6 Tips for Buying a Used Electric Vehicle

February 7, 2023


With today’s high gas prices and the hassle of needing to go out of your way to find a gas station whenever your tank runs low, it can be incredibly annoying to drive a car that runs on fuel. Not to mention the growing awareness of the environmental harm that vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel have on the environment.

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If you are looking to shift to an electric vehicle, but are wary of the high price point — there’s no need to fear. By simply investing in a used electric vehicle, you can enjoy all the benefits of owning an electric vehicle without the expensive upfront costs. Before browsing used car sites and car dealerships near you, there are a few things you should be aware of when buying this type of vehicle.

Check the Car Battery’s Heath

Before purchasing an electric car, it’s important to understand charging rates and battery information. It’s best to know what typical charge times and distances are, and to consider whether fast-charging capabilities are important to you.

“The battery is the most expensive component of an electric vehicle, so it’s important to make sure it’s in good condition before you buy,” said Matthew Robbs, founder of Smart Saving Advice, a website designed to help people make smart financial decisions. “You can check the battery’s capacity, which should be around 80%-90% for a used EV in good condition. You should also check if the battery is under warranty, as this can provide some peace of mind.”

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Prepare For Cheaper Maintenance Costs

A major benefit of switching to an electric vehicle is that these vehicles require less maintenance than fuel-run cars, so car owners get to save at the repair shop as well as at the pump.

“People who purchase pure electric vehicles may pay an initial cost higher than that of a gas-powered vehicle,” said Zek Simmons, ASE Certified Auto Technician with Carvana. “You are paying more money for improved technology, after all. The good news is that it is a technology that will last for a much longer lifespan than a regular car. The average lifetime cost for vehicle repairs is around $9,200 for any regular car. However, vehicles that run on electricity have an average of $4,600 total in lifetime repairs and maintenance.”

EV Tax Credits

There are also financial benefits to switching to an electric vehicle. Some states are offering EV tax credits to electric vehicle owners that will allow them to get nonrefundable tax credits of up to $7,500 as long as the vehicle meets specific battery qualifications.

“States are offering the public incentives to invest in an electric vehicle by offering EV tax credits,” Simmons said. “It’s a credit that rewards those who are environmentally conscientious, and you can apply for one if you meet the criteria. These are special credits that will cover the cost of your vehicle’s sales tax so that you’ll owe nothing.”

Check the Vehicle’s History

Before investing in a used vehicle, be sure to check out the car’s maintenance and repair history. A vehicle’s history can raise red flags if it appears to have potential issues and inform you of how well taken care of the car was.

“Just like a traditional gasoline vehicle, it’s important to check the vehicle’s history for accidents, repairs and maintenance,” Robbs said. “A vehicle with a clean history is typically a better investment than one with a lot of repairs or accidents.”

Ask Questions

It might be overwhelming to know the questions that are best to ask if you’ve never owned an electric vehicle before. Thankfully, there are used electric vehicle experts who can help direct us to the best queries to bring up when shopping for your new car.

“Find out what the typical mileage was between charges and how frequently the car was maintained. Ask what services were done on the vehicle in its maintenance history and pay special attention to major fixes. You can also ask if an older electric vehicle still holds a charge for the same (or close to the same) mileage that it did when it was new.”

Be Aware of the Vehicle’s Range

Be sure to consider the range of the vehicle when shopping for a used electric car. It’s important to find a car that meets your daily driving needs and will make your life easier — rather than more difficult.

“Electric vehicles have a limited range, so it’s important to make sure the vehicle you’re considering can meet your daily driving needs,” Robbs said. “You can check the vehicle’s official range or look at real-world reports from other drivers to get a better sense of the range.”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 6 Tips for Buying a Used Electric Vehicle

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