When it comes to buying a used car and price, my advice is, don't always look for cheapest example. In our experience, we have witnessed countless examples of buyers purchasing the cheaper option, only to have nothing but trouble with the vehicle afterwards. In the used car market, "best deal" doesn't always mean the cheapest one. Your aim is to find a good car, in good condition and at a reasonable price. If your choosing between a relatively cheap car that may have been in an accident or has been poorly maintained and needs some service work etc, and a more expensive example that is in excellent condition, I would choose the more expensive one every time. You will simply save on repair bills and will have fewer reliability issues. You should never think that the car is cheap because the seller is naïve or desperate to get rid of the car. If the car is cheap, nine times out of ten, there is a reason for it.
Remember, the correct price for a used vehicle is what the market place at that time is prepared to pay. It is not the price indicated in Red book or the Glasses Guide. They just give you an average price and are usually based on auction results. The real value of a vehicle lies in the cars condition and what the market is willing to pay. I have yet to see the Red Book or the Glasses Guide write a cheque for a car.
So, how do you determine how much you will have to pay for a certain model? Look at websites like Carsales, Drive, Carpoint & Trading Post online. Search for the type and year model of the vehicle you would like. Refine your search by choosing the transmission, acceptable mileage and even colour. You will be left with a choice of cars which you can then sort by lowest price. If there is one vehicle that seems much cheaper than all the others, I’d give it a wide birth. The same can be said of vehicles that are too expensive. Pick the cars with detailed descriptions and those that have been well photographed (a photo can tell a thousand tales). You will usually find a vehicle or two that stand out from the crowd and they are the ones you should look in to.
Now, when the time comes and you have narrowed down your options, different scenarios are going to arise. Two cars may look the same. One though, may have been maintained poorly or not serviced as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. The costs of maintaining this vehicle over the coming years could creep into the thousands. The other vehicle may have been fastidiously maintained since new, was serviced using only synthetic oil and was always serviced by a specialist. Without doubt, I'd rather pay $2000 more for this second car just to have peace of mind driving it.
And if you do go that step further, for peace of mind, get the car inspected by an independent inspection company like IVI or State Roads. There is a small cost involved but it is money well spent.
They will tell you if the car has been in an accident, has any oil leaks or potential problems and give you a good overview of the car.