How to buy a car in Philadelphia

Most Philly shoppers spend almost 100 hours researching online for that perfect car. They talk to friends, read dealership reviews, research the makes/models they want most and Follow their favorite cars on Mojo Motors.

Philly Skylline Night

If you’re beginning to search for a used car in Philly or already in midst of shopping, make sure you keep these steps in mind to ensure you get a great deal and a great car.

Check the price history

The longer a car sits on the lot, the more money a dealership loses. After about 45 days, most dealerships will send that car to auction. If you book an appointment to test drive a car around that 45 day mark, dealerships are more likely to give you a better deal when the time comes to start talking prices. A benefit of signing up for a free Mojo Motors account is you’ll be able to see the price history of every used car so you’ll know your chances of walking away with the car of your dreams at a great price.

Visit dealerships in the morning

Coffee CupMost people go to the dealership on the weekend. And by most people, we mean everyone in metro Philly. This causes a high tension and high stress environment. For the best and easiest car buying experience, go in the morning when the sales team is fresh and you’re not fighting for attention with the rest of Philly. An added benefit of visiting a dealership in the morning is their fresh coffee. Dealers get a bad wrap for having undrinkable coffee, but you might be pleasantly surprised.

Have a mechanic inspect the car you want

Don’t only trust a Carfax or AutoCheck vehicle history report. We’ve already told you why here. What you’re going to want to do is find a mechanic or someone you trust to inspect the car before you buy it, unless the car is CPO. A car that is certified pre-owned (CPO) usually comes with a warranty, is less than five or six years old and has fewer that 60,000 miles. A franchise dealership, you know, one with a automakers name in it like Honda or Chevrolet are the only dealers that can sell CPO vehicles.

Lemon CarUnderstand Philly Lemon Laws

In the City of Philadelphia, buyers “have the opportunity to have the car inspected by a licensed mechanic within 72 hours of purchase. If a major structural defect is found, the consumer has the right to return the car for repair or a full refund.” While there is no Pennsylvania lemon law for used cars, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act can be interpreted to protect used car shoppers.

Buy in the middle or end of the month

Every month, a dealership has to sell a certain amount of cars. Your business at the end of the month might help them reach their sales goals. If you can’t wait until the end of the month, hopefully you’re buying around the middle of month. By mid month, managers have determined whether their falling behind or meeting expectations. Dealers love kicking off the middle of the month with a couple of sales to reignite the store.

Don’t take a test drive on I-95

Especially between Rt.90/Betsy Ross Bridge and Aramingo Avenue. According to National Traffic Scorecard, I-95 is not only one of the worst places places to drive in Philly during rush hour, but it’s one of the top 15 for the entire country!

Other Resources:

The DOs and DON’Ts of buying a used car

How to car shop using Mojo Motors

Best days of the week to buy a used car


Written by Max Katsarelas

Sources: Slate, NBC Philly, Southeast Texas Record