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Buying a car | 05.06.2014 - 15:46

The Ins and Outs of Buying a Demo Car

A demo car can be a good bargain, but as with any vehicle purchase, familiarise yourself with what to bear in mind to make sure you get a deal you’re happy with.

As you know, choosing to rather buy a second car than a brand new car will save you a lot of money. You can get a car that’s still in pretty good condition, at a nicely discounted price. What you might not have considered before is that you can also go the route of buying a demo car. A demo car is a vehicle that’s been used for some kind of purpose by a dealership before being sold.


A demo car can be a good bargain, but as with any vehicle purchase, familiarise yourself with what to bear in mind to make sure you get a deal you’re happy with.


A demo car is not a new car


A car is considered a new car until it has been titled or registered, and for that reason a demo car is generally still considered a new car. However, this is a technicality, and being practically a new car doesn’t make it new. You still need to go about the sale as if you were shopping for a second hand car, which means being a bit more prudent in checking out the specific vehicle’s condition.


Scrutinise the vehicle’s history


Check out the mileage. While some demo cars for sale will have accrued minimal mileage, others might have been used more extensively. Also make sure you know what purpose the demo car was used for. It might be the case that it only sat on a show room floor, but there’s also a chance it was used for more taxing purposes. For example, if it had been used on a racetrack for a high-performance driving school there will be more wear and tear. And as is the case with any pre-owned vehicle, make sure you’re aware of any prior repairs.


Check the warranty


Ask for proof of the in-service date, because this is when the warranty begins. This is usually the date you purchase a car, and the number of months your warranty lasts for would begin from here.


However, unless the dealer extends the car's warranty, the in-service date could be earlier if the dealership used the car as a demo. This means you’d miss out on months of coverage.


Further, consider the mileage. If the car is only under warranty for 36,000 miles, but has already racked up 5,000, in actuality it means the vehicle is only under warranty for 31,000 miles.


If you’re missing out on warranty, this can be used as a negotiating point to bring the asking price down.


How is a demo car valued?


Although the dealer might talk about the demo car as if it were new, it shouldn’t be valued as such; otherwise you might as well buy an actual new car.


However, a demo car isn’t automatically a bargain. How demo cars are valued depend on a variety of things, particularly how much mileage it has on it and what it was used for. Some demo cars will be much cheaper than a new car, and others less so. Compare the car’s condition to other used cars for sale, to see if the price looks fair.


Also compare the demo car’s price to that of a brand new car. If the discount isn’t enough to justify the mileage and wear and tear, then you’re better off buying new. If you are getting a good discount, and the wear and tear isn’t something to be worried about, then congratulations - you may have found a good bargain.

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