By The New York Times — The last time you bought a used or refurbished car or truck at an auction, you were probably thinking to yourself, “Is this worth it?”
But if you are a buyer looking to buy a used car or a used truck, you might have to think again.
The answer depends on the buyer, the condition of the vehicle and, of course, the value of the car.
“The market has changed in a very big way,” says John W. Brodsky, president of Brodskaya Automotive & Automotive, a business consulting firm in St. Louis.
“A car has a lot of value now, but it’s not as important for a seller as it was 25 years ago.”
A used vehicle is still a relatively new item, Brodski says, and buyers have been buying cars at auction for decades.
“It’s still the fastest growing segment of the marketplace,” he says.
“That’s the reason the car market is so hot.”
So is the trend toward buying used cars.
According to an annual report by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the number of used vehicles sold increased 5.5 percent in 2013, up from a year earlier.
The number of cars that are in auctions has doubled in the last decade, reaching nearly 4 million, the report shows.
“Demand for used cars is strong and rising, with many consumers choosing to purchase a vehicle that they can use for years and decades, even decades longer,” said the NADA report.
“This is good for the economy and the environment as it enables consumers to purchase more efficient, less costly vehicles and reduces emissions, which in turn helps create jobs and economic growth.”
But for buyers, finding the right buyer can be difficult.
There are three main factors that buyers must consider when buying a used vehicle: the condition, the mileage and the price.
Some of the more common reasons for a buyer to abandon a vehicle include poor fuel economy, a lack of maintenance, a broken transmission or a cracked wheel.
“You want a vehicle with the right condition, but you want it to be in a condition that it can be easily restored,” Brodska says.
Buying a used SUV is another matter.
“When you buy a car, you’re paying the price, but the seller is also paying the maintenance,” he adds.
“If the seller doesn’t know where you’re going to get the vehicle, the dealer doesn’t have to make you the deal.”
Brodskin says that when buying used vehicles, it’s important to pay attention to a seller’s history.
“They’ll probably have a history with you and your history, but that’s not always a good thing,” he said.
“Buying a vehicle from someone who has had a very long, expensive relationship with you, like a family member or an ex-boyfriend, could make things worse.”
But if the vehicle is well-maintained, you may not have a problem.
“With a lot more than just a lot less maintenance, it can make a difference,” Brodksky says.
Some buyers might want a brand new car or even an older model.
But, again, you can make the decision based on the condition and mileage of the item.
The average used car will have about 80,000 miles, according to Brodskys report.
For example, a Honda Accord has an average of 93,000, while an older Ford Focus has an estimated 89,000.
The report found that if the buyer is a regular buyer, they can expect to pay about $2,000 for the car, with the seller getting about $300.
But if they are looking to make a quick sale, they may want to look at a used BMW, Buick, Chrysler, Ford or Lexus.
If you’re a high-end buyer, you’ll likely be able to get a better deal.
The Buick Grand Touring will run you about $40,000 with the dealer, but a higher-end model might cost you more than $60,000 if you want to buy an SUV, a truck or a hybrid car.
Brodkys says that buyers should consider the vehicle’s performance.
“I wouldn’t buy a vehicle if it was just good,” he explains.
“Otherwise, it would be a low-mileage vehicle.”
Buying used may also have some perks.
“People who are more tech-savvy and are more in the business of buying used tend to spend more, so a used-vehicle purchase can bring in a bit more money,” he notes.
“There are lots of great things about buying a vehicle on a used basis,” he emphasizes.
“Buyers can do a lot with a car they can put on a dock or even move it.
The buyer can use it as a beach house