Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A highway through Los Angeles is shown with moving cars.

Shopping for a Used Vehicle to Tackle the LA Commute

Taking on the Los Angeles commute is no small feat. Whether you’re challenging the 405 head-on during rush hour or headed west on the 10, the 60, or the 210, at 7 am on a Tuesday morning, chances are you’ll be spending a huge chunk of time in your vehicle. That seems to be the nature of driving in LA, and LA natives are quite familiar with that aspect of the lifestyle. For this reason, in particular, anyone who takes on the Los Angeles commute should purchase a vehicle that isn’t just equipped for commuting but specifically built for it. So, right off the bat, that rules out SUVs with gas-guzzling engines, and pickup trucks who’s truck bed would likely see very little use on the day-to-day. Driving in LA is a central part of living in LA, which is why if you’re on the hunt for used cars for sale, you should tweak your search parameters to include something that will provide supreme comfort when sitting in traffic.

The Used Car Buying Experience

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what features to look for, and what kind of car might excel at commute-based driving, we think it appropriate to do a quick review of the used car buying process. Buying a used car can include more than just visiting your local dealership or picking out a prospective model on the side of the road. Just like when you buy a brand new vehicle, a level of preparation should be involved so that you end up selecting something that not only fits your daily needs but fits nicely into your budget as well.

So, what are your options? Well, when shopping for a used car, you have the choice between a strictly used vehicle and a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle. Used vehicles are of the garden variety, and can be purchased in numerous states of repair. Resting in used car lots, or parked on the side of highways with ‘for sale’ signs, there is a lot of uncertainty when purchasing a used car. While you may be able to find a good deal from someone simply trying to sell off their previous vehicle, you can have better luck at finding something reliable at a dealership. When you purchase from an individual seller, you run the risk of getting sold a vehicle that may run great now, but won’t run great on day two or three of your ownership. On top of that, used car dealerships can also have warranty plans and on-site mechanic shops that can offer you greater peace of mind when buying.

On the subject of peace of mind, we suggest that you purchase a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle. You won’t likely find a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle from an individual seller, as these are used vehicles that have been refurbished by the manufacturer. This refurbishment process is quite thorough, involving components as inconsequential as the paint or the windshield wipers. As a result, when you purchase a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle, you strike a better chance at getting something that’ll last you quite a while and give you the most bang for your buck. Although, don’t expect to get used vehicle prices for a Certified Pre-Owned car. Certified Pre-Owned vehicles tend to be a bit more expensive than the non-refurbished alternative, and also are typically much newer. That said, if you can afford it, and don’t mind paying an extra price, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are the way to go, especially if you plan to put a lot of miles in commuting.

A blue 2017 Chevy Volt, popular among used cars for sale, is driving past the ocean.

Reliability Above All Else

Commuting is pretty hard on your vehicle, even when it may not seem like it. Sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405, can seem pretty minimal when it comes to the wear and tear factor, although, don’t let all that idling fool you. Sitting in traffic for hours on end day after day can put as much wear on a vehicle as anything else. So, when searching for a used commuter car, we recommend finding something that has some pretty good reviews in terms of reliability. Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Lexus all share top reliability ratings; however, we highly recommend that you do research on particular models so that you really get something that’ll last. If you purchase your used vehicle from a dealership, it may also be worthwhile to invest in a warranty program so that if something does happen to your vehicle while sitting in traffic, it’ll be covered. It also doesn’t hurt if you make yourself familiar with a dealership’s maintenance shop so that you have a place to go when things eventually break down.

Spend Less Fuel and Money

Another thing to consider when purchasing a commuter vehicle is gas mileage. Hour after hour, day after day sitting in traffic is going to eat up a lot of gasoline, especially during the summer months when you’ll likely be fighting triple-digit temperatures with your air conditioning on blast. So, when purchasing a commuter vehicle, you want to make sure you won’t be spending a ton of money on gas on a weekly basis. Fuel-efficiency ratings are a good way to check just how much fuel a vehicle consumes; however, you can take things a step further by purchasing something with a hybrid drivetrain. Most hybrid models utilize an electric motor and battery to take some of the work off of the gas-powered engine, which, as a result, reduces fuel consumption. In that same vein, the battery in hybrid vehicles can often be charged by applying the brakes, which will happen a lot when you’re sitting in traffic. There are plenty of vehicles out there that support a hybrid drivetrain, and even more, are bound to grace used car lots throughout Los Angeles as more and more automakers begin introducing electric motors to their lineups.

A white 2019 Toyota Prius is driving past city buildings.

Reducing Commuter Burn-Out

Sitting for hours in traffic can take a toll on your mental health and your comfort levels, especially after a long day of work. Fortunately, you can counteract this discomfort by purchasing a vehicle that comes with some pretty solid infotainment features. Additions like an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible infotainment system can allow you to access some of your favorite smartphone apps without having to look down at your phone. Automatic climate control is a big thing to look for too, especially in Los Angeles. Summers are scorching in the LA basin, and having a car that is equipped to handle that heat can go a long way in making your commute less of a chore.

Safety for Safety’s Sake

Of all the things to look for in a used commuter vehicle is a good layout of active safety features. Automotive technology has advanced leaps and bounds in recent years, and now cars can quite practically drive themselves with active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking all working simultaneously to provide a kind of automated ride that commuters have never before experienced. Keeping a lookout for these features in your used vehicle can also provide you with peace of mind when taking on that crazy LA traffic.

With so many hours spent on the road on a weekly basis, having a diverse package of safety features protecting you from an accident can go a long way in reducing the amount of stress and burnout that commuting on a daily basis can impose. Commuting may not be a pleasurable experience, but if you purchase a car that is specifically built for the task, you can take it on seamlessly.

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