How to Buy a Used Car When Inventory Is Hard to Find?


Nissan Maxima

If you’ve been in the market for a used car lately, there’s a good chance that you’ve had a hard time finding what you’re looking for. A global shortage of semiconductors, a microchip that’s essential in the manufacturing of modern automobiles, has curtailed the supply of new vehicles, while high demand means that the effects have spilled over into the used car market as well.

The problem has been compounded by the rental car market. During the pandemic, many rental companies sold off their stock as demand plummeted. Now that the world is reopening and demand is increasing, they’ve gone from being suppliers to buyers in the used car market as they struggle to rebuild their fleets and match demand.

So how can you make the most of the situation and still find good value on a used car?

#1 Capitalize on Trade-In Value

Higher used car prices go both ways. The best way to make buying a new car work for you right now is to capitalize on high trade-in value. Inventory is scarce, and dealerships are looking to add to their stock, which means you can expect to get more value from a trade-in.

Start exploring your options online. Dealerships like Autorama let you get an estimate on the appraisal online. Fill out details about the vehicle’s condition, mileage, make, model, and other essential information, and you can get an appraisal before you even go in.

#2 Expand Your Search

Finding the right vehicle can be a challenge in a tight market. Don’t be afraid to expand your search and head to more dealerships around the area. Check out inventories online and make time in your schedule to head over.

#3 Get Favorable Financing

A better financing deal can help you reduce the long-term costs. Consider checking your own credit report before buying a vehicle to see what kind of rates you think you can qualify for. Explore your financing options and make sure you’re able to cut your costs long-term.

#4 Go for Higher Mileage

There are reports coming out that gently-used, 2- or 3-year-old vehicles are now selling for almost as much as new models. Those lightly-used vehicles used to be the sweet spot for car buyers looking for a deal and not bothered by a few years of use and low mileage.

That stock is now in such high demand that it almost makes sense to go new. If that’s outside your budget, or you simply can’t find any vehicles that fit the bill, it makes sense to go for a used car that’s seen a bit more use.

When you’re buying a heavily used car or truck, make sure you do a test drive and get the vehicle inspected. That way, you can protect yourself while still getting a better deal.

While it may be tougher to get a discount on a used car in this market, there are still ways you can make it work, such as making the most of your trade-in value, keeping an eye on financing terms, and looking at more heavily used vehicles.


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