Clearing Up Basics of Certified Preowned Cars

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 11:25 PM

Within the world of used cars, the term “certified preowned” has begun to take on a very exclusive feel. Also called CPOs, these cars are generally more expensive and considered the highest standard for a used car.

At Auction Direct USA, we have a wide selection of certified preowned cars along with other used vehicles. We’ve found that many of our customers don’t fully understand what this term means when we use it, and what standards a CPO vehicle is being held to. Here’s a primer on some of the basics here.

Certified Criteria

As the name suggests, CPO involves someone certifying the vehicle in question. This certifier is using a set of standards or criteria to carry the CPO label. Where many folks become confused is in which set of standards is being used.

At a brand-name dealership, the manufacturer sets CPO standards – each vehicle of its make will have its own criteria. Ford has a 172-point inspection, for instance, and many manufacturers also include a mileage factor. Chrysler, for instance, requires that a vehicle is under five years old and has fewer than 75,000 miles for it to even be considered as a CPO vehicle – and this is before the rest of the inspection.

Independent Programs

Independent used car dealerships have also developed their own CPO programs by devising a set of standards that can be applied across all makes of vehicles. These standards and applied processes will be different from a manufacturer, but if the dealership holds itself to high standards in general, the quality here will be just as high. Good independent dealerships should be willing to share their standard for certification with you, so you can determine if their CPO vehicles are good enough to justify raised prices.

Best Alternative to New Car

As long as you’re using a reputable vendor, a CPO vehicle is the highest-quality option available as an alternative to a brand new car. They meet a rigorous set of standards, and are very close to new in many cases – but with a lower price tag. As long as you’ve done your research on the standards applied, you can feel confident you’re getting a great car when you shop CPO.

For more on certified preowned cars, or to learn about any of our used car selection, speak to the pros at Auction Direct USA today.

Reading Vehicle History Reports Properly

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 4:18 AM

When looking for a used or preowned car, one of the first considerations many of us have is attempting to find out all the historical details of the car in question. We naturally want to know the specifics of how the car has been treated in the past – what maintenance it’s undergone or may need, plus any specific issues it may have.

At Auction Direct USA, we’ll help you with methods of obtaining this information. For many people, online resources like CARFAX or AutoCheck are the best way to do this. Both offer a number of different bits of information about vehicle history that can be vital while searching through used cars. Let’s take a look at how to go about reading and interpreting various elements of one of these reports.

Previous Ownership

These reports will give you a history of ownership, which allows you to verify how many people have owned the car and where it has been registered in the past. It will tell you if previous owners have been individuals, or whether they’ve been government, corporate, rental or for other purposes.

Title

The title is vital – you don’t want to look at the report and see that it’s still owned by a bank or lender. You also want to be sure it’s never had a salvaged or branded title, which could essentially mean the car is unfit to drive.

Service Records

This isn’t always the case, but CARFAX will often show service records for vehicles. Any negative information will usually be highlighted in these cases, making it easier to note. Do remember that these reports can only use the information that was given to them – they may be incomplete, especially if the car has had multiple owners.

Mileage

A history report is a good way to check on mileage, as this will be recorded after every historical event for the car. A red flag here might include a mileage report that doesn’t rise in sequence – this could be a sign that the odometer has been hacked. In addition, a car that was owned for many years but added very few miles could mean that the car sat for long periods of time, or that the odometer was rolled back.

Other Issues

Other issues these reports may find include accidents, airbag deployments, and anything else that may indicate significant damage in the vehicle’s history. If you notice any of these red flags, ensure you get a satisfactory explanation before proceeding further.

Want to learn more about reading an online vehicle history report, or interested in our wide selection of used cars? Speak to the experts at Auction Direct USA today.

Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Car

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 4:13 AM

Selling a car can be a difficult decision for many reasons. Many of us get emotionally attached to our cars, and this can make some of the important financial considerations that go into selling one a bit tougher to manage.

At Auction Direct USA, our car dealers are here to help you with a sale or trade-in process. We’ll keep you on task and remind you when your objective judgment is being clouded. Here are five questions you should be asking yourself before you make the final call to sell a vehicle.

Why Are You Selling?

Some people go through “new car lust” – our brain’s natural desire for something new or better. It’s important not to confuse this with legitimate reasons for wanting a new car, such as constant and costly repairs to your current used car.

In today’s online age, it’s much easier to make these kinds of decisions. You can learn how long you can reasonably expect your current car to last given its current condition, and when it might become too expensive to continue owning it.

What’s the Worth?

This may seem like a straightforward question: What is your car’s Blue Book value? However, it’s actually more detailed. You have to consider other financial items – things like the value of not relying on public transit, the value of being free of a car payment, or even the emotional value of your own vehicle. These metrics are subjective, but they’re important to think about before selling.

How Will You Sell It?

There are a few different ways of selling your car, from private sales to a trade-in with a dealership like Auction Direct USA. Your choice will depend on how much legwork you want to do, along with the value of the car.

Are Your Expectations Reasonable?

If you’re getting a new or preowned car to replace the one being sold, make sure your expectations are realistic here. You may have a perfectionist ideal for what your new vehicle will be like, but you should be more realistic – separate what’s possible and what’s simply wishful thinking well before you commit to selling the old car.

Are There Costs Associated With the Upgrade?

It’s easy to skip over additional costs during a car sale, but these can be significant. Consider things like higher insurance premiums, state licensing fees, taxes and any finance charges you may have to pay for your replacement vehicle. Through this lens, a move that looks affordable can quickly look different.

Want to learn more about selling a car, or interested in any of our other services? The pros at Auction Direct USA are standing by.

Vehicle Factors in a Used Car Search

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Saturday, July 15th, 2017 at 5:50 AM

At Auction Direct USA, we’re here to get you the lowest possible market prices on used cars without the hassle. Our team of used car dealers will help you with everything from loans and trade-ins to vehicle searches, and we won’t rest until you’re satisfied.

One of the simplest areas we see people struggle with? A lack of basic knowledge about what they want in a preowned car. These simple expectations will set the baseline for your entire purchasing experience. Let’s look at a few important areas to consider.

Basic Performance

Before even visiting a dealership, read performance reviews of the types of cars you think you might be looking into. Certain makes and models may have tendencies within their design, and the rise of the internet within the industry makes it easier than ever to find out about these. Does a model you’re looking into frequently struggle with a particular engine problem? Find out in advance. In addition, once you’re at the dealership, test performance of individual vehicles through test drives.

Safety Features

Another smart bit of research will be on crash ratings and safety features for a potential vehicle. There are simple online resources to help with understanding what certain ratings or features are referring to, and what they might mean for you.

Reliability

This ties in with performance to some degree. You want a dependable vehicle that won’t frequently be dealing with maintenance or repairs. There are also plenty of online resources available for checking this sort of thing.

Interior

Factors like the engine, tires and mechanical items might drive the value more directly, but you have to be comfortable in your vehicle. Inspect everything from seat material to the layout, and make sure all the interior features you want are present.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Remember that even after you spend money on your used vehicle, there will be standard maintenance and upkeep concerns. Budget for this, but also research the kinds of maintenance that are most common for your vehicle type.

Want to learn more about important used car factors, or any of our other services? The dealers at Auction Direct USA are standing by to assist you.

Avoiding Common Trade-In Mistakes

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Thursday, June 15th, 2017 at 5:08 AM

Trading in a car is different from selling one in a few ways, and at Auction Direct USA, we handle both situations. Our trade-in specialists will help you with several details of the process, and our expert appraisers will generally take under half an hour to come back to you with an offer for your used car.

What are some of the mistakes people often make when trading in their car with a dealer? Let’s look at some of the key errors you can avoid during this process.

Not Knowing Value

You may not be able to narrow it down to the dollar, but you want a good idea of the basic value of your car before you head in for a trade-in. Use online tools like Kelley Blue Book or Edmund’s Trade-In True Market Value appraisal tool – many people even print the results and keep them with them for reference at the dealership. Appraisal values here are just averages for the area, so don’t expect them to be perfect, but they can give you a good idea of the range you need to be looking for in an offer.

Overestimating Worth

Many people become attached to their vehicles, and are naturally biased during a valuation process. Most owners tend to slightly overstate their car’s condition level – only 3 percent of cars on Kelley Blue Book fall under the “Excellent” condition category, but you’d hardly know that based only on owners’ assessments. Try to be as realistic and conservative as you can to fight this bias.

Too Many Repairs

Putting a bit of time and effort into repairs and cleanup is good before a trade-in, but investing in expensive fixes will often not be worth it – dealerships can often make these fixes for a much cheaper number than what you’d pay, and in these cases, you’re better off letting them do it. That doesn’t mean take no care, of course, but do research on the kinds of repairs that are smart to make.

Just One Offer

If possible, it’s always good to get more than one appraisal to see how much they vary. Offers may vary based on current inventory, re-sale ability and other factors.

Want to learn more about the right steps to take during a trade-in, finding the right used car value, or any of our other services? Speak to the specialists at Auction Direct USA today.

Keeping Credit Score High for Used Car Financing

By rarthur | Posted in car auction tips on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 at 6:41 PM

If you’re looking for a used car with a financing situation, credit score is going to be an important factor. Your credit score will go a long way to determining which kinds of financing situations you’ll be eligible for, and the used car values you can look into.

At Auction Direct USA, we have financing options available for folks with all levels of credit score. Those with higher scores, though, will typically have many more good options available. Here are some tips for keeping credit score high ahead of financing a used car.

20-10 Rule

Many financial advisors will recommend a very basic rule for credit, title the 20-10 rule: Never let credit card debt run higher than 20 percent of yearly post-tax income, and never use more than 10 percent of your individual monthly income to pay down credit card debt. Staying within these limits, or even tighter if possible, will keep certain debt rates that are vital to credit score from swinging too far in any particular direction.

No Late Payments

Late or missed bill payments are some of the simplest ways to lower your credit score – the vital credit bureaus track on-time payment rate, and dock you heavily if yours is too low. Online bill payment makes this a completely unacceptable outcome in today’s modern age; simply set automatic payments up for any areas you frequently forget.

Emergency Funds

If you can, try to keep at least 15 percent of your credit or more open at all times in case of emergencies. If you’re forced to max a card for an emergency or one-time event, this could heavily damage your credit score.

Easy Debt

Much of credit score has to do with how well you consistently use your credit, but then also pay it down in an acceptable time period. For this reason, a quick way to goose your score a little is to take on a bit of “easy” debt – debt you know you can pay easily, and may have otherwise not even put on your line of credit. Repaying this debt early and without missing any payments will help raise your credit.

Want to learn more about credit score and how it factors into your next used car purchase, or interested in our wide availability of used cars? Speak to the experts at Auction Direct USA today.

Important Factors in Certified Preowned Purchasing

By rarthur | Posted in Used Car Buying on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 at 6:34 PM

Within the used car world, certified preowned cars are the top of the heap. This program provides warranties and inspections you won’t find in non-certified vehicles, and the car dealers at Auction Direct USA can tell you about numerous other specific benefits as well.

Just because you’re considering certified preowned, however, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook in preparing research and the questions you’ll ask a dealer. Here are a few other tips we can offer on the proper factors to consider.

Same Value Research

Research resale values and other items in exactly the same manner you would research a non-certified used car. Pricing tools give average values that are determined by everything from condition to mileage and optional equipment. Treating this research exactly the same as a normal situation may give you some extra leeway in certain areas, and will certainly keep you from omitting any important details.

Manufacturer Certification

Make sure the car manufacturer is offering the certification, not just the dealer. This way, you know the car meets the stringent requirements of the manufacturer. It also means that if you’re ever in need of service, no matter where you are in the country, your manufacturer should have a location to help you.

Proper Checklists and Histories

Always ask to see in certification checklist to confirm all items, and insist on a specific repair and maintenance history for the vehicle. Make sure the remainder of the new-car warranty is clear and in writing. If you have any concerns in any of these areas, bring along a friend or third party with the knowledge to assist you.

Read the Fine Print

Make sure you check over your warranty with a fine-tooth comb. Some warranties might only cover the powertrain, and you may have to purchase separate coverage for bumper-to-bumper. Warranty lengths can also vary.

Age and Mileage Limits

Most people tend to hit their mileage limit before they reach their age limit, but this could vary based on how often you drive and other factors. Pay attention, and do this basic math before finalizing anything.

Test Drive

Most importantly, take the vehicle for a test drive. Just because a car is certified doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll love driving it, or approve of several other possible factors. Give it at least one spin to test how you feel in it.

Want to learn more about the vital factors in certified preowned cars, or any of our other services? Speak to the experts at Auction Direct USA today.

Why Certified Pre-Owned is the Way to Go

By rarthur | Posted in used cars on Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 at 10:28 AM

There are many options available when searching for a used car, and one of the top choices out there for many people is a certified pre-owned vehicle (CPO). At Auction Direct USA, we offer an unmatched selection of certified pre-owned vehicles in the Jacksonville, FL, Raleigh, NC and Rochester, NY areas. We carry all the most popular brands, stocked at affordable prices.

Why should you be choosing a certified pre-owned vehicle as your next car? There are a few good reasons, actually.

Quality

Used cars must pass a relatively rigorous inspection process to get the title of certified pre-owned. Late-model cars are at an obvious advantage, as are cars with low mileage and clean vehicle history reports.

These qualities vary from automaker to automaker, but are pretty strict across the board. If a vehicle cannot pass any part of the inspection process, it simply can’t be certified as pre-owned. This keeps the market for certified pre-owned cars robust and active, and helps ensure you’re getting a quality car.

Reconditioning

A dealer will often recondition the vehicle and replace certain parts as part of the inspection process, meaning you’re often getting a car that’s been professionally repaired by as reputable a mechanic as you’ll find. There are between 100 and 200 individual items on this checklist, depending on the vehicle make and model.

Extended Warranty

Many CPO programs, including Auction Direct USA, offer protective warrantees on all cars sold as certified pre-owned. There are times where the previous owner had warranty time left on the car, and this can usually be transferred to the new owner as part of the deal. CPO cars already come with a higher level of quality due to the pre-certification inspection, but this is just another layer of protection in case there are problems down the line.

Maintenance and Perks

It’s common for several maintenance items to be complimentary in CPO programs. Auction Direct USA offers numerous additional maintenance-related perks along with certified pre-owned cars.

  • Nationwide coverage
  • Roadside assistance
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Lockout Services
  • Free vehicle maintenance

Low-Interest Financing

CPO vehicles are generally more expensive than non-certified models – it only stands to reason given all the additional quality checks and perks that come along with them. But they also often qualify for lower finance rates, in some cases nearly identical to the rates offered on brand new cars. This can make borrowing money for a CPO car yet another area that’s more convenient than normal.

Want to learn more? Our Auction Direct USA experts are standing by.

Tips on the Trade-In Process

By rarthur | Posted in Car Trade-in on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 10:27 AM

At Auction Direct USA, we offer fair and affordable trade-ins for many of our preowned cars. A trade-in can be a fantastic way to get yourself credit toward your next upgrade, and in many cases can get you a better deal than selling independently.

Many people simply don’t know where to start when it comes to trading in a vehicle, though. Let’s walk through a few of the most important steps and themes to give you a general idea of a few things you’ll need to do.

Determine Value

The first step will be determining the value of your used car, which has several factors involved. These include general condition, accident history and any chips or paint issues with the car. A lesser-known area that’s also often included is timing and location – if you’re trading a no-top convertible in the middle of winter in Boston, for instance, you won’t get the same value in your trade as you would if you traded the same car in in the middle of summer in Los Angeles.

There are several online resources available to make this kind of information easy to access. Kelley Blue Book and the National Automobile Dealers Association are two of the most popular outlets here, and they’re both free.

Canvass Similar Products

To get a decent idea of what your car might or should be worth, you can take it around to a few dealers in your area and get comparison points. These types of activities don’t only increase the curb appeal of your car, but strengthen your potential negotiating position.

What Matters to Dealers

When looking for trade-in value, you have to think about what will be important to the dealer you’re trading with. The things that matter most to dealers include their current inventory and how your car adds to it, the model and age of the car, and the engine type. Their primary goal is this: How quickly can I recoup my money from this car? This makes popular car models easier to get high value from.

Ready to put your knowledge to use, or want to learn more? Speak to the car dealers at Auction Direct USA today.

Purchase a Vehicle with your Tax Refund

By rarthur | Posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at 6:08 PM

Put your Tax Refund toward a New Vehicle!

You worked hard all year and paid your taxes. Now, Uncle Sam is sending you a tax refund. Put that money to good use and invest in a new-to-you vehicle from Auction Direct USA in Raleigh NC, Rochester NY or Jacksonville FL.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average American tax refund is around $3,120. Yours, of course, may be different. Regardless, tax refund season is probably the only time of the year most Americans receive money aside from a paycheck. Financial experts often advise people to invest tax refund money. What a better investment than a new vehicle.

Perhaps your current vehicle has seen better mechanical or cosmetic days. Take a look at one of our many pre-owned vehicles.  Maybe you just want to upgrade to a more fuel-efficient car.  Auction Direct USA has many used vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Hyundai Elantra or Ford Fiesta at a price you can afford! If these models don’t pique your interest or you’re looking for a more powerful vehicle, we have many more to choose from.

Have you been driving a small or midsize truck while dreaming of a full-size? Now is the time to consider a Ram 1500, Ford F150 or Chevy Silverado. Auction Direct USA also has full-size trucks from other manufacturers, many of which are only a model year or two in age.

Few people get enough money from a tax refund to pay the full price of a car. Auction Direct USA makes financing easy, so you can use your refund for a down payment. We offer a no-hassle sales environment and post prices and detailed information about all vehicles on our website.

Use your tax refund wisely this year by investing in a pre-owned vehicle from Auction Direct USA in Raleigh NC, Rochester NY or Jacksonville FL.