Buying A Car: New Or Used?

Apr 28, 2011

By Nate Granzow, goodneighborEXTRA staff writer State Farm™ Employee

With spring’s warmer weather drawing prospective car buyers back to dealer lots, an old question re-emerges: Is it better to buy a new car or a used one? We look at a few of the pros and cons with help from Mitch McCullough, Editor-in-Chief of New Car Test Drive.

Why to buy new: Reliability

“A new car should have fewer repair costs, and you can expect more reliability,” said McCullough. Additionally, new cars come with a factory warranty that can last for several years. Don’t get roped into buying an extended warranty from a third party. “You’re more likely to spend more on the warranty than the repair costs, and if there are repair costs, people often have difficulty making the claim.”

Why not to buy new: Depreciation

The minute that bumper goes off the lot, a new car depreciates a lot. “A used car avoids that big depreciation hit,” said McCullough. While depreciation is unavoidable with new vehicles, you can save money in the long run by doing your research: Look for a model with a proven track record and a reputation for outlasting its depreciation.

Why buy used: More for your money?

The federal government’s recent “Cash for Clunkers” program reduced the number of available used cars on the market and demand for certain late-model used vehicles is unusually high. But McCullough believes you can still get more car for your money with a used vehicle than a new one. “There are some incredible used car buys out there. Look for vehicles in good aesthetic condition. If the interior and exterior were well taken care of, it’s a good bet that the owner maintained the car’s functioning parts, too.”

Why not to buy used: Prepare for repairs

“A used car is going to have wear on it, so you can expect higher repair costs,” said McCullough. By commissioning a mechanic to look over your prospective buy on your behalf, you can avoid purchasing a vehicle with major issues. The older the car is and the more miles it has on it, the more carefully you should examine it. Whether you buy a new vehicle or a used one, make sure it’s adequately insured.

Learn more about choosing auto insurance at Auto Learning Center.

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