Now is a good time to shop for a used car: The marketplace is flush with such vehicles. Why? Leasing has reached an all-time high since the Great Recession, and those cars are now becoming available for sale, says Ivan Drury, an analyst with Edmunds.com, a vehicle-information website. The average price of a used compact car that is three years old or newer was $14,394 earlier this year, or $513 less than a year before. This is good news for those ages 55 through 64, who buy more cars than any other age group. The most plentiful used cars—and where you'll find the best deals—are subcompact, compact and midsize autos, Drury says.
3 Ways to Save
1. Drive Cheap
An abundance of pre-owned vehicles on the market has dropped prices for buyers.
2016 Used Car Prices:
- Subcompact: $13,048 (5.8% drop)
- Compact: $14,394 (3.4% drop)
- Midsize: $17,028 (1.2% drop)
- Midrange Luxury: $37,681 (4.4% drop)
2. Drive Safe
Even one moving violation can increase auto insurance premiums for years. Premiums can jump 334 percent for a DUI in North Carolina and 99 percent for speeding more than 30 miles over the limit in Illinois, notes the website InsuranceQuotes. Try to avoid a rate hike by asking your insurer for forgiveness; taking a driving class, such as AARP's Smart Driver course; or plea bargaining to a lesser offense.
See also: Ways to save on car costs
3. Drive an RV?
A dollar doesn't go far but can take you hundreds of miles if you vacation in a recreational vehicle. Some rental companies lease RVs for as little as $1 daily—instead of the usual $150 or more. Dirt cheap "relocation deals" are available when companies need drivers to move RVs from one rental location with lots of vehicles to another site without enough. Sometimes companies throw in free gas. Look for deals at imoova.com, Jucy RV Rentals and Apollo. Terms vary, so read the fine print.