchases inspected by a mechanic, but often concerns about a used car’s remaining lifespan deserve to be put to rest.

9. Vehicle History Reports Make Used Purchases Less Risky

If “cars last longer than ever” isn’t enough to sway you, the availability of vehicle history reports might. The emergence of AutoCheck and CarFax has helped shoppers gain greater peace of mind when considering used cars. The companies offering vehicle history reports rely on their sources to provide accurate and up-to-date data, meaning any time a vehicle changes hands, has an accident, or is repaired, the vehicle history report should reflect it. There’s a catch, of course, in that these incidents need to be reported properly in the first place. A good rule of thumb is that a bad history report can save you from buying a bad car, but a good history report does not render an independent inspection unnecessary.

10. Used Cars Have Helpful Aftermarket Communities

One of the beauties of the used-car market is the unyielding potential of aftermarket communities. Whether you’re shopping for a Honda Civic or a Studebaker Dictator, there is a corner of the Internet devoted to owners like you. CarGurus offers its own Questions section, where countless users have asked and answered thousands of mechanical questions. While the new-car market is constantly handling recalls and other unexpected setbacks, often times the common problems surrounding used models have already been solved.

Source: CarGurus.com by MATT SMITH