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New vs Used Car: Which One is Really Worth Your Money?

Revving up the engines of curiosity and igniting the eternal debate, we find ourselves at the crossroads of automotive decisions: should I buy a new or used car? This is a battle that’s raged on for generations. It’s similar to the clash between the sleek, shiny knight and the seasoned warrior.

Choosing between a new or used car is one of the largest decisions we can in life. Believe it or not, a car isn’t just a financial decision or a machine to get us from point A to B. It’s also an outward expression of our personality. It is largely tied to our lifestyle and perception.

In this era, new cars dazzle with their untarnished glory. They also carry cutting-edge features and are in the comforting embrace of a manufacturer’s warranty. Also, new cars come with a reliability guarantee. However, that enticing reliability comes with a cost. While we would all love to have a new car, not everyone can afford to buy one. That’s where used cars take center stage, with their alluring scent of cost savings and battle-tested resilience. Used cars are less expensive, as you can buy a high-end used car for a cheap price.

Now, fellow gearheads, fasten your seatbelts! Join us as we navigate the winding roads of automotive decisions. We will look at the pros and cons of buying a new car versus a used car, all while exploring the twists and turns of financial implications, reliability, and the satisfaction of owning the perfect set of wheels. So, let’s explore the pros and cons of buying a new car versus a used car.

Should you buy a new car or a used car? Here are the pros and cons to help you decide.

Buying a New Car

buying-a-new-car
PEXELS/Antoni Shkraba

Budgeting for that new car isn’t easy, but when the time finally comes, you’ll own a vehicle that will last many years.

Advantages of Buying a New Car

Buying a new car allows you to stay ahead of the curve. You can enjoy the excitement of driving a state-of-the-art vehicle that has the latest car accessories and trends in the automotive industry.

1.      It’s Easier To Buy A New Car

Buying a new car is easier compared to buying a used car. All you need to do is first decide on the make and model that suits your needs. Then, have a look at the features and preferences and then commence your search. The procedures for obtaining a loan and registering the vehicle are also relatively straightforward.

2.      Freedom Of Choice And Customization

Buying a new car gives you the ability to choose your preferred spec level and paint color. You can also sift through and pick specific engine options and available upgrades. If you’re someone who knows what they want, you’ll enjoy the personalized experience. Unlike setting what you see in a used car, you will get exactly what you want.

3.      New Cars Have Better Financing Options

Dealers know that everyone loves a new car, plus they have sales quotas to meet. Every car dealership knows that people are always excited about getting a brand-new car.

On top of that, they have sales targets to hit. That’s why you might come across some sweet deals on financing for new cars.

If you look hard enough, you might strike a super low or even zero percent interest rate. You don’t get this privilege with a used car purchase. Speaking of deals,

4.      New Car Deals

When it comes to buying a new car, you can always find sweet deals. These range from year-end sales events, and three-day holiday weekends, to end-of-each-month deals. What makes these the best times to buy a car? Well, that’s the time when car dealerships look to clear inventory and meet sales quotas.

5.      Higher Safety Standards And Latest Technology

New cars will have all of the newest safety equipment, such as airbags, blind spot alerts, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree safety view camera/video, stolen vehicle tracking software, and more.

If you appreciate good new tech, we recommend buying a new car. This is because newer cars come equipped with all the latest safety features. You can expect to find features like a blind spot alert, automatic emergency braking, 360-degree safety view cameras/videos, vehicle tracking software, and more. You’ll also find the newest infotainment system with extra features.

6.      Reliability: New Cars Have Warranties

Almost all new cars are reliable. This is possibly the biggest drawcard: Manufacturer warranty. A lot of new cars typically have a three-year or 36,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty. Other automakers offer seven- or even 10-year warranties. This means you’re covered for your entire ownership.

7.      Less Maintenance And Repair Costs

New cars generally require less maintenance. It’s almost like you have a personal mechanic on standby but without the hefty bill. New cars are also less likely to have immediate repair needs.

Disadvantages of Buying a New Car

As sweet and desirable as buying a new car might be, there are some bad sides to it. Here are the main disadvantages of buying a new car:

1.      New Cars Cost Are More Expensive

The most noteworthy disadvantage of buying a new car is that the initial cost of a new car is higher than that of a used car. Depending on the make and model you choose, a new car may cost you between $400 and $700 per month. That would even be with a low or zero percent loan interest rate.

2.      Depreciation

A new car’s value drops by 20% in the first year. From then, you can expect the value to drop by around 15% each year. This means that after 5 years, a new car is worth 40% of its purchase price. Here’s an example: A vehicle that sold for $40,000 will be worth $16,000 after 5 years. But, the amount of depreciation largely depends on the type of vehicle, brand, mileage, and several other factors.

3.      New Cars Cost More To Insure

It is much more expensive to insure a new car compared to a used car. This is because of the collision coverage required by lenders. It has to cover the cost of the repairs and replacements if stolen.

But, generally speaking, car insurance is higher when you have full coverage to cover an accident or theft, even if it’s a used car.

4.      Limited Selection

For the most part, if you’re in search of the latest model, you’ll need lots of patience. This is because a lot of new cars nowadays have limited availability. As such, you may have to wait a little longer for specific configurations.

Buying a Used Car

certified-used-car-at-a-dealership
Via: PEXELS/Denniz Futalan

Buying a used car has some specific pros and cons. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

A majority of Malawian car buyers opt for used cars. Here are some of the reasons why it’s a preferable option.

1.      Used Cars Have A Better Price

Unlike new cars, which have zero ownership history, used cars typically cost less because of mileage and condition. Depreciation is also a huge value-determining factor. You’ll pay less for a used car because the car has already depreciated in value. In this sense, the prior owner has already paid the price of depreciation. However, you might pay more for a used vehicle if it’s a high-end trim with luxury features. Still, its value will be significantly lower than it would if bought new. That means you get more for your money.

2.      Used Cars Come With Fewer Fees

As we mentioned earlier, it costs more to insure a new car. However, for used cars, you’ll pay less insurance fees. Also, you’ll avoid dealership fees that most new car buyers have to pay, such as delivery/destination fees, dealer prep, pre-delivery inspection, vehicle procurement, or documentation/processing fee.

With a used car, you’ll pay title and registration fees. You will also pay sales tax as well as documentation fees.

3.      Shorter Wait Time

Almost any used car listed for sale in the classifieds will be available, right now. A swift morning phone call to the seller could have you in new wheels by the afternoon. Of course, this ignores some of the endless searchings to find a perfect example, but you’re unlikely to wait 12 months for the seller to supply the vehicle.

Disadvantages of Buying a Used Car

As cheap and desirable as used cars can be, there are some things you should be aware of. We have explained the disadvantages of buying a used car below.

1.      It Might Not Be Exactly What You Want

Ah, Yes. The age-old challenge of used car shopping. Well, sure, anything is technically available in the market these days. But, finding the perfect used car at the right time can feel like a Herculean task.

After a long, hard look, you could find, say, a Take, a good-condition 2010 BMW 135i coupe with a dual-clutch transmission that’s just begging for a new owner. In reality, it’s a better value than a new Nissan Z. But, there’s a problem: No iDrive is present, plus the paint job just doesn’t tickle your fancy. What would you do? You may settle for the same model or wait it out. The point is: if you are looking for a specific car make and model, you may need a larger dose of patience.

2.      Used Cars Mostly Have Reliability And Maintenance Issues

With a used car, you don’t really know what to expect. You may spend spent countless hours sifting through car markets, scouring through services, JD Power surveys, and doing your research, only to end up with a sour lemon of a car. And that’s not a good place to be. Unfortunately, that’s the case with used car shopping. Unless the manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect, you may be left with little recourse with a used car.

While some used car dealerships provide a three-month statutory warranty, some certified pre-owned programs offer extended factory warranties. But, when it comes to private sales, you’re pretty much on your own. So, here are the things to avoid when buying a used car.

3.      Used Cars Have Old Technology

Let’s face it: having a car with old safety features and fewer to zero driving aids can make or break your car-owning experience. Unfortunately, that’s what you get with most used cars. You will have to settle for the older and outdated technology from the get-go.

Sure, you may find some nifty aftermarket head units with phone mirroring for older cars. But, newer cars have more complex and integral infotainment systems that are tougher to replace. So, unless having old tech isn’t something that bothers you, don’t get stuck in the past.

4.      Limited Warranty

As we said earlier, used cars may have limited or no warranty coverage. This means you’ll need to bare the costs of repairs and replacements by yourself.

5.      Shadowy History

One of the most frustrating things about buying a used car is having to worry about its history. Why does the seller want to get rid of it? The truth is that a lot of used cars may have a murky past, such as flood damage and, in worse cases, accidents. Take a good look at its history before you fork over your savings.

Bottom Line: Is It Better To Buy New Or Used Cars?

parked-cars-overview
Via: PEXELS/David Mcbee

Whether you opt for a new or used car, we recommend picking the one that fits your budget. And while you’re at it, factor in the monthly insurance premium and loan payments too. While a new car will come with a fresh look, a great warranty, and a smaller repair bill, you’ll pay a lot more to cover the price of the car and keep it insured.

On the other hand, you may choose to save some money by opting for a used car. A lot of used cars can be just as reliable as their fresh-off-the-lot counterparts, particularly certified-pre-owned cars. So, whether you’re a baller or on a budget, choose wisely and ride in style. Good luck with your next car purchase!

Wilfred Nkhwazi
Wilfred Nkhwazihttps://flagshipdrive.com
🚗 About Wilfred Nkhwazi - Founder of Flagship Drive 🌍 Meet Wilfred Nkhwazi, an automotive writer, and explorer of the open road. 📚 With more than five years of experience in the world of automotive writing, he's the visionary behind Flagship Drive. As a seasoned writer, he brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to Flagship Drive, providing readers with the latest news, reviews, and trends in the automotive world. Wilfred has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the technology and engineering behind cars, making him the go-to expert for all things automotive. When he isn't behind the wheel, you can find him exploring the latest automotive innovations or attending industry events. He is also the curator of CarReviewHQ.com, where he dissects the finest details of automobiles.
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