Does your company lease cars for its salespeople or executives? Even if you don’t get to use one of these cars, you might be able to buy one.

Before you go to the used car lot, it might be worthwhile to stop off in your human resources department since leased cars typically fall under employee benefits. Your human resources manager will know if the company can help you get a great deal.

For many consumers, new cars seem like a safer bet than used cars. After all, how do you know that a used car is really as good as the dealer says it is?

“Outside looks good. Under the hood looks great too. But all the structural members have been replaced on this vehicle and because of this it compromises the integrity of the vehicle,” says John Stokes, Carmax.

If you’ve been shopping at used car dealers, try shopping in your own company’s parking lot. If your company leases cars for some of its employees, your company may be willing to sell that car to you when the lease is up.

“They can’t get a better value in the marketplace, if that car goes to auction, comes back, a dealer buys it and puts it on his lot, it’s going to be $2,000 or $3,000 more and in some cases, $5,000 or $6,000 more,” says Bryan Calloway, Leaseplan.

“I saved $3,000 to $4,000,” says Tony Blezien, corporate used car buyer.

Leaseplan manages the corporate fleets for more than half the companies in the fortune 500. Buy one of their cars and you get a laundry list of all the maintenance and service the car has had since leaving the factory.

“That was excellent. The vehicle maintenance history that we received prior to purchasing the vehicle was great. I was able to tell that the maintenance was kept up on the vehicle,” Blezien says.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own research as well, especially if you’re looking for a deal.

Buying a used car means you get a whole lot more car for the money. This 2003 discovery sells for just under $26,000, but that’s a full 33 percent off it’s original list price.

Which you won’t know if you don’t shop around ahead of time. But more important than price, you want to buy a quality car that meets your needs.

“We get customers who come in who bought a car from somewhere else a month ago or two months ago and it really ends up being the wrong car for them,” Stokes says.

So, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you ask yourself some questions about how you’re going to use the car, who will ride in the car and how long you plan to keep it. Then consider buying an extended warranty from a reputable company to protect your investment.

RESOURCES (Use the car’s VIN number to purchase the maintenance history of the vehicle.) National Automobile Dealers Association

Questions you should ask before you buy a used car:

What is the history of the car? Check it out at or
Does the car have a history of transmission problems?
How does the car do on crash tests?
How are you going to use the car? Is it a commuter car? Does it go to the local train station or long distances?
How does the car fit you and your family physically? Do you have a big family and need a big car?
What kind of gas mileage does the car get?
What kind of warranty comes with the car? How much will it cost to get an extended warranty?
How long will you keep the car?

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