Used Cars: 5 To Avoid (and 5 Better Alternatives)

In addition to worrying about the honesty of the seller, you also want to be sure to avoid vehicles with poor reliability records. To help with that, MoneyWatch looked at owner surveys to see which cars look like trouble, focusing on five separate categories. We focused on 2008 models -- the year ranked in the latest dependability study from J.D. Power and Associates . Buying a 3-year-old used car also lets you shop after the biggest new-car depreciation already has taken place: Because used car prices have risen so sharply this year , 1- and 2-year-old used models can make worse financial sense than buying new. To make our list of used-car rejects, a model had to get the minimum two out of five in the J.D. Power "circle ratings" for dependability. It also had to be ranked below average as a used car by Consumer Reports in its annual April car issue and online car rankings . Here are our recommendations for used cars to avoid -- plus some better ideas in the same categories. Orginal Source:

Used car prices fall -- but not enough

Overall, used-car prices fell 4.5% on average in April at the wholesale level, compared with the same month last year, reports Adesa Consulting. After shooting to peaks each spring over the last three years, "They had almost no where else to go but down," says Adesa analyst Tom Kontos. But the bad news for now is that prices for good, late-model used cars aren't falling much, even though new-car sales now are booming and trade-ins are coming in. That's because many consumers are trading in aging cars they nursed through the recession years -- clunkers worth so little that dealers don't even keep them around. "Just too old," explains Allen Foster, general manager for Smart Motors, a Toyota dealership in Madison, Wis. Unable to resell them on his own used-car lot, Foster sends such trade-ins off to auction. Minivans and full-size crossover vehicles took the biggest price declines over the past year, both falling more than 10% in average wholesale price. Cars overall were down 6.6%. In a sign that the economy, particularly, housing, is picking up steam, the only vehicles still seeing price increases are those typically used by workers. Full-size pickup prices rose 3.3%; full-size vans were up 8.1% But for the sought-after late-model cars on lots at dealers affiliated with a major automaker, the average retail price was down a scant 0.5% in the first quarter from the quarter a year ago, to an average of $15,793, says car-buying advice site Orginal Source:

It's Finally Time to Buy Used Cars Again

S Who remembers the Eagle Talon? Actually, who remembers Eagle? Outside of those who owned one, there are few who recall this product of the Diamond Star venture. The Talon was actually a sharp little car, better than the Plymouth Laser and the formerly popular Mitsubishi Eclipse. S Stuff like this '95 Talon TSi wasn't as boy racer-y as an Eclipse, but the two were usually at the forefront of spoiler trends of the era. But this is a performance machine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four powering all four wheels through a five-speed manual. Hotter stuff than the usual front-drives of this category. S OK, it's not exactly a quality product. The interior looks even worse than it did back in '95. I hope there's a faceplate for that detachable radio. Orginal Source:

The Best Used Cars For The Money

Most of the companys growth has come through new-car sales. This year nearly 70% of new cars sold in North America were equipped with a Sirius XM receiver, up from 33% in 2007. A fruitful growth opportunity Kannan Venkateshwar, a Barclays Capital analyst who covers the cable and satellite business, believes going after used-car buyers is about to become a fruitful growth opportunity, because only now are a large number of satellite-ready cars turning over to a new owner. Heres how the numbers break down: Of the 56 million vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, only 15 million were new, 41 million used. Of that 41 million in "pre-owned" cars, some 21% were sold informally, buyer finding seller. This group is largely unreachable for Sirius XM because of difficulty getting information on the new buyers. Yet the remaining 29 million used-car sales are made by franchised dealers connected to an automaker or independent dealers. Most of these outlets are covered by Sirius XMs dealer agreements. On average, the first owner of a car holds onto it for just under six years. Orginal Source:

Sirius XM Guns for New Owners of 'Zombie Radio' Cars

Whats more, over 690,000 used cars albeit older and less-desirable models were taken out of the market by the so-called cash for clunkers program in 2009. Analysts predict used car prices will finally begin tapering off, perhaps as early as years end, with healthier new-car sales including those from Japanese automakers recovering from production disruptions because of the earthquake and tsunami in March helping to refill the supply chain via trade-ins. Used car prices at the end of the year will still be higher than last year, but not at the levels during the peak in May and June when prices jumped 25-30 percent higher, says Jonathan Banks, a senior analyst with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Used Car Guide But that doesnt mean there still arent some advantageous deals to be found in the used-car market. The key here is to find the best late-model pre-owned vehicles that, for one reason or another, have lower-than-average resale prices. Age, condition and mileage largely determine a cars value in the resale market, but comparable models can still cost more or less than each other because of various market forces. According to Automotive Lease Guide, a vehicles value down the road can be affected by something as superficial as a particular make or models market perception. Cars initially sold with big cash rebates tend to take a greater hit in terms of depreciation, as do vehicles that have significant fleet sales, which ensures a steady flow of models into the resale market each year. Click here for the gallery: The Best Used Cars For The Money. Our list of Best Used Cars for the Money consists of vehicles from the 2008 model year that received average or above-average scores from the most recent J.D. Power & Associates U.S. Orginal Source:

Used Car Prices Continue to Drop

This acute decline can be attributed to the substantial rental fleet exposure and the fact that rental companies remarket large quantities of similarly equipped units at auction over a compressed period of time. Prices for luxury cars and compact cars also experienced declines slightly higher than the market average, falling by 3.8 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. Large pickups posted another strong showing last month, but October's 2.3 percent decline was slightly more than the 2 percent drop recorded during the same period in 2012, and higher than the previous three-month average of 0.4 percent. On a year-to-date basis, vehicles up to eight years in age carried a mix and seasonally-adjusted average price of $15,066, a figure up slightly from 2012's average of $15,042 and $388 higher than 2011's average of $14,678. "Projecting through December, given the absence of any looming governmental crisis, there is little to suggest that depreciation over the final two months of the year will deviate from seasonal trends," Banks added. "While lower consumer confidence provides concern that consumer demand, and thus used vehicle prices, could take a steeper-than- expected downward turn, we expect that consumer confidence will rebound given the end of the federal government hiatus and October's decent employment report," Banks said. As a result, Nada expects that used prices will fall by an average of about 1.9 percent over the next two months. While higher than 2012's Superstorm Sandy-influenced decline, this year's forecast is just slightly higher than the 1.5 percent decline recorded for the period back in 2011. Trade-in values in November's edition of the Official Nada Used Car Guide were lowered by an average of 2.5 percent, which is the most significant reduction recorded since last November's adjustment of 2.7 percent. Reductions across model years fell within a tightly grouped range of 2.2 percent - 2.8 percent, with least-to-greatest figures corresponding to the 2009 and 2012 model years, respectively. Orginal Source:

Used Car Face Off: The Sports Coupe Edition

A better economy means more sales of new cars, and rising prices. Smart buyers look to the used lots. NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- With the economy inching forward, the new car market gathers strength and buying a vehicle gets more expensive. According to an look at October, new vehicle sales are up 10% on a year-to-year basis, with American auto giants Ford ( F ) and General Motors ( GM ) garnering 35% of the global auto sales market (16% and 19% of the total market for October, respectively). But some auto buyers are seeing lower prices and wider options -- by focusing on used vehicles. Also see: How to Get As Much As 15% Off the Price of a Used Car>> Used cars are selling at their lowest prices since 2009 , says. The average used car price in the third quarter of 2013 clocked in at $15,617, the lowest since the third quarter of 2009, when prices stood at $14,808. Prices have really slid since 2011, Edmunds points out, when used cars and trucks sold, on average, at $16,473. It's a matter of inventory. With more interest in new cars as the economy improves, that leaves more used vehicles idling at dealerships and lower sticker prices as dealers cut prices. Orginal Source: