Where to Look For Used Cars in Orange County, CA

My husband is looking to buy a new car.  He is much more practical than I am. When I am ready for a new car I get a NEW car.  He likes to get one that is a year or two old or maybe one that was leased.  So I asked hime where he looked to find used cars – I mean I have no idea where to start.

His answer in no particular order was:

1. Orange County Register – You can go online cars.ocregister.com and look for any make and model you might be interested in.  There are a gallery of photos and you just have to click to send them an email or call them for more information

2. AutoTrader.com – They give you a ton of options to help your find your car quickly

3. Costco – If you are a Costco member.  They have an amazing  auto finder service – go to www.costcoauto.com. Low, prearranged Costco member pricing, all available national manufacture incentives, and interact with over 3,000 dealerships nationwide.  They provide an easy and stress-free buying experience.

4. Carmax – They are a trusted company and claim to have tons of cars under 12,000.  They also claim that their sales consultants are on a fixed commission so they are truly there to help you find the right car for you and not one that will put more money in their pockets.

5. Local Dealerships  – For example. Cerritos Auto Square. They say they are the “world’s largest auto mall”  It is very impressive.  They also supposedly have 10,000 autos in stock. So if you like going and looking at a lot of cars, this is the place.

One last bit of advise if you are trading your car in – make sure you get it detailed before driving it to the dealership.  One of my friends owns a carpet cleaning business and made my car look amazing – my carpets were stained from years of abuse from my kids…okay I spilled a Starbucks or two on my carpet as well.  Check out San Clemente Carpet Cleaners.

A couple of other tips:

1.  Get pre-qualified is important – The reason you want to get pre-qualified is because dealerships don’t offer the best interest rates.  My husband belongs to a credit union.  They typically offer the best interest rates.  If you wait until you are at the dealership, you will probably end up wasting a lot of money on interest.

2.  Look for last year’s model –   While this is typically frowned upon on the red carpet and in some of the elite social circles – it is the best way to get a steal.  We usually look for a car that has been  leased for a year, is fully loaded and is certified pre-owned.

3.  Look for a car that the dealerships take out for a test drive – This is a great way to save some money.  Dealerships don’t like demos sitting around on the lot. They take a hit because of the miles on the car.  You will find that they are very motivated to get rid of these cars at the end of the month, when styles are changing and when the miles start to rack up on demos.