Used car values may not drop after all, but drivers can still find affordable vehicles

Used car values may not drop after all, but drivers can still find affordable vehiclesUsed car values have been on the rise since the recession, and went up significantly after the earthquakes in Japan restricted the production of new cars. Industry insiders are now reporting that these values may continue to remain high for a while. Kelley Blue Book recently reported that used cars may be worth substantially more than usual for the next two to three years, even though they and other industry insiders claimed that the values peaked last spring, The New York Times reports.

Many automotive experts predicted that the recovery of the Japanese manufacturing industry would lead to more availability of new cars, and lower gas prices would encourage drivers to choose new vehicles over used, but that does not appear to be the case so far.

"While depreciation typically affects a vehicle's value most in the first two years of ownership, it will not be as pronounced as it would have been a few years ago when the used car supply was still very high," Alec Gutierrez, the manager of vehicle valuation at KBB, told the Los Angeles Times.

The average price of one- to three-year-old used vehicles has gone up nearly 16 percent each year since 2008. Three years ago, the average cost of a newly used vehicle was roughly $15,000, while that average price is just over $23,000 – but older cars may not see the same price hikes.

Drivers who are looking to purchase used cars with bad credit car loans will still have options, as not every used vehicle will be unexpectedly expensive. There are plenty of resources online for drivers to find affordable options for used vehicles in their price range.

Consumer Reports lists used vehicle choices for a variety of price ranges up to $20,000, and the cars that made the list also performed well in the analysts' road tests when they were new. Drivers can even find affordable luxury cars, as the 2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK and the 2003 Lexus ES have found their homes in the $8,000 to $10,000 range.

Newer models of used cars are also still being sold for reasonable prices. The 2009 and 2010 Scion xB sell for $14,000 to $16,000, as do the 2010 Volkswagen Golf, the '07 Toyota Prius and the 2008 Ford Mustang.