Many Americans dream of having a luxury vehicle at some point in their lives. The idea of a fast, sleek vehicle can steer car buyers away from looking at the little things – especially if it’s used. The price tag may sound like a deal, but if you don't look at everything inside and out, you may be throwing your money away. Here are some tips for when you're shopping for a used luxury vehicle.
Scan the Systems
Many luxury vehicles are equipped with high-tech systems such as sensors, controllers, and modules that communicate with one another. Just as you would with any used vehicle, make sure you request a full diagnostic scan from a manufacturer-certified technician.
Some technologies in these vehicles won’t have a warning light that comes on when there’s an issue. The scan will verify that the car is safe and ready for the road, and it can save you from a potentially pricey fix.
Get it Inspected
The next thing you should do is get a pre-purchase inspection with an ASE-certified master mechanic, preferably one familiar with the vehicle. These inspections typically cost between $100 and $150, and if the technician finds any issues, you may be able to negotiate any repairs into the price of the vehicle.
You should also ask the service department about any software updates when at the dealership. Keeping the technology up to date will decrease any system failures in the future.
Avoid Air Suspension
If you can, avoid buying a vehicle with an air suspension system. Air suspension systems improve the ride quality of a vehicle, but these systems are prone to failure and leaks as they age. Repairing these systems can be costly, running anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the vehicle.
Check the Central Command System
Luxury vehicles typically have complex central command system interfaces (all the buttons, knobs, and touchpads that control the various vehicle systems). Make sure to test and use everything to ensure it works properly before moving forward with a purchase.
Take some time before a test drive to connect a smartphone via Bluetooth, play media, and touch and work through all buttons, menus, and commands, including those mounted on the steering wheel. Look for consistent performance to make certain costly repairs or replacement isn't needed.
Be Wary of Additional Costs
Unlike non-luxury vehicles, many luxury cars come with added costs that go beyond repairs. High-end cars have a tendency to cost more to insure and their engines may require premium gasoline. These vehicles require more expensive replacement parts (and labor) for brakes, tune-ups, and tires, as well, so if your budget can’t handle these additional costs, a luxury vehicle may not be the best option.
Try Before You Buy
Even if you aren’t planning on buying a used luxury vehicle, it’s important to follow the same guidelines when buying any used car. Test everything out before making the purchase and ask as many questions as you can.
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