Buying a car is exciting, whether it’s new or new-to-you. Either way, you’re going to be dropping a lot of money for something that will ideally last you for years and years. It’s important to pick the ride that’s right for your budget. So what’s the better buy: new or used?
Let’s start with the really fun option. Getting a brand new car would be amazing. That shiny, perfect paint, that pristine upholstery, the intoxicating plastic-y whiffs of “new car smell.” Without a doubt, buying a new vehicle is a wonderful luxury for those who can afford it. True, the price tag is going to be higher than a used car’s, but you’re paying for peace of mind. New cars usually come with a warranty (ask the dealership about what it covers and how long the warranty lasts) and probably won’t need any serious maintenance or repairs for a while. Just keep in mind that the cost of insurance is higher for a new vehicle than it is for an older one. Also, make sure you understand your total cost if you’re financing a vehicle.
Okay, so you never hear TV game show hosts yelling in excitement about someone’s chance to “WIN A USED CAR!!!” But that doesn’t mean you should rule out a pre-loved set of wheels. They’re usually way more affordable than new cars. There’s also a huge range of price points to choose from, whether you’re cool with a decade-old vehicle that gets the job done or a barely used car with a small number on the odometer. Whether you’re looking for something no-frills or top of the line, it’s always going to be cheaper if you get it pre-owned.
Just remember to inspect used cars carefully before making your purchase. Even if the car has no obvious, serious flaws, it’s a good idea to request a vehicle history report. The report (connected to the VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number) will include information about past issues, such as crashes the car was involved in, flood damage, etc. Do your research, then enjoy your new(ish) car!