Infiniti cars are premium vehicles with premium price tags. The luxury arm of Nissan is capable of many things, but doing things on the cheap isn't one of them. If you dream of sliding behind the wheel of a Q50 or G35 Infiniti, you'd better have a big credit card limit. 'Entry-level' premium cars they may be, but they're still going to leave you with a serious dent in your wallet. But don't give up on your dream just yet. While you're never going to be able to escape the fact that Infiniti cars are significant investments, there's a way of shaving several thousand off the usual price. Going the pre-owned route isn't going to get you a car with that brand new leather smell, but it will get you a car you can actually afford. Unfortunately, the used car market can be risky territory for new buyers. If you're not careful, you'll end up with a very big hole in your bank account but precious little to show for it. Before you end up losing your life savings on a lemon, here's everything you need to know about buying a used Infiniti.
Figure Out Your Financing
Shopping for a used car can be exciting. So exciting, in fact, that most prospective buyers leave the boring business of sorting out financing to last. But as U.S. News and World Report highlights, that's a mistake. If you intend on taking out a car loan to pay for your car, get pre-approved for an auto loan first. Even though choosing to buy a used Infiniti rather than a new one will shave several thousand off your bill, it's still a major expense. Unless you want to spend the next few years shelling out way more than you need to, getting the right deal on an auto loan is imperative. As with most areas of life, knowledge is power when it comes to financing. Before you do anything else, apply for your credit score so you can get a good idea of what kind of interest rate and loan term to expect. Once that's done, start researching lenders. Understanding the differences between national banks, credit unions, community banks, and other financiers is key to choosing the right deal for your needs. Once you've applied, compare the different offers before deciding on the best one for your needs. If you have a pre-approved financing deal in place before you step foot inside the dealership, you'll be able to keep your focus firmly on the important matter of choosing the right vehicle at the right price. If you don't, you risk losing sight of the end goal by getting overly caught up in the confusion of figuring out the vehicle price, the financing, and any trade-in you're selling at the same time.
Select a Model
Infiniti has been around for a fair few decades at this point. Although their current range may be limited to a handful of models, buying a pre-owned car means you can take your pick of their entire back catalog. As per Wikipedia, this means you can select from:
- Infiniti Q50 (Q50 2.0t Pure, 2.0t Luxe, 3.0t Luxe, 3.0t Sport, Red Sport 400, Hybrid)
- Infiniti Q60 (Q60 2.0t Pure, 2.0t Luxe, 3.0t Luxe, 3.0t Sport, Red Sport 400)
- Infiniti QX50
- Infiniti QX55
- Infiniti QX60 (QX60 Pure, Luxe, Signature Edition)
- Infiniti QX80 (QX80 Luxe, Premium Select, Sensory, Limited)
- Infiniti M30 (coupe and convertible) and M35/M45 (sedan)
- Infiniti Q30
- Infiniti QX30 (Base, Luxury, Premium, and Sport)
- Infiniti QX4 (SUV)
- Infiniti J30 (sedan)
- Infiniti I30 and I35 (sedan)
- Infiniti Q40 (G25, G35/G35x AWD variations, all sedans)
- Infiniti Q45 (sedan)
- Infiniti Q70 (M25, M30d, M35h, M37/M37x AWD and M56/M56x AWD variations, all sedans)
- Infiniti QX70 (3.7, 3.7 AWD, 5.0 AWD)
- Infiniti ESQ
Having that number of options to play with can be overwhelming. Take your time and research each one to figure out exactly which one suits your needs the best. Consider your family situation, what kind of storage space you'll need, and how you'll be using the car. You might have your heart set on a convertible, but it's not necessarily going to be the best choice if you have four kids and a dog to taxi around every day. Similarly, you might not need that SUV you've been contemplating if the closest you get to off-roading is your local Walmart parking lot. Finance is also an important consideration. After all, there's no point in landing your dream car if you can't afford to fill it with gas. Being practical about your needs and your budget might seem boring now, but it'll save you a heap of trouble down the line.
Research the Average Market Value
If you know exactly what Infiniti model you want, don't set foot in a dealership before you've got a good understanding of its average market value. Sites like Kelley Blue Book will give you an indication of what other buyers are paying for the same model elsewhere. Use the knowledge to your advantage. If a dealership is advertising a car at a price that's well in excess of the average value, use your research to negotiate on the price. If they aren't willing to entertain any offers, walk - regardless of how much you love a car, paying over the market value for a used car is a fool's errand. Similarly, use the information to sniff out any problems - if a dealer seems keen to sell you a car for significantly less than the average price, ask yourself why.
Browse the Local Used Car Market
As DMV notes, when it comes to being a pre-owned vehicle, you’ve got two options: you can buy from a dealership or you can buy from a private seller. Each option has its upsides and downsides. However, dealerships are generally more experienced in the art of negotiation, which can impact the final sale price. Start your search by browsing individual postings online and the websites of your local dealerships. Check as many as possible: the more extensive your search and the wider you cast your net, the higher the probability of catching a great deal.
Consider a Certifed Pre Owned Vehicle
Buying a used car can be a risky business. Regardless of how friendly and amicable the seller seems, there's always a chance they're going to hand you the keys to a lemon. Obviously, not all sellers are trying to pull a fast one, but working out which ones are and which ones aren't can be mind-boggling. Fortunately, there's a way to avoid the problem. Like many car manufacturers these days, Infiniti has ventured into the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) market. Only authorized dealerships are eligible to join the program, and only vehicles that have passed a vigorous,167 point inspection are eligible to be advertised as a CPO. In addition, all CPOs will need to have a clean title history and CARFAX Vehicle History Report. They'll also need to have less than six years from the original in-service date and under 70,000 miles. Not only does going the CPO route substantially reduce your risk of winding up with a dud, but it also comes with a host of very attractive benefits. As per the official Infinity website, some of the perks you can expect to enjoy as a CPO owner include:
- Up to 6 years unlimited mileage warranty
- Comprehensive, 167-point Inspection
- Available INFINITI EliteTM Extended Protection Program
- Complimentary First Year Basic Maintenance
- CARFAX 3-year Buy Back Guarantee
- CARFAX Vehicle History ReportTM
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Free 3-month Trial Subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio
- Complimentary Service Courtesy Vehicle
Ask to See the Service History
If the car you're interested in has been involved in an accident, has been flooded, has had any recalls issued against it, or has received any major repair work, you need to know about it. Unfortunately, you can't always rely on the seller to tell you these things. The good news is, you don't have. The service history won't tell you absolutely everything about a car, but it'll give you a good indication of its past. Always ask to see the service history documentation: once you have it, check it thoroughly for any glaring red flags. As cardr.com notes, if the seller doesn't have the history report ready to view, you can buy and download it online or ask an inspection company to provide it.
Check the Mileage
Ultimately, a used car is always going to have miles on the clock. But if it's got too many, you might want to think twice about investing. If you do proceed, use those miles to your advantage. As a good rule of thumb, 13,000 miles is the average amount most people drive each year. If the car you're looking at has clocked up more than that, check whether its asking price is already lower than its lower mileage counterparts. If it's not, think carefully about pushing ahead with a deal if the seller isn't willing to offer a discount.
Complete a Preliminary Inspection
Once you've found a vehicle you like the look off, arrange to see it in person. Even if you don't have a background in mechanics, a preliminary inspection will give you a good indication of the car's condition. It's also the perfect opportunity to check the seller out - emails are great for getting basic information, but there's nothing like looking someone in the eye to know what they're about. If something seems 'off' about the seller, trust your gut. Although most sellers are legit, there are enough shady ones out there to warrant caution.
While you're inspecting the car, check all the usual trouble spots for signs of rust or corrosion. If you notice any marks or dings, take a note of them. As autosimple.com notes, superficial damage can usually be rectified easily and cheaply enough, but any defects, no matter how minor, should be treated as a bargaining tool. Once you completed your inspection of the exterior, take a look inside. Some minor wear and tear is to be expected, but take any large stains, tears, and broken parts as a warning. Equally, if it stinks to high heaven or seems excessively dirty, you might want to question just well the car's been maintained.
Take It For A Drive
A test drive is one of the most crucial steps in the process. Even if a car looks great on paper, it's not worth the investment if it doesn't offer the driving experience you want. Book a long enough test drive to give you a real taste of what the car is like. A quick drive around the block won't cut it. And remember, the aim here is to test the car's full potential: if it's an offroader, take it off-road; if it's a convertible (and if the weather is permitting), drive with the top down.
As you're driving, take note of everything. Test everything. If there's a control, use it. If there's a sound system, dial the volume to the max. By the time you get out of the car, you want to know everything and anything there is to know about it. Pay as much attention to the comfort as to the function. If you feel cramped or confined during a half-hour test drive, think about how uncomfortable you're going to feel if you take it on a road trip. If you find any of the controls hard to use or difficult to reach, consider how big an impact that's going to make on your everyday driving experience. Ultimately, Infiniti offers a huge selection of models. If the one you're testing doesn't feel quite right, you're not going to have too many problems in finding one that does. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make any compromises at all, but it does mean you don't have to make ones you're not comfortable with.
Get Some Advice
Regardless of whether you're buying new or used, an Infinity is a big investment. Don't risk making an expensive mistake by taking shortcuts. Even if you're happy with the condition of the car based on your own inspection, it's worth getting a second opinion. A pre-purchase inspection with a qualified mechanic will cost you around $100 in initial outlay, but could save you thousands in expensive repairs down the line. During the inspection, the mechanic will note any issues with the engine and other major components. If any repair needs are identified, they'll give you an indication of likely costs.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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