How to score a bargain without getting blindsided.
What’s a demo car?
Also called a demonstrator vehicle, this is a car that sales people and executives use at dealerships for personal use or test drives. The can have thousands of miles on them, but are typically in great shape. These are new model cars that usually come with all the bells and whistles from top-range models. And because they aren’t technically “new” — you can save on your purchase.
Where can I find a demo vehicle?
The car dealership is where you should head to find a demo vehicle. Check prices on sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to get an idea of current market prices. These comparisons can give you bargaining power when it comes to negotiating the vehicle price.
Find loans to buy a demo car
Types of demo cars
Before you figure out your finances and run to pick up a demo vehicle, make sure you understand what you’re buying:
- Older models. These are discounted cars that need to be cleared out before new stock arrives. The vehicles usually have less than 5,000 miles and can come with discounts for the light wear and tear.
- Dealer demos. These cars are sometimes used as loaners for customers and they’re usually the newest models to help promote them. These can also be vehicles that were immediately returned by customers or even cars that’ve been canceled customer orders.
- Factory demonstrators. These vehicles are used at promotional or sponsored events and are sent back to the dealership to sell for a bargain price.
Should I buy a demo car?
Demo cars can help you save but it’s not always a great choice. Here’s when you might and might not to buy a demo car:
Consider a demo car if…
- You’d rather have an unregistered car
- You don’t mind a car with mileage
- You’re ready to negotiate
Look elsewhere if…
- You can find a better deal on a used car
- You notice some wear and tear
- The price is the same as an undriven car
7 tips for making your demo car purchase
- Find out how old the car is and how often the car was used. Ask if there is any documentation available to see how the car was used.
- Check if the car was ever registered.
- Ask for a detailed list of what differentiates the new car from the demo version.
- Always negotiate the price of a demo car — you’ll be surprised how much of a discount you could get.
- Get the car inspected by a third-party to feel confident the car is still in top condition.
- Apply for a pre-approved car loan to give yourself a hard budget and more bargaining strength.
How to inspect a demo vehicle
Demo vehicles are relatively new, but some may have been driven off road or have more miles on them. Inspecting the vehicle for any signs of wear and tear is important prior to making your purchase.
- Listen for to the engine for any strange noises.
- Check the quality of the tires.
- Ask if the vehicle has been in any accidents.
- Look for scratches and check the paint quality.
- Check the battery life.
- Check the lights, radio, windscreen wipers and that everything functions properly.
If you’re unsure of what to look for, take the vehicle to a mechanic or bring a friend who is car-savvy.
How much can I save with a demo vehicle?
Discount on each demo car can vary based on its features, what it was used for and how many miles it has. Compare the new vehicle sticker price to see how much you’re saving with the demo vehicle.
Demo cars can be a great option and help you save when purchasing your next vehicle, but they might not be the right choice for everyone, so be sure to look around and compare your options before jumping in the driver’s seat.
Frequently asked questions
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