Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red and a silver 2018 Chevy Camaro are parked on a race track at sunset.

Shopping Tips for Buying a Used Performance Car

Just as with any used vehicle, your search for a used performance car starts with the words “used car dealerships near me.” From there, you’ll hopefully follow the usual routine of taking a test drive, bringing the car in for a manual inspection, and running a vehicle’s history report. You’ll also need to narrow down your search to find the car you really want. Luckily there are many options out there for you to choose from nowadays, with many turbocharged engines with more power than ever for a reasonable price.

Especially in the performance car market, you’ll find that there are many more cars that offer serious performance. If you are looking for a used car, you are likely to find an excellent deal on an exciting sports-minded vehicle. Sure, we’d all like to own a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but the cost of ownership can be prohibitive for some of these foreign supercars. Even if you can afford to buy one, it’s exciting to know that many domestic options provide similar performance numbers, relative to the price, that will satisfy just about any sports car enthusiast’s need for speed.

What Makes a Performance Vehicle Unique?

A blue 2017 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport is driving past a pond after leaving a used car dealership near me.

But what makes shopping for a performance car different from an SUV or sedan? While there aren’t too many differences in shopping for a sports car versus a regular sedan, the main difference lies in how they are typically used. You might find that there is more wear on a sports car than a car that is only used to take the kids to school or commute to work. Though, of course, that is not always true, as some sports cars are not driven as much as regular cars, so there might, in fact, be less wear and tear on a sports car. But it is something to keep in mind when inspecting the car.

Generally, however, you’ll find that sports car owners take better care of their vehicles because they have the know-how to keep up on maintenance and repairs, and also understand how they are built. You might find that even if they took the car to racetracks or other competitive events, the car is in incredible condition. But being aware of the potential for costly repairs is always a concern when buying a used car and should be no different from a sports car. Sports cars can feature specialized parts too, so be sure to check these parts as they can be more expensive to replace.

What to Check When Buying a Performance Vehicle

To look for signs that the car has been used heavily on the racetrack, check for unusual wear on the tires, suspension wear, and modifications, such as track-ready features, lightweight wheels, and slick tires, or a rear wing. Some of these modifications can sacrifice the longevity of the car, so consult an expert on their long-term impact and if they will affect the car’s reliability. For instance, more power may put too much stress on the engine, and handling improvements can impact suspension and cause problems in the future.

It’s also essential to take the car to a certified dealer for inspection. For instance, if you are looking at buying a Chevy Camaro, you will want to take the Camaro to a Chevy dealership. Chevy mechanics will have a better idea of what to look for when they perform the inspection. They will be more likely to find mechanical issues if they work on the car regularly and will be quick to spot modifications. They will also see signs of past accidents more easily, as well as signs of previous track use.

Pre-Owned Chevy Camaro

Some of the performance cars you can find an incredible deal on are surprisingly often on dealer lots. Nowadays, the engines offered by car manufacturers come straight out of the factory with lots of power and the performance features to match. An excellent example of this is the Chevy Camaro. With the Camaro, you can find a good deal on a high-performing car without having to worry so much about modifications, especially if you are looking at a Chevy dealer.

The recent generation of the Chevy Camaro began with the 2016 model year, so there are lots of deals out there on the used car market. You might be able to find a 2015 Camaro, for instance, for a discount due to it being the last model year of the fifth-generation Camaro. While you might not find the most up-to-date technology, you will find plenty of useful tech, and what really matters when looking for a sports car—that it goes really fast, and now can be bought at a lower price than the next model year. If you’re looking for a Camaro that is as thrilling to drive as it is to show your friends, the 2015 Chevy Camaro coupe or convertible could be the perfect car for you. Even the base model looks lean and mean.

But the benefit of looking for a used car is that you often do not have to settle for the base model. You can shop around for the options you want to be included. Generally, you’ll end up finding more options than what you initially had on your list, so being open to the many features is important. For example, maybe you don’t want the big V8, necessarily, but you find one loaded at a good price that includes the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque. While this might have more power than you were after, it just dropped into your price range, so now you’ll need to make a decision—and this is part of the fun of shopping for a used sports car.

A black 2017 Chevy Camaro SS is parked in front of the ocean and islands.

Chevy Performance Features

You’ll have to make decisions, such as, should you take the Camaro with the 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, while returning 24 mpg on the highway? Or should you go with the 3.6-liter V6 that gets 19/30 mpg while still putting out impressive power? Looking for a performance car should be fun, so if you know what to look for, you can focus on the exciting aspects and features of your search.

Other Chevy models that come with surprisingly impressive performance features include the Chevy Corvette, so you’ll be able to take a look at many different variations of these two sports cars at one dealership. This will allow you to find exactly what you want, so you will not have to worry about the vehicle being priced incorrectly as you’ll have other sports cars on the lot to reference and ensure you are making the right decision. You’ll also be able to negotiate more effectively if there are more options. This is especially true of dealerships that have good reputations.

Buying Pre-Owned

So be sure to proceed with caution so that you make an informed decision. Buying a used performance car can be as daunting as it is exhilarating, but it is definitely worth the ride. If you do your homework and make sure you follow these steps, you will be sure to find the sports car of your dreams and drive away, knowing you made the right decision.