While it doesn’t happen all the time, it isn’t uncommon to come across what dealerships call a “demo” car. All this means is that the car was used for test drives and has probably been driven by a few employees here and there. Any vehicle within 2,000 to 6,000 miles on the lot counts.
Demo cars are not considered used, though, since they were never bought. That also means they qualify for any special incentives, like financing or rebates, the dealership offers. Plus, they’re priced cheaper than their counterparts with zero on the odometer. So, should you buy a demo car? Here’s everything you need to know.
While a demo car comes with the original manufacturer warranty, there’s a catch. That warranty starts at zero miles, not the mileage you buy the car at. If you demo unit already has 6,000 miles put into it, then there’s only 30,000 left on a three-year/36,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty.
As for the three-year part of that warranty, the dealership may have already listed the car as in service. If that’s the case, part of your coverage is also gone in that regard. Even if you rarely drive, keep in mind that your warranty can be the difference between free service and an astronomical repair bill.
Make sure to consider the mileage and ask about when exactly the car was put into service to ensure you’re getting the most out of your warranty. Just like an attorney helps when you’ve been injured in a car accident, your warranty is there to fix your car up when things go wrong.
Wear and Tear
When a demo car has sat at a dealership for show and primarily been test-driven, there’s not much to worry about here. However, some dealers loan demos out to their service customers. If that’s the case, the car might have been driven by dozens if not hundreds of people, even if each one was for a very short time.
All of those different drivers, each driving slightly differently, can put a lot of wear and tear on the car. Make sure to ask about how many people have driven the demo car and what it was used for before making a decision, otherwise you’ll need the help of these lemon law attorneys at Conn Law when things go awry.
The Price Tag
Demo cars are priced lower than their non-demo identicals, which means a demo Kia Rio is going to be less than a regular one and so forth. While the cheaper price is appealing, keep in mind that it might not be fair.
Since the car has been driven in the past, you’ll want to make sure that the cost meets the usage. Generally speaking, you should receive between 25 and 40 cents off per mile driven. If the car has 5,000 miles, for instance, that’s saving you between $1,250 and $2,000.
Don’t be afraid to go for higher saving, either. If the car has been extensively used, don’t let the seller talk you into an unfair price. More use means bigger savings for you and remember, the dealer legally has to disclose the full usage of any demo car when you ask.