Buying a New vs Used Car: Pros & Cons

new vs used car cover photo - black cars

Buying a car is a big decision, but it’s not the most important decision you make. Do your research and make the best decision you can, but remember that a vehicle can always be sold. It’s a pretty simple process, so if things change in your life, a job change, relocation or whatever life throws at you – you can always simply sell the vehicle and move on. While a vehicle is a big purchase, it’s not permanent.

There are as many advantages to buying a used car as there are to buying a new one. For starters, many of the used cars you’ll find out there are still nearly new — give or take a few years or and a few thousand miles. Then again, you may be looking for something older and less expensive or even looking forward to the newest model with the latest features.

So, when it comes to buying new vs used cars, which is the better option for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both.

Buying a New Car

A brand new car can make you feel accomplished and alive. That “just drove off the lot” smell is potent, although it doesn’t last long!

The pros of buying new:

  • Customization – New cars can be “made to order,” which means you can choose certain specs and features. This includes the color, interior, trim package, and any other accessories that suit your needs.
new car pros
  • You get to be the first owner – Opting to buy a new car vs used means being the first owner. You’ll be the one who gets to break it in and put the initial miles on it while it’s still shiny and new — and still under the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Factory warranty – Speaking of warranties, new car warranties come with the car and straight from the manufacturer. That means it’s included in the manufacturer pricing and you don’t have to pay extra for it.
  • Less up front maintenance – New cars come with new tires, new brakes and fresh fluids, so you won’t be paying out of pocket right away for general maintenance and care items. This can save you a little money during your first year of ownership.
  • The latest tech and safety features – The newer the car, the newer the tech. This covers everything from navigational interfaces to safety features, including tire pressure monitoring, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and much more.
  • Better fuel efficiency and lower emissions – Most cars are cleaner running now than earlier models due to more stringent emissions laws. The available engine displacements keep getting smaller and the fuel economy keeps getting better. Who doesn’t want a car that gets upwards of 35 miles per gallon?
  • Longer financing terms – Banks tend to offer longer financing terms on newer models. Getting a slightly more expensive new car with the same monthly payment is possible if you’re willing to finance it over a longer period of time.
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The cons of buying new:

  • DepreciationNew cars lose a big chunk of their value once driven off the lot and up to 20% of their value during the first year of ownership. New cars will depreciate especially quickly at a time like this when new car inventories are tight and new vehicles are being sold for MSRP or more.
  • Insurance – When buying a car new, financial institutions will require you to have full coverage for it until it’s paid in full. This means you’ll be looking at a high premium for the term of your car loan.
  • They’re more expensive – When it comes to upfront cost, buying new vs used cars always end up more expensive, simply because they’re new. Depending on the interest rate on your loan, the new car can end up costing you thousands more by the time you’ve paid in full.

Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be an excellent idea.

The pros of buying used:

  • The cost – A used car will always be less expensive, which is arguably the whole point of new vs used cars. You can get a really good deal if you’re looking to buy something nearly new as you’ll essentially be getting a new car feel — with the fun high-tech features.
  • Less depreciation – As mentioned earlier, new cars lose a good chunk of their value as soon as they roll off the lot and even more soon after that. With a used car, there’s much less depreciation which means you’re retaining value.
  • Better insurance rates – Used vehicles tend to need less insurance coverage depending on the age. The replacement value is less, so the older the model, the lower your premium.
  • You can still get extended mechanical coverage – In most cases, you can still add some sort of Vehicle Service Contract (commonly called a warranty) protection to a used vehicle. Some places even offer long term car protection, like Motobyo, after putting the vehicle through an intense certified inspection.

The cons of buying used:

  • Limited choices – With a used car, you won’t get to customize it down to the little features that you may want. However, you’ll likely be able to find the color and trim level that you’re hoping— it just may take some searching.
  • You have to research the individual vehicleReliability and quality of the vehicle needs to be assessed. Every used vehicle is as unique as a thumb print. Despite two vehicles being the same year, make and model, you’ll need to do all the research on the exact vehicle that you’re interested in purchasing.
  • Wear and tear – While the used car in question may still be relatively new, how the previous owner maintained it can affect a lot of things. You have to pay special attention to the wearable items like tires, brakes, belts, hoses and general maintenance. Take needed items into consideration when making offers or shaking hands on a deal.

Used Cars vs New Cars: Which is right for you?

Buying a new vs used car will always come down to two deciding factors: What your needs are and what you can afford (or want to spend). Buying a used car is an excellent option if you don’t like wasting money on new car depreciation and you don’t mind a few miles on the vehicle.
Which? in a thought bubble

Buying a car, in general, doesn’t have to be an intimidating process, especially when you do your browsing and shopping with Motobyo. We make the entire process hassle-free by verifying every seller and providing you with the same tools used by dealerships everywhere.

When you’re ready to buy a car, we’ll be here to help you every step of the way!