Used Car Buyer's Guide

car for sale sign on a used vehicle

When it’s time to trade in your current vehicle for a new one, you’ll have two main options for your vehicle: new or used. While buying a new car can be a simpler choice, buying used or certified pre-owned models can come with significant benefits. If you’re interested in a pre-owned model and all the advantages it can bring, Hendrick Buick GMC Cary is here to help.

In our Used Car Buyer’s Guide, our team goes over everything you need to know about buying a used vehicle, from what to look for when buying a used car to what steps you should take after completing your purchase. Get all the information you need about buying a pre-owned model with Hendrick Buick GMC Cary below and start your used vehicle search with confidence!

Is it Better to Buy a New or Used Car?

The first step in any vehicle purchase is deciding which kind of car is right for you. Read the pros and cons of both new and used vehicles to decide which model makes the most sense for your situation:

New Car Advantages

  • Better Fuel Efficiency: As gas prices fluctuate, manufacturers are racing to create more fuel-efficient vehicles. Any new car you buy, especially new EVs or hybrids, will typically have better fuel economy than a used car.
  • Latest Technology: New vehicles continue to push the boundaries of convenience, connectivity, and comfort technology, giving you the latest features for your Raleigh drives.
  • Full Warranty Coverage: Most new vehicles come with bumper-to-bumper warranties that cover everything from the powertrain to the electronics systems for a certain number of miles or years.

New Car Disadvantages

  • Higher Cost: With all the high-end tech and efficient engines, new vehicles come at a cost. New cars, trucks, and SUVs tend to have a significantly higher price tag than their used counterparts, with very little bargaining available.

Used Car Advantages

  • Lower Costs: The biggest advantage to buying a pre-owned vehicle is the overall cost savings. With a lower sticker price, fewer taxes, and cheaper insurance rates, used cars can help you save and stick to your budget.
  • Slower Depreciation: When a vehicle is bought for the first time and drives off the dealer’s lot, it undergoes a steep depreciation period for the next few years. Buying used helps drivers negate that depreciation period, allowing them to maintain the value of their vehicle for longer.
  • Less Chance for Negative Equity: The upfront savings and slower depreciation rates of used cars lowers your chance of owing more on your auto loan than your vehicle is worth or ending up “upside down” on your loan.

Used Car Disadvantages

  • Higher-Cost Financing: Buying a used car may save you money on the lot but can cost in the long run. Many lenders charge higher interest rates on loans used for used cars, so double-check the math on your loan paperwork to ensure you’re receiving a good deal.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

If you’ve decided that a used car is the right choice for your next purchase, you’re ready to start your search! Follow the steps below to find out what to look for when buying a used car in the Apex area:

  • Set Your Budget: The most important factor in any car purchase is price. Take a look at your finances and see how much you can afford to set aside not just for a down payment but also for routine maintenance, future repairs, new tires, and insurance. As a general rule of thumb, a monthly car payment shouldn’t exceed 10% of your monthly income.
  • Find the Right Car: With a budget in place, begin searching for vehicles that meet your transportation needs and fall within your expected price range. Use reputable sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to research reliability ratings and reviews.
  • Test Drive & Inspect Models: Once you’ve settled on a few models and a budget, it’s time to step into the driver’s seat! Browse the inventory at Hendrick Buick GMC Cary, set up a test drive of your favorite model, and inspect it on the lot for quality.
  • Explore Used Car Financing & Warranty Options: When you’re ready to sign on the dotted line, talk with our financial experts to see what financing options, warranty coverages, and potential savings you have available.

What to Ask When Buying a Used Car

While a test drive and on-lot inspection are important to the process, they can’t always tell you everything about the condition of the used car, truck, or SUV you’re considering. Make sure to ask the seller these questions to get a more complete picture of the vehicle’s quality:

  • Are there any current recalls on the vehicle?
  • What is the ownership history?
  • Do you have the title in hand?
  • Is the vehicle history report available?
  • Is there a history of maintenance?
  • What is the vehicle’s mileage?
  • Do the amenities and features work like they’re supposed to?
  • Is the car as is, or is it under warranty?
  • Can I take the car to a mechanic for an inspection?
  • How was the vehicle priced?
  • Does this vehicle affect your insurance premiums?

What Is Good Mileage for a Used Car?

A major factor in many drivers’ decisions about their next used car is mileage. Most Holly Springs drivers put about 10,000 – 12,000 miles on their vehicle per year, leading many buyers to shy away from used cars for sale with odometer readings of 100,000 miles or more. That said, mileage can be deceiving– there are plenty of other considerations to take into account that may shed light on whether or not that high-mileage or low-mileage vehicle is a good deal. Some factors to consider include:

  • Usage: A vehicle driven 75,000 miles in stop-and-go city traffic will have more wear and tear than a 75,000-mile vehicle driven on the highway. If you can, get the previous owner’s driving history before buying.
  • Location: Used vehicles driven in cold, wet climates will deteriorate faster than used cars driven in warm, dry climates.
  • Maintenance: Pre-owned models will typically have a maintenance history available. A car with regular maintenance will be in much better condition than one with irregular service history, which could lead to costly repairs in the future.
  • Age: Regardless of mileage, the age of a vehicle can be an important indicator of condition. Even a low-mileage used car will have problems such as rust and mechanical problems due to age.

With so many factors to consider, it’s hard to give a strict number on what’s good mileage for a used car. For instance, a vehicle with 60,000 miles with a full service history may be a better deal than a vehicle with 30,000 miles and no service history. Always get as much information about the previous owner’s driving history as possible before making your final decision.

Take These Steps After Buying a Used Car

After you’ve committed to a used vehicle that checks all your boxes, there are still a few steps after buying a used car you should take:

  • Get Insurance: It’s illegal to drive your used vehicle without insurance! Make sure your new-to-you vehicle is covered before leaving the lot.
  • Transfer the Title & Register the Car: If you buy a car from a dealership like Hendrick Buick GMC Cary, our team will take care of this step. If you buy from a private seller, instead, you’ll be responsible for taking the title and registration into your local DMV.
  • Choose a Mechanic You Trust & Schedule Service: When you need a Cary auto shop, trust Hendrick Buick GMC Cary’s service department! Our certified technicians will inspect and tune up your vehicle so it’s ready for the roads. Schedule service online for quick, efficient service.
  • Review the Owner’s Manual: Get all the details about the vehicle you’ve just purchased by reading the owner’s manual. Note any recommended maintenance schedules or parts so you can keep your vehicle in peak condition on the Fuquay Varina streets.
  • Check for Recalls: If you didn’t bring this up in the initial inspection and test drive portion of your search, check for any recalls on your vehicle.

Find Your Next Used Car for Sale at Hendrick Buick GMC Cary!

Now that you know more about buying used cars for sale, browse the inventory at Hendrick Buick GMC Cary! Our Cary dealership is proud to have a wide selection of pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs of all makes and manufacturers so you can find the vehicle that fits your needs and budget. Contact us to set up a test drive and let Hendrick Buick GMC Cary put you behind the wheel of your next pre-owned vehicle!

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Hendrick Vehicle Disclaimer:


$749.00 Dealer Administrative Fee not included in advertised price.

All prices exclude all taxes, tag, title, registration fees and government fees. Out of state buyers are responsible for all taxes and government fees and title/registration fees in the state where the vehicle will be registered. All prices include all manufacturer to dealer incentives, which the dealer retains unless otherwise specifically provided. Dealer not responsible for errors and omissions; all offers subject to change without notice; please confirm listings with dealer.

All vehicles may not be physically located at this dealership but may be available for delivery through this location. Transportation charges may apply. Please contact the dealership for more specific information. All vehicles are subject to prior sale.


Additional Disclaimers:


*Applies to select GMC Models, the 2023 and 2024 GMC Sierra 1500. Length of contract limited. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24. **Only on the 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 Engine. For trade assistance, you must show proof of ownership and trade in a 2010 model year or newer vehicle. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.. ***Deferred monthly payments for 90 days. Excludes residents of PA. Must finance with GM Financial. Some customers may not qualify. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Finance charges accrue from date of financing. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.

*Length of contract limited. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.**MUST BE A CURRENT OWNER OF A 2010 MODEL YEAR OR NEWER NON-GM VEHICLE OR A CURRENT LESSEE OF A 2019 MODEL YEAR OR NEWER NON-GM VEHICLE FOR AT LEAST 30 DAYS PRIOR TO NEW VEHICLE SALE. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24. ***Deferred monthly payments for 90 days. Excludes residents of PA. Must finance with GM Financial. Some customers may not qualify. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Finance charges accrue from date of financing. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.

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