New Cars vs. Used Cars: Which is Better?

There is an age old question in the realm of car sales: Should I buy new or used? It’s the question every car buyer faces, and there’s no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to your budget, your wants and needs in a vehicle, and eagerness to gamble with potential risk. Let’s compare the pros and cons of new and used cars, so you can make the most educated decision when you begin your car buying process.

Advantages to Buying a New Car

When you buy a new car, you are also buying the latest technology.  New cars have the most updated tech specs like  Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection capability, so you can talk on your phone hands-free and have your phone maps and music integrated with your vehicle.  

You are also buying the most up-to-date safety technology like LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children), blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. These features are becoming more advanced and more common on even the most affordable of new vehicles like Toyota Corollas.

Buying a new car also comes with the confidence that you are the first person to drive the vehicle, ensuring no prior wear and tear. You also don’t have to worry about any unattended recalls, accident history reports, or neglected maintenance issues like infrequent oil changes or keeping the fluids topped off.  

Over the last few years, the auto industry has made great strides in providing fuel efficient vehicles, to the point where a new SUV may outperform an older model sedan.  Fuel costs are a major concern when looking at costs that go into purchasing a vehicle.  

A minor point, but there is the coveted “new car smell” that some buyers can’t do without. This may convince them to only buy new cars and pass on used cars altogether.

Disadvantages of Buying a New Car

Buying a new car means you are typically paying much more for a vehicle than if you purchased used.  These higher costs don’t end with the sticker price – your insurance premium will be affected and raised and your sales tax will be higher than if you purchased a comparable used vehicle.

As soon as you drive your car off the lot, the value depreciates by an average of 20%.  This translates to owing your lender more than the car is actually worth, if you didn’t put down at least a 20% down-payment.  

Advantages to Buying Used Cars

Perhaps the biggest advantage to buying a used car is that the previous owner absorbed all the initial costs and depreciation within the first few years of owning it. Their pain, your gain.  Since you are able to get a car for less than its original value, there is a good chance you can “upgrade” to a bigger or fancier model than you would be able to otherwise.  

And, since the price is lower, that means your other costs won’t be as high.  Insurance premiums won’t be as drastic and your sales tax will be lower. If you are able to finance your used car, you will save in total interest payments even if the interest rate is higher.  The interest will never add up to the amount you would have spent if you had purchased a brand new car.

There is a level of reliability that is associated with used vehicles because of Carfax history reports, rankings, and research tied to the vehicle you are interested in.  If the car is a few years old, you’ll be able to read about potential problem areas and avoid them.  Rankings of older models will help you compare specific about each vehicle you are considering, something new models can’t offer.  

Disadvantages to Buying Used Cars

Many new-car buyers will tell you they don’t like to buy a used vehicle because they feel like they are inheriting someone else’s problems. There is a level of risk associated with buying used cars, although many people are comfortable with this.

This is why there are a few added steps necessary when buying a used car. The first thing you should get with any used vehicle is a trusted Carfax report that identifies any title issues or accident history. You will need to spend more to get the car inspected by an independent mechanic to check any issues with the operating system, transmission, and evidence of crashes and accidents. However, this money for the inspection will save you from a big insurance claim down the road.

When you buy a used car, you likely forgo the option of having a warranty on your vehicle, which means you are financially responsible for anything that may go wrong with the vehicle or major repairs.   

Buying a used car means having to compromise on vehicle options like colors, interior, and technology options compared to if you were purchasing a vehicle from the original dealership.

When you are deciding between new and used cars, you should equip yourself with the proper information to get the best bang for your buck and protection down the road. Use the U.S. News & World Reports for new and used vehicles to compare prices, specs, and rankings.  

For all your used car interests, visit Trust Auto to see our wide range of inventory or call today to get started.  

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