Used vs New Car Buying

Reader question:

I’m going to buy a car, but should I get a used one?


That’s a great question.

Buying a used car is something that you should be even more wary about than when buying a new car. Used cars come with a lot of drawbacks, but lots of benefits as well. Not only that, but there’s a lot more to used cars than appearances and they need to be scrutinized more closely than a brand new car that has never been off the lot with. Like anything with a history, you need to walk on eggshells.

Here’s what’s good about buying a used car:

  • Money. Used cars are cheap. The only thing cheaper than a used car from a dealership is a cash car, but that’s an even less steady way to go. Buying a used car, you’ll probably be driving it for as long as a newer car, but you’ll be paying out a lot less money.
  • Insurance. If you’re buying from a car dealership, then you’ll still have to get full coverage insurance on your car, and that means comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, and that means a higher price on your premium. However, used cars cost a lot less than new cars to insure.
  • Depreciation. When a car is brand new, it depreciates extremely rapidly. However, after a certain amount of time it hits maximum velocity. After that, once it is considered a used car, and depreciates at a slower, steady rate. Therefore, after you buy a car, once you’re ready to sell it back or trade it in, you’ll get bigger returns on what you originally paid than you would with a new car.
  • Luxury. I own a nice BMW, but I’m not rich. That’s because I own an old BMW. If you’re willing to buy your car used, you might be able to afford a better kind of car than you would be able to afford brand new.

And the cons?

  • History. Do you know it? You can look it up at CarFax, but there still may be a lot you don’t know about a car, such as it’s history of repairs and accidents.
  • Warranty. You probably won’t be getting a warranty with your used car like you would with a new car, although some dealers will offer it for a little extra. That means that if something goes wrong with your car, it’s on you.
  • Maintenance. The closer a car gets to one hundred thousand miles, the more that goes wrong with it and the more you’ll be spending fixing it up.
  • Features. Your used car won’t have all the cool, safe stuff that would come with a new car.


Fashun Guadarrama.

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."