• Karolena Serratos

When looking for a used car it pays to be patient

In the past week we have had three new Service Smart sign ups and all three are young drivers looking for a solid car. Two of the three had spoken to me at great length when they began their search.


I must say I am so impressed with their finds and so happy they took my advice to heart. One of the youngsters paid attention to my exhortation for patience and kept searching until he scored a deal. His 2008 Lexus ES350 is in great shape considering it's at the 150,000 mile mark, it really looks like the previous owner took care of things. It wouldn't surprise me if he viewed 100 different vehicles going down his list of what he was looking for in his first car. The second actually found a car that met his criteria when we spoke. It appears he literally manifested his 2006 Scion tC with just over 100,000 miles. Focusing on certain brands, certain mileage range, certain expectations for fuel economy and most importantly having financial goals keeps the search from being too overwhelming. Taking the time to clarify your needs and wants will save you lots of grief down the road.


The last one was given a vehicle. It needs some work and has 375,000+ miles but it is obvious that a lot of love went into keeping it up. It reminds me of my 1996 Nissan Sentra, George.


To see these kids taking responsibility and planning ahead is amazing. They want to have their vehicles checked out to have a clear understanding of not only its current condition but also of what it will need in the future. I am so proud of them. These guys are so far ahead of their time.


When buying a used car here are some things I think are important to think about:

  1. Have a budget and stick with it. (And don't use the whole budget just to purchase the car.) Think about the money you may need to spend to make sure it's safe and reliable. This is also the time to begin building an emergency fund.

  2. Create clear goals of expectations. What is the purpose of this vehicle? How long do I want to keep this vehicle? How much is maintenance going to cost?

  3. Get an insurance quote. I was looking at purchasing a new car last year and the insurance expense alone was almost enough to deter me. When I went for the test drive I could feel my purse about to combust behind me. There's more that goes into a new car than just car payments and maintenance expenses.

  4. Once you find the car make sure to have it looked over by an certified professional. You want to make sure you're not buying someone else's problem. You also want to be able to start creating budgets and have realistic expectations. Getting the vehicle checked out allows you to plan for expenses rather than being blindsided when they finally make themselves known in an emergency.

  5. Probably the most important: BE PATIENT. Don't let anyone push you into a sale. And it's okay to wait if it means you're waiting to find the right car. Not the perfect car, but one you can work with for all the above criteria.

Congrats to these young people being so mature throughout the whole process and on their great finds!

Finishing with one of my favorite Clone Wars quotes about patience:

"The value of moving slowly is that one can always clearly see the way ahead." - Master Tera Sinube to Ahsoka Tano

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