What Are The Best Used Car Dealers in Seattle?

A pretty general preconceived notion of used car dealerships is that they are all shady to some degree. When you think of a used car salesperson you immediately think of a guy dressed in a tattered leisure suit with a bad toupee and a greasy smile. You can almost feel the slime on his hands. Fortunately, that is an entirely wrong notion in most cases. We know this not just from industry experience. We recently reviewed the consumer feedback for an array of Seattle-area dealers, in order to determine which dealers are truly the best. To help you with your search for your next car, here is our list of three highly rated dealerships based on customer reviews.

Honda of Seattle
Downtown, Denny Triangle
1015 Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 382-8800

University Mazda
University District
4522 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 634-1191

Toyota of Seattle
Denny Triangle
2121 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 382-4300

Best Seattle-Area Car-Buying Services

If you are not the car-savvy type, there are several services that can help you find the right car. Two that have been most favorably reviewed are:

Buyer’s Advantage
Seward Park
5100 S Dawson St
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 725-5222

Amazing Auto Woman
1414 NW Leary Way
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 909-2476

If you do not use a service, be sure to have the car you are considering looked at by an independent mechanic. Paying to have the car looked over professionally can save you thousands on major repairs. Additionally, you may want to consider buying a certified pre-owned vehicle (CPO). These cars go through 100+ point inspections, and often have warranties you wouldn’t get from a non-certified vehicle. Of course, if you are planning to finance your vehicle, you may consider working with us. Go here to learn more about our services in Seattle and beyond.

Which Cars Hold Their Value Worst?

The cars that lose the most value cover a wide spectrum of cost levels and categories. Some are luxury models, while others are entry level sedans. After I list the cars with the worst depreciation rates, I will throw in the biggest losers in the truck and SUV categories as well.

Average Car Depreciation

In order to see the staggering depreciation of some of these cars, you need to have an idea of average depreciation rates. Normally, new vehicles lose around 20% of their value in the first year, and then 10-15% in each following year. This leads to the following:

Vehicle Age Value Lost
1 Day 10-15%
1 Year 20-25%
2 Years 30-35%
3 Years 40-45%
4 Years 50%
5 years 60%

Of course, a car depreciating 60% in the first five years of ownership, meaning it’s worth just 40% of its new price, seems staggering in and of itself. But that’s just the average. The worst cars for depreciation lose signficantly more!

Biggest Losers:  Cars

  • Volvo S80…this luxury sedan loses an amazing 82 percent of its value in five years.
  • Lincoln MKS…pulling in a close second, the MKS will lose 78 percent of its value after five years.
  • Chrysler 200…the convertible of this model loses 77 percent of its value at the five year mark.
  • Chevrolet Impala…tired and worn out looking, the Impala loses 75 percent of its value after five years.

Biggest Losers:  Trucks and SUVs

The Nissan Titan is the biggest loser in the truck category. After five years it will lose 70 percent of its value. The Titan is still a sturdy truck to buy if you can be satisfied with a used one. If you are a little skittish of buying a five year old truck, consider a three year-old certified used model.

The SUV category has an amazing number of big losers; however, the Ford Expedition is more of a loser than any other vehicle in the class. It will have lost 70 percent of its value at the five mark. The Jeep Compass and GMC Yukon XL tie at 67 percent.

What We Can Learn from These Top “Depreciators”

These staggering rates of depreciation should make you think twice before buying a new car straight off the lot. As you can see, the biggest drops in value come right away. For this reason, a used car of around three years old may be a good option, as someone else has already had to “pay for” those painful first years of depreciation. Whether you pay cash or finance, loss of value costs you. With a car, it’s almost inescapable, as all cars save classics are depreciating assets. But it pays to minimize your depreciation costs as much as possible, and that means buying pre-owned.

How to Build Enough Credit to Buy a Car?

Building Credit for a Car Loan
Want this to be you? Read on!

You may have had the most wonderful parents in the world. They may have attended to your every need, but many of those same parents seem to miss the mark on preparing their children for the financial world that they will be entering. Today’s generation overcomes that lack of information by turning to the internet where they can find more advice than anyone should be subjected to. So, I thought I would throw my two cents worth out there, just to add to the information overload.

One of the first things that a person learns is that there are many things denied to them because they lack credit. Some things that they do have access to come with a higher deposit or interest rate for the same reason. Car loans are one of the big things that fall into this category. Without credit, they can be very hard to secure–at least sans co-signer–and even if you do secure one, the APR is bound to be exorbitant.

Building a credit score, even if you plan to use very little credit, is essential on many fronts. Unfortunately, credit is a double edged sword that can easily cut you off at the knees if you are not very careful. One of the aspects where you will find a plethora of advice, most if it worthless, is on how to build your initial credit profile. Here is my take on the best way to do that.

Start With Cash

Sounds a little odd that you need cash to build a credit profile, but hear me out. A credit card is the easiest way to establish a credit profile. There are plenty of companies willing to offer a credit card to someone without a credit history. They will start with a low limit, which is good for a credit beginner, but they come with an extremely high APR that may never go down. Here is where the cash comes into play. Secured credit cards. The credit limit of a secured card is set by the amount of money that you deposit into a savings account with the issuer. This allows you to still have a lower limit and manage your APR to some extent. The APR on these cards is usually lower than some other cards. Additionally, if you do some research, you can find an issuer who will pay interest on your deposit. That will help offset any interest you pay on a balance. While doing that research check for the annual fees associated with the card and opt for the lowest fees and APR.

Manage Your Credit

Just having a credit card will establish a credit history, but that is only the beginning. Once you have the card keep in mind that carrying a balance is not in your best interest. Yes, having to pay interest on the money is a negative, but it is the least of your worries. The Fair Issac Corporation, better known as FICO, builds your credit score on five facets. One of those facets is amounts owed. It accounts for thirty percent of your score. That is pretty significant if this is your first and only line of credit. How is that relevant? Well, your score gets a boost if you carry a balance that is less than 30 percent of your credit limit. On the other hand if that balance exceeds thirty percent your score suffers and yes, it can go below your default starting point on a brand new credit profile. Quite a bit below, actually. With a starting credit limit of $500, you would have to keep your balance under $140 or you would lose points.


Another aspect of your FICO score is the types of credit used. This accounts for ten percent of your score. That means you will need to have a revolving credit account (credit card) and an installment account (car loan typically) in order to boost your score as high as possible. Typically, a credit card has to come first. After making 6-12 on-time payments on your credit card, you should find yourself eligible for a car loan at a reasonable interest rate.

Be Responsible

Thirty-five percent of your credit score is built on your payment history. That means making every payment on time…literally for the rest of your life. A single payment that is thirty days late can drop your credit score by as much as 100 points. After you lose those points it will take at least a full year to get them back.

That doesn’t just apply to your credit card and loans. That applies to all of your bills. Your utility company, cable company, cell provider, etc, usually do not report positive information to the major credit reporting agencies, but if you miss a payment guess who they will be in touch with.

Building a credit score can be tedious and slow. It can be risky and annoying, but it is worth it in the long run, especially if financing a car is one of your future goals.