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Love the Earth and Your Wallet: Buy a Used Hybrid Vehicle

Many people want to purchase a vehicle that’s friendly to the environment, but they need to keep an eye on their bank account, too. A good option for these eco- and budget-minded consumers is to buy a used hybrid vehicle. Hybrids combine the benefits of a gas-powered engine with the environmental friendliness of an electric motor, and buying used gives people the added bonus of a lower price tag.

Man collecting new car from salesman on lot

You may qualify for a hefty income tax credit (maxing out at $3,400) when you buy a hybrid. According to bankrate.com, that depends on the manufacturer’s production levels in the U.S. Outside of that, shopping for a used hybrid is similar to shopping for a standard used car.

If you’re in the market for an ecofriendly used vehicle, there are plenty of used cars that fit the bill. Here are some things to consider as you look around:

It’s About Time

The relative longevity of hybrid technology is reassuring. Ford and Toyota have hybrid vehicles with mileage over the 100,000-mile mark without the battery system failing, bankrate.com reported. Plus, all new hybrids come with a battery pack that’s covered by an (on average) eight-year, 80,000-mile warranty. Norm Olson, operations manager of the Toyota Certified Used Vehicle program in Torrance, Calif., told bankrate.com that this warranty stays with the vehicle and is transferable between owners.

Keep in Mind…

  • When shopping for a used hybrid, consumers should look over any and all available maintenance paperwork for the car. Because the maintenance requirements for a hybrid engine are more stringent than a gas-only engine, this is vital.
  • Edmunds.com has a checklist of things to remember when buying a used car in general. First, they suggest choosing a vehicle by making sure it suits the buyer’s needs. Consumer should consider all cars in the chosen class, and then create a target list of three cars. Edmunds.com also has reliability and consumer reviews and a True Cost to Own guide.
  • Of course, financing will have to be worked out, so details will depend on whether the buyer goes through the dealer, a bank, a credit union or other source. Whatever the means, the buyer should keep in mind what he or she can afford as a down payment and subsequent monthly payments.
  • A test drive also is crucial. Things like how it accelerates from a stop, braking, how it takes corners and its hill-climbing power should be checked out in a hybrid (as well as a regular vehicle). Also, a car should be taken to a mechanic unless it’s a certified pre-owned car backed up by a certified pre-owned warranty.

By following these suggestions, buying a good used hybrid car that packs a punch can be a great way to get around town and reduce a consumer’s carbon footprint at the same time.

The author of this article, James Rivera, as an environmentalist and freelance writer, enjoys covering car innovations that support sustainability.

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