There are many questions when buying a car, but one of the biggest, by far, is whether you should buy new or go for a used car. So ask yourself these questions before you start shopping for a car.
How Much Are You Willing To Pay?
The most pressing question, of course, is how much you can afford. If you’re looking at new cars, also make a point of checking what late-model used cars are available. But don’t automatically assume that the used car will be the cheaper option. Sometimes the price difference can be shockingly low, especially on fuel efficient models. If the price difference is small enough, it might be worth going new.
What Mileage Does It Get?
The next question you ask should be how much of your paycheck will be going into the gas tank every week. One of the biggest changes in cars from year to year is the improvement in gas mileage, thanks to approaching federal deadlines for better fuel efficiency. Even late-model used cars can have a surprising difference between new and used vehicles in terms of fuel usage, and the further away you get from the current model year, the wider the gap. You should look into just how much the difference is, and work on the assumption that gas prices won’t stay low.
How Much Will It Be Worth?
It’s easy to forget, when shopping for a car, that you’re going to own a car at the end of all this. And that you’re probably going to have to sell this car, at some point. So look at the blue-book value of the cars you’re considering to see how they hold their value. Compare this to the overall loan you’re taking out as well, so you know just how much you’re spending.
How Reliable Is The Car?
The next factor you examine should be the reliability of the make and model. Repairs are part of owning a car, and fortunately, it’s fairly easy to find out how often you’ll be visiting the mechanic based on historical data. In some cases, though, a make and model are so reliable that the used car might actually make more sense. If you can pull a full history of the used cars you’re considering and they’re in good repair, and the make and model have a reliable reputation, it may make sense to save the money and go for the used car.
What Extras Do You Want?
Of course one of the reasons automakers put out new models every year is that they add new bells and whistles to cars. A lot of this stuff is really unnecessary to the basic purpose of a car, but some of it, such as backup cameras and lane detection, can be incredibly useful and may be worth the money. But they also may only be available on new cars, and that price differential may not be worth what you pay. If you need special features, look closely not just as cars that have them, but potential aftermarket options you can install after you buy.
No matter what you choose, make sure you’ve got the car you need. Used or new, your needs should come first.