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 dealership employee is shown helping a customer.

The Current Used Car Market Has Better Options Than Ever Before, But That Might Change

When the supply chain disruption began to hit the automobile industry hard in mid-2021, the used car market grew. Suddenly, used cars had similar price tags to their brand-new counterparts. For consumers, this era was rough (you don’t have to tell me: in the worst timing possible, my lease was up at the end of 2021). Finding a high-quality, affordable vehicle became an involved, sometimes impossible, process. Stopping by the local dealership no longer guaranteed much as they had trouble obtaining enough stock to meet the demand that had pent up.

Luckily, towards the end of 2022, the supply chain issues started to ease, and the used car market prices dropped by about 14%. That might not last, though, which is why you want to make a move soon. Prices have already begun to inch back up. It’s not all bad news, though. The used market is more expensive, but it’s also changing, possibly forever, in ways that may work to your advantage, especially if you know how to time the market. When I look for a used Chevy truck near me, I certainly see some high prices, but I also see some trucks in great condition.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, owners now see that the used car market is hot, so they’re more willing to go the extra mile to put a vehicle out on the market since they see a great opportunity. Therefore, they might part with their ride sooner than they otherwise would, which means it’ll be in good condition. Another factor is that vehicles are better made than two decades ago. A truck can last a long time without losing much in terms of capability and performance, so buying used does not mean you have to sacrifice a lot in terms of what your vehicle can achieve.

A pre-owned dealership sign is shown.

Better Made? For the Most Part, Yes

There is a lot to love about older cars. Many people overhaul cars from the 60s or 70s because their style and vibe still shine on the road. The safety features, though, will not match the ones offered in more modern vehicles. From Chevy Safety Assist to Honda Sensing, manufacturers have been installing technology into new models that make driving safer than ever. Sometimes, it feels like the car is your co-pilot, warning you of potential dangers and, in some cases, even taking action before you do.

Thanks to this, used cars that debuted in the past ten years are still exceptionally safe because this technology has yet to age out. If you buy a Silverado from a few years ago, its safety features will have no problem wowing you. That wasn’t the case in 2000 when you just had airbags and seatbelts. Concerns about safety were normal whenever you bought a used sedan or truck. Now, though, the plethora of safety features means an older ride will still offer you a safe trip.

Cars, SUVs, and trucks are also constructed with more advanced materials than in the past, and computer guidance during construction reduces the possibility of errors. Therefore, a car or truck can last much longer before it must be repaired or replaced. When you buy used, you’re not going to see as much of a difference since, in general, it now takes longer for age to take its toll on a vehicle. The state of a ten-year-old vehicle in 1990 is radically different from the state of a ten-year-old vehicle in 2023.

Better Performance

There are some classic cars that can dominate; there’s no doubt about that. But the average new vehicle has better performance, and the ceiling for performance has risen dramatically, too. Consider virtually any truck put out recently. Each year comes with a higher tow limit for upper-tier trucks like the Silverado, whose latest model comes with a towing max of an eye-popping 35,000 lbs. With performance on trucks and SUVs increasing at what seems to be an exponential rate, you rarely feel like you’re sacrificing when you go with a model a few years old. Most people don’t need to be able to haul 35,000 lbs, so if your used model can only do 20,000 lbs, well, you’re likely to still be quite pleased with your purchase.

A red 2012 Chevy Colorado is shown parked near a lake.

More Options

Manufacturers don’t just put out a variety of models. Each model comes with a variety of trims, too. When you hit the used car market, you’ll still be able to check out different versions of the same model so that you can have a ride that matches your driving lifestyle and your personality. From wheels to decals to seating arrangements, different trims can offer vastly different experiences, even if the overall model is the same. Since the used car market is so boisterous right now, you can check out a range of options, making the used market feel quite similar to the new market.

Dealerships Are Embracing the Used Car Market

A downside of the used car market is a lack of trust. If you contact someone from Craigslist or another online source, you never really know who you’re becoming entangled with. Can you trust that the vehicle is in the shape they’re claiming it is? Can you trust that they won’t rob you? Or, even if they’re well-meaning, can you trust that they’re as informed as they think they are?

These problems can be solved by going to a dealership. While dealerships have always offered used cars, the supply chain crisis of 2021 (and, unfortunately, of 2022 and 2023, albeit to a lesser degree than 2021) resulted in dealerships becoming bigger proponents of used cars. Dealerships keep more used vehicles than before, which means you can buy a used ride from a place you can trust.

Many dealerships make certain their used cars are certified, indicating they’ve gone through vigorous inspection, which can give buyers some serious peace of mind. If you’re interested in selling your own used vehicle, then dealerships can come in handy once again. Selling to a dealership is far easier than advertising on your own and having to worry about the safety issues that come from meeting anonymous customers.

A popular used Chevy truck near me, a red 2018 Chevy Silverado, is shown driving on a highway.

Possible Headwinds

So, in many respects, the used car market has never been more exciting. Yet, it might be smart to make a move sooner than later. Prices are heading back up, and more people are becoming open to exploring the used market, which means less and less supply as demand soars. Yes, dealerships now have a better selection of new cars, but demand for new cars has been so high that you’re not likely to see relief for new car prices anytime soon. That means the used market can also charge more than it could a few years ago.

There’s no question that the past couple of years have given the automobile market a shock. Customers are exploring new avenues, which can be great, but it can also change expectations. The used market is offering better options than before, but people are catching onto that, which means that searching for used trucks and sedans might not be as easy as you’d like it to be, especially as this year continues.

Analysts see the prices increasing as the average driver becomes more comfortable with used models for the reasons we outlined above. In short, the used car market offers great buys, but if you don’t want your bank account to take a serious hit, you will want to act soon. On the flip side, if you plan to sell a vehicle on the market, you should keep an eye on the average price and try to time an entry to get the most possible for your vehicle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *