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Hurricane Sandy could impact national used car prices

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 4:54:09 PM

Hurricane Sandy had a significant impact on the Northeast, including national used car prices.

In the wake of the storm, used car prices across the country are expected to appreciated between $200 and $1,000, according to a report from USA Today. Hurricane Sandy destroyed between 100,000 and 250,000 vehicles, and many former owners are purchasing cheaper alternatives to replace them.

"It's definitely going to raise used car demand," Tom Kontos, executive vice president for Adesa Analytical Services, told the newspaper. "It's going to keep prices higher than it otherwise would be."

Despite the expected increase, many experts feel consumers may not notice. Used car prices have already been on the rise so far this year. In fact, the average price for a used vehicle in October was $9,742, marking a 1.4 percent increase from a year earlier.

Used car prices often soften during the fall and winter months, but with the effects of Hurricane Sandy thrown into the mix, this may not occur this year.  

Buying used is different from buying new
Consumers who aren't turned off by rising used car prices and are still in the market for a vehicle, should keep a few factors in mind when shopping around.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the first step is to figure out how much car you can afford. This includes costs in addition to the price tag and auto financing. You will also need to incorporate the cost of insurance, gasoline and maintenance.  

In addition, because the vehicle may come in less-than-perfect condition, you will need to thoroughly inspect it. But don't limit this inspection to your own knowledge. You should also bring the vehicle to a mechanic who specializes in used car inspections.

Further, try to use a mechanic of your choice rather than one recommended by the dealer. This is especially important if you buy the car directly from the owners, rather than through a reputable dealership.

The final step of buying a used car is checking the vehicle history. Rather than examining the document provided, you may want to order one on your own to make sure you are getting the wool pulled over your eyes.

Although rare, there's always the off chance that the document provided by the seller isn't entirely accurate. With a wave of water-damaged vehicles from Hurricane Sandy flooding the market, this may be even more important, especially if you live in the Northeast.ADNFCR-16001052-ID-800906287-ADNFCR