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Should You Buy a New or Used Car?

Should You Buy a New or Used Car?

Not everyone can rely on public transportation. In fact, many people don’t want to. They want to be in charge of their own destinies in regards to traveling from place to place. They want to own a car so they can go where they want when they want. In fact, despite stereotypes regarding city life, the Department of State has indicated that 95 percent of US households have a car.

However, there’s a lot of decision making involved when buying a car. Some of it can be confusing. For example, should you buy used or new? The answer to that question really depends. Each choice has its own arguments for and against. With that in mind, below is an overview of the benefits and drawbacks to both buying a new car and buying a used one.

Benefits of New Cars

Perhaps your first option, if it is available to you, should be to consider buying a new car. There are very good reasons to do so. This is why there were over 17 million car sales in 2018. The best reason to buy new of course is because vehicles are in the best condition directly out of the factory. They will operate much more smoothly, have better gas mileage and incur fewer repair bills than vehicles that are years older.

While there is upfront cost, you will spend less in the repair shop, on gas and on maintenance. While maintenance is still required, it will likely be less expensive and less extensive than for a used vehicle. New vehicles also simply drive better and are more likely to provide you with a good experience. They also make you feel better in regards to the self confidence and attention from others you get for buying a new car. Buying a Toyota Corolla 2019 will be more impressive than buying one from 1999.

Downsides of Buying a New Car

As can be expected, the number one downside to buying a new car is cost. New cars can be expensive. Depending on the model, they can get very expensive. Experian states that the average cost of a new car bought in 2019 was $34,000. Some models are cheaper than that, but you can expect to spend at least $20,000 on a more budget friendly model.

This isn’t a problem if you have a lot of cash on hand. However, few people do. As such, you should expect to be paying off the car in monthly installments over a number of years. This also means paying for the interest on the loan. There are some other downsides of course. Your choices, for one, will be limited by what car manufacturers offer now. Some of your favorite models may have stopped being manufactured.

Benefits of Used Cars

Inversely, the biggest benefit of buying used cars is cost. Used cars are, on average, far less expensive than new cars. Depreciation helps determine the value of a vehicle. As a car ages or is driven more miles, that value comes down. As the value comes down, so does the price. If you have a lot of experience with used cars, buying used may be a good strategy to save money. 

Other people that may prefer used are car collectors or those searching for nostalgia vehicles. However, restored classic cars in great condition tend to cost the same amount as new cars. Keep that in mind.

Downsides of Buying a Used Car

Used cars, however, tend to not run as well as new. In fact, they may run very poorly. To keep them operating, you may have to spend a lot on maintenance and repair bills. This can sometimes make up the difference of what you saved by not buying a new car. Some models fair better on the used market than others. This is especially the case for those made by Japanese manufacturers. However, these models also tend to come at a premium on the aftermarket as a result.

Overall, new cars will benefit some drivers more than others. The same holds true for used. Spend a lot of time considering your own situation and needs before making a decision on whether to buy new or used.

Last updated:9/7/2019 12:22:21 AM


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