Buyers' Guide: In the market for a used luxury car?
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
A car speaks a lot about your lifestyle, choices, and overall personality, so it’s important to choose a vehicle that not only suits your everyday needs, but suits you, too.
Now the dilemma ... you can either buy a sensible new car that will meet those needs or a slightly used luxury vehicle that you’ve always dreamt of.
Now who wouldn’t like a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz tucked away nicely in their garage?
Well, we’re sure most of us would, but the big question is: Is a used luxury a smart choice?
Cheap to buy, expensive to own
The main problem with buying a seemingly cheap, used luxury car is simple: maintenance and repair costs.
Although the luxury car may have depreciated to the point where you can afford to buy it, parts aren’t any cheaper than they were when it was new.
This is compounded by luxury vehicles being fitted with all the latest and greatest technologies — nice initially, but not so excellent if they break later, costing thousands of dollars to repair and fix.
As the years roll by, the chances of a failure increases.
Parts can be expensive and sometimes sourcing them is difficult.
When features such as special air suspension, electronic control modules, cruise control and other automated systems fail, it can suck the fun out of a luxury vehicle.
It isn’t just the cost of repairs and maintenance that’ll get you. Luxury cars are also more expensive in other areas such as insurance and fuel.
For insurance, companies have to pay out higher claims for luxury cars if they’re hit, because of expensive parts and labour.
Meanwhile, fuel is often more expensive for luxury cars because they’re fitted with larger engines (original owners likely didn’t prioritise fuel economy).
Luxury vehicles are often cherished possessions and generally they’ve been looked after in the best way possible,
but, when you’re looking to buy one, take the time to trawl through invoices to understand how well the vehicle was looked after.
This will also give you some guidance about the level of maintenance it received as well at the average servicing bills you may need to entertain.
If you just can’t bring yourself to buy that sensible vehicle you set out to buy, here are some simple tips that can help to reduce the risks of your new luxury.
■Ensure you can afford insurance cover.
■Go for a decent test drive and check for any suspicious noises.
■Get a diagnostic scan.
■Have a specialist look over the vehicle, preferably someone with in-depth knowledge of that particular model and the common faults that can occur.
■Investigate potential repairs and their costs.
■Talk to a club or enthusiast group to better understand the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the particular model to look out for.
■Get a pre-purchase inspection
You may be able to afford the luxury car you’re after, but can you afford to keep it rolling?
Make sure you consider all additional costs such as repairs, maintenance, insurance and fuel before signing on the dotted line.