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Cars are typically the second biggest expenditure we’ll ever make after a home purchase. You’re generally going to spend far more for a luxury car than the conventional models, though buying used can help you save money. However, you don’t want to make a mistake given the price tag you pay even for used luxury cars. Follow these three tips when buying a used luxury vehicle.
There are a number of upgrades and fancy features in luxury cars that are more hassle than they’re worth. Air suspension falls into this category. They can improve the ride, but the cost of maintaining and repairing them is far more than it is worth. And with a used car, you’ve already eaten into its expected operating life. An extended warranty only partially offsets the eventual bill. Avoid luxury cars that have been radically altered by the owners, too. Whether it has a fancy custom sound system or has been super-charged by an aspiring race car driver, the general recommendation is to buy something else.
Only buy a vehicle that is a right fit for you. If you’re not comfortable with something, be it the color or the options package, don’t buy it. If a salesperson pushes you to close the deal, leave.
Don’t take the dealer’s word for it that the car runs great. A used luxury vehicle is a high-tech piece of machinery. You can’t get an adequate assessment of the myriad sensors, modules, computers and controllers by looking under the hood. Consult a BMW mechanic to have a diagnostic scan done. These scans are cheap, fast, and reveal a number of concealed issues you would want to have fixed before you drive the car.
It is advisable to have a full pre-purchase inspection done by someone other than the dealership’s shop. For a modest fee, the vehicle can be inspected from the rims to the roof line. The issues found in these inspections give you leverage to get the price down on the vehicle or require the items to be fixed before you seal the deal.
Modified engine management software may be in the control system to make the car more powerful, but it voids the warranty and accelerates wear and tear. So, while you’re at it, ask about the state of the software settings and have them set to factory defaults if necessary.
Have the mechanic verify the car hasn’t been damaged by an accident and been well maintained. You can ask for the service records and a collision record, but even if they’re clean, you should have the pros double check.
If you want to maximize your peace of mind, ask the dealer to run any software updates that haven’t yet been run on the system. This could pre-emptively fix issues with the vehicle. And if they do it before you buy the vehicle, you don’t have to pay a mechanic to do it later. After any software update, take the time to verify the command system and other systems work correctly.
Used luxury cars are the best of both worlds, allowing you to drive a top vehicle at a price you can afford. And if you take the proper precautions, you won’t have to worry about the risks associated with buying used cars.