Are We Always Passively Shopping for Cars?

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Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re always shopping for a new car.

You can be casually scrolling through Facebook, thinking only of cat videos and the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode, when a post from a car dealer goes by featuring a shiny new Ford Explorer. You might wonder, even for a moment, if the new rig would make for a good replacement for your aging Honda Pilot.

Or maybe that first glimmer of desire for a different car appears when a friend posts photos of his or her new GMC Acadia.

Whatever the source of inspiration, you might start wondering if you should consider buying a car. At the very least, you’ll start thinking about the type of car you’ll want when the time comes to make a purchase.

Perhaps you’ll click on the dealer’s link out of curiosity, or even (innocently) begin a search inspired by your friend’s new car.

Even though you didn’t think you were in the market, a different car suddenly becomes a very real possibility. This is called “passive shopping,” and a new study suggests that social media has created an environment in which we’re doing it all the time.

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Use the Drop in Subcompact Prices to Your Advantage

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Looking for good, basic transportation? You can’t do much better than the used subcompact market, whether you’re searching for a used car or crossover.

But don’t think you’ll save only in the subcompact used-car market. Smart maneuvering could afford you savings in other segments as well….

According to the latest research from Black Book, which evaluates the used-car market by attending hundreds of used-car auctions a week, both used cars and crossovers have shown price drops far exceeding anything else in the used-car universe.

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Buyers Want Used Cars That Will Last a Decade

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There’s an interesting quirk happening in used car buying that could affect new car sales for years to come. Almost half of all buyers want the car they buy to last at least 10 years.

The survey from AutoMD.com showed the majority of buyers are thinking pre-owned, or what we mortals would call used cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Price was the most important factor, but so was making sure the car would last a decade.

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5 Things to Know About Buy Here, Pay Here Dealers

buy here pay here lot

This Connecticut Buy Here, Pay Here dealer has cornered the market on used Suzukis.

There’s nothing inherently bad about Buy Here, Pay Here dealers. They provide a service to those automotive buyers without good credit who sometimes need a used car in a hurry.

However, it’s important to keep in mind most Buy Here, Pay Here dealers (BHPH dealers) aren’t in business to establish long-term relationships. They’re trying to make the most profit they can from financing used cars.

Here are five things you need to know before purchasing a used car from a BHPH dealer.

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Can a Car Go Too Far? Our Highest-Mileage Cruisers

1989 Lincoln Town Car

Summer’s just around the bend, which means many of us have long weekend drives in our near future. Leaving the day-to-day for a beautiful summer weekend away can definitely heal many wounds, but some of us will need to cover a lot of miles to really get away from it all. We polled our used-car listings to find those vehicles with the highest mileage per year, but weren’t surprised to find the top end of our list packed with cargo vans and large pickup trucks.

You don’t want to leave work on a Friday for a long drive to your summer getaway with your honey in a cargo van, do you? No, so we’re going to show you the sedans and wagons that have covered the largest average number of miles per year, in order to to find some comfortable highway cruisers. These vehicles aren’t generally fast and luxurious, but any one should fit the bill if you need a vehicle to get yourself and your loved one(s) a long way from your home base for some relaxation.

Please make sure you prepare for any long drive by getting plenty of sleep beforehand and turning off your cell phone or giving it to a passenger to avoid distraction. We’re not sure where you’ll cover lots of miles for relaxing weekends away this summer, but here’s a list of great road trips. Wherever you go, we hope you return safe and refreshed, and we hope you enjoy the drive.

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10 Economical Options for the Sensible Graduate

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As Boston-area folks know all too well, another year’s worth of college students will soon graduate and move on to their next stage in life. Whether that next stage will be an entry-level job, more school, volunteer or charity work, or getting right to work on their first (next?) startup, we wish this year’s graduates nothing but the best with whatever comes next.

We ran a recent survey that determined more than half of graduating college students plan to buy a car, and we were happily surprised to learn that over half of them expect to buy it themselves. Two-thirds of those getting a new car plan to buy a used one, and almost half expect to spend $15,000 or less, though we also learned that graduating college students don’t understand a car’s true costs. Over half plan to work in the city, and 71% plan to commute by car.

So here’s a graduation present from CarGurus: a list of 10 cars available used at an average cost of $15,000 or less that are all fine commuting cars and should hold their value relatively well. We deliberately avoided sports cars, which might tempt even a valedictorian to drive unsafely and would cost substantially more to insure. We hope all recent graduates plan to continue learning in their next stage of life, and we look forward to celebrating some of their successes in the no doubt impressively near future.

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Things to Know Before Using a Tax Refund to Buy a Car

Used cars

It’s that time of year many people look forward to: tax refund season. It’s also the time of year used-car dealers look forward to, because people use those refunds to buy new-to-them cars.

Now, you might see articles claiming that tax refund car purchases peak around April 15. That’s not true. The only people filing tax returns then are those who owe taxes – not those expecting refunds.

What’s the first thing you want to know about buying a used car with your tax refund? Now is the worst time to buy a used car with a tax refund. How come? It’s simple. Between now and the end of March, it is a seller’s market when it comes to used cars.

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Depreciating Darlings: The 10 Best Used-Car Bargains

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan

As soon as a brand new car leaves the dealer’s lot, the depreciation phenomenon commences. There are plenty of reasons to spring for a new car with an empty odometer, of course. They come with great warranties, include the latest technologies, offer the buyer peace of mind with regard to the vehicle’s history, and, naturally, they come with that wonderful new car smell. However, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and your new car depreciating as soon as the rubber rolls of the lot.” We took a look at the data and found that although some cars quickly lose value for good reason (looking at you, Mitsubishi Galant), there are others that actually become pretty great deals. If the smell of organic materials off-gassing is of paramount importance, feel free to pay the premium for your brand new car. If you don’t mind waiting a few years, however, we’ve picked 10 vehicles that offer incredible value on the used market.

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When Do You Decide to Sell Your Car?

1993 Volvo 240

Today let’s discuss one of the endless debates in car ownership. It’s the bane of existence for owners everywhere and the justification many people give for buying a new car.

Here’s the issue:

An older car requires sudden and expensive repairs to continue running. Do you take your chances and fix it or get rid of it and purchase something newer?

A friend is struggling with this issue right now and might be on the verge of making the wrong choice.

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