Between a rock and a hard place: Should you buy your next car used or new?

Buying new car or used: it’s a difficult question facing anyone looking to spend on a car. But what’s really at stake here? Sure, buying a used car is cheaper, seeing as the market is flooded with them, but is it worth the many unknowns and potential risks that come with a used car? Here’s your definitive answer.

1.Pros of buying a new car

Buying a brand new car is a wonderful experience. And unless you’re Jeremy Clarkson, you might not get this experience very often. First up there’s no leftover waste underneath the seats and you’re not worried about anything not working the way it should. But we expect all this from a new car.

So, what’s the real advantage?

Aside from saying you’ve just bought a new car, and showing it off to your friends, buying a new car is all about the new features. The tech. The extras. The branded umbrella. The ribbon it came in. The smell. These are the things you don’t get when you’re handing over cash for a sale you organised online. You’re going to get two whole sets of keys – almost unheard of when you’re driving away from a private sale.

In all seriousness: make the most of the manufacturer’s warranty. It’s one of the hallmarks of why buying new is so great. You’re technically off the hook for a few years, so there’s enormous peace of mind there.

2. Cons of buying a new car

All cars start out new. But they don’t stay that way for long. Depreciation of value is a problem with new cars, and whether you like it or not, if you decide you don’t like the car after a few months, you’ll gasp at how much money you’re going to lose. And it doesn’t stop there. Aside from being far more expensive than the average used car out there, you’re also going to be hit with hefty stamp duty and registration costs. Damn.

3. Pros of buying a used car

First up, you’ll be saving a ton of hard-earned cash. And not just up-front, you won’t be hit with any painful taxes and you’ll end up cashing in at a fraction of what you would have.

But money isn’t the only thing that counts here…

You can basically get everything you would expect on a bead new car in a comparable and recent, but used car. And if you can easily forget that it’s not brand spanking new, then go for it. Buying a used car that hasn’t travelled much and has only been on the roads for 12-18 months will deliver large dividends.

But you’ve also got a bit more wiggle room on the used market. Think about the amount of money you would be spending on a new car. Now take that amount of money and see what you can get on the used car market. You’ve just gone from a brand new hatchback to a second-hand SUV. That’s not a bad exchange rate.

4. Cons of buying a used car

It should be said that buying used cars – no matter where from, is far more unpredictable than buying a new car. You can get lucky, and then you can get VERY unlucky. So, with that in mind, tread carefully when it comes to private sales. Heading to a dealership can mitigate against some of these risks, but ultimately, it comes down to how that car was driven, and what’s going on under the bonnet.

Buying a used car will require you to do some research. The older the car is, the more you should know about the car so you can spot faults easier and understand how serious they may be.

5. Things to be aware of

No matter how you end up choosing, always check through the vehicle service log, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the previous owner or salesperson. Spending money on a car is an investment in your own mobility, so it’s important to know the car’s history and any issues you might need to deal with down the track. Always be sceptical of overzealous sales representatives, and if you’re feeling pressured, don’t make any big decisions on the day. It’s not uncommon to span your decision-making out over a few days or a week, even once you’ve narrowed it down to one to two cars.

What about demo models?

If you’re on the fence about the new vs used debate, and you really can’t decide – get in touch with a local dealership and talk to them about their demo models. They’re low on kilometres, they’re fully functional, they’re basically new cars without the price tag. If you want to avoid the ugly mess that exists under every used car seat being sold on the internet, but also want to keep your budget under control, this might be your way out.

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