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Tips for buying a used car

By: Gina Cronin, Gina.Cronin@Gazette.com
March 17, 2017 Updated: March 17, 2017 at 10:18 am
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Buying a car is exciting. The features offered year in and year out are continuously evolving to fit the needs of drivers. When buying a used car, especially if you are not experienced with purchasing vehicles, it’s important to look out for the green flags that indicate a reliable automobile. Even those who are seasoned auto shoppers can benefit from a few tips to secure the best car at the best deal.

Trustworthy advice

For those who are new to the process, before even setting foot in a dealership it’s helpful to talk to a family member, close friend or someone else that you trust who has knowledge and experience in regards to purchasing a new car. They can help set you in the right direction and provide a few general pointers to orient you towards the ideal car for your unique needs and wants.

Online reviews

“Some individuals might think they can get a good deal on Craigslist, but what they do not understand is that these cars have not been checked, they do not have warranties and really the customer does not know what they are getting into,” says Ken White, Salesman and Marketing Manager of Southwest Motors in Pueblo – Colorado’s largest independent car dealership. “I highly suggest researching dealerships online to make sure the one you go to has positive feedback.” Southwest Motors, for example, has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google out of more than 180 reviews, which serves as an indicator of a quality dealership.

Dealership offerings

Once you’ve taken these preliminary steps, you are ready to look into the finer details of the dealership. You want to make sure that they have a thorough inspection process for the pre-owned vehicles, and that there is a solid warranty after purchase. “We provide a 30-day, thousand mile warranty, and stand behind our vehicles,” says White. “We have inspected our cars, trucks, vans and SUVs from the inside out, but still want to make sure our clients feel secure after their purchase and know that we are there for them.” A good dealership will also have a vehicle history report. Southwest Motors provides Carfax on every single vehicle in their inventory, which affords a detailed analysis of the car, where it’s been and more. “We spend a considerable amount of money to get these reports, but this is what our clients are looking for so we always make sure to go that extra mile for them.”

The right vehicle

Understanding what you want is half the battle to finding the right car. Ask yourself a few questions – such as what your budget is, if you’re looking for the best possible gas mileage, if you need a third row seat, what size car you want, what special features you want it to include, if you want an SUV or a sedan, etc. “You should walk in with a general idea of what you want and what your budget is. Are you looking for an affordable automobile or is it time to purchase that dream car? We also recommend pre-approval before you start your search and fall in love with a car outside of your price range,” says White. Southwest Motors provides this pre-approval to all clients, and the process only takes less than a minute. From there you can find a vehicle that fits all of your criteria.

“It’s also important to consider all factors. You may be looking to spend $250 a month, but find a vehicle that is $275 a month with 20,000 less miles. That is a gain of two years of drive time for only $25 dollars a month.” Factors like these should be considered in the decision making process. Southwest Motors specializes in slightly used cars, meaning many cars are still on full factory warranty and can be financed as like-new – making the rates highly competitive.

Banking relationships         

Go to a dealership that has a good banking relationship; because that’s how you’re going the get the best interest rate possible. Southwest Motors works with more than 60 banks and credit unions in order to get their customers the very best deal.

Inventory

A large inventory means a greater chance of finding the perfect car. Southwest Motors has more than 700 vehicles in stock – including cars, trucks, vans and SUVs. “We like to think we have something for everybody,” says White. “We think of it as 31 flavors of Baskin Robbins. With sports cars for example, some like Camaros some like Mustang – they’re both great cars but the key is finding out which one is the right one for you.” If you’re looking for an SUV, the dealership has 200 of them so there is sure to be one to fit your needs, and a representative will be by your side to help you through the process of finding it.

Customer service

“We have a mentality that whether a client is buying a 4,000 dollar car or a 40,000 dollar car, everybody deserves to be treated with respect,” White says. “We’re big on two ears, one mouth; and understand the importance of truly listening to our customers and understanding what they want.” Southwest Motors started as a 12-car shop, and even after becoming the eighth largest car dealership in the country, still operates like it’s a 12-car shop – providing highly personalized service and tailoring the experience to the client. The company is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is closed Sunday; but often stays open after 7 p.m. for its Colorado Springs clients that are driving down after work. The dealership sells many cars to the Colorado Springs market; and can even complete transactions online from pre-approval, the purchasing, to car delivery. The dealership attracts clients throughout Southern Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and beyond; and can ship cars across the country. The company sells 350-400 cars a month, with 80 percent of clients being repeat or referral, which speaks volumes about client satisfaction.

Company values

“Founders Mike and Randi Zavislan have a commitment to this community and their employees. They really care about the people who work for them and want to give them a good life,” says White. The Zavislans also give back to the community in a big way. They’ve been supporting 4-H for more than 20 years and offering free tuition to a college student annually through the Free Tuition for a Year Program. This commitment and care is felt by each and every client and employee. “We wear the Southwest Motors badge with pride, because it truly means something to us – we’re part of something bigger.”

To learn more about Southwest Motors, visit 2600 W. US Highway 50, Pueblo, call 719-545-5700, or browse vehicles online at SouthwestMotors.com.

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