Buying a new or used car – the pros and cons

Man with car keysIf you’re looking to get yourself a new car you may be wondering whether or not you should buy second hand or splash out on a brand new one. In the UK around three times as many car buyers opt for a used car, but is it really worth the hassle or should you go for a brand new car with all that warranty and dealer support?

Here’s our guide to the pros and cons of buying a new or used car, along with some helpful advice and handy tips –

Buying a new car – the pros

  • Lady hugging car
    Choose the colour, the size of the wheels, and anything else you desire.

    First of all you get to choose the exact specification you want, and can have the car custom ordered to your needs. Buying a new car can leave you with plenty of options to choose from, which you just don’t get when buying a used car.

  • You get to choose the colour, the type of wheels, whether it has a sunroof, the engine size, the colour of the interior, cloth or leather, and much more. This makes for a great buying experience and allows you to take a real personal ownership over the car. All of these choices make your car much more unique!
  • Another great benefit to buying a new car is the amount of warranty you have, and the confidence that you can take it back to the dealership to have it fixed for free should anything go wrong. Most manufacturers offer at least 3 years, and some even offer up to 7 years for your warranty. So a new car provides peace of mind when it comes to spending a lot of money. You also get the standard 3 months MOT when buying a new car, so one less thing to worry about!
  • If you buy a new car it also means you are the first owner, so you don’t have to worry about anyone else having driven the car before you and potentially mistreating it. So the car gets to be driven the way you want it to, and gives you the chance to look after it right from the start.
  • A brand new car with no previous owner also benefits from having that great ‘new’ smell, and is obviously immaculately clean. There is nothing worse than looking at a used car and wondering how it’s been treated inside and out, and whether or not they smoked and/or owned a dog. A new car can be driven and cleaned just the way you want it, and you will never have to worry about the condition.
  • When it comes to technology and the latest gadgets and gizmos, a new car will usually be one step ahead of the rest. There are two main focuses for technology in the car market right now – fuel economy and safety. Every time a new car is designed and built, these two important factors are considered and improved upon, which gives the consumer more reasons to buy a new car.
  • Everything is new – new tyres, new parts, new engine, new paintwork, new seats, new leather… and so on. This might be an obvious one to point out, but just think of all the benefits of not having to fix anything, knock out any dents, repair a rip in the leather seats, or touch up those scratches.

Buying a new car – the cons

  • The car could lose up to 20% of its value the minute you drive it away.

    The price is obviously a lot higher than buying a used car. So you do have to pay for all of these pros and it’s really all about the individual and if they are fussed about choice. You can of course very easily find the car of your dreams on the used car market, and you would save quite a lot of money in the process.

  • You also have to be wary of the deprecation when buying a new car, and how much the value of the car drops the minute you drive away from the showroom. Most new car owners should plan to keep a new car for a number of years so they are not affected too much by the depreciation. If however you plan to sell a new car in a couple of year’s time, then you really are losing thousands of pounds needlessly. A new car comes with at least 3 years warranty and MOT, so it’s important to make use of that otherwise you might as well buy a used car.
  • New and improved technology comes with the added risk of more things to go wrong. Most breakdowns on modern cars are caused by an electrical fault, which can be very difficult to quickly fix at the side of the road and may have to be towed back to the dealership. Modern cars contain lots of computers, and only another computer can fix an issue which can leave the AA man baffled at the side of the road in the pouring rain.

Buying a used car – the pros

  • Lots of cars
    There is so much choice when it comes to buying a used car.

    Although buying a new car allows you the freedom to choose the specification and all the options, there are literally millions of used cars on the roads today in the UK, which certainly leaves you with a lot of options. This huge amount of choice certainly provides a very good argument for buying a used car.

  • When buying a used car you are avoiding the huge depreciation when it left the showroom as a brand new car. Figures show that the value of a new car can drop up to 20% the minute it’s driven away from the dealership. Spend £30k on a new car and it’s probably already lost £5-6k of its value. Very few new cars are worth more than half of their original purchase price after 3-4 years, and some can even lose up to two-thirds.
  • A warranty can still be purchased on a used car (depending on its age), and when some manufacturers offer up to a 7 year warranty, you may even be lucky enough to benefit from the last few years that are still on it.
  • A used car may provide you everything you need for a fraction of the price in comparison with a brand new car. You also get the added benefit of attending a car auction if you really want to get a bargain. Due to the vast amount of choice the used car market offers, you should never be very far away from buying a great car for a great price.
  • You also have the option of buying a ‘nearly new’ car, which will provide you with most of the benefits of a new car, whilst avoiding the high price that accompanies it. If you are torn between buying a new or used car, then opting for a nearly new car is a great way to go. Not only do you benefit from low mileage, the remaining warranty and MOT, but you also get to pay a reduced price allowing you to avoid that huge deprecation.

Buying a used car – the cons

  • Car being repaired
    Things are more likely to go wrong, and could prove costly.

    One of the biggest downsides to buying a used car is the potential for things to go wrong. After 3 years most cars will be out of warranty, so any repairs that need doing are going to have to be paid for by the owner. The average hourly charge for your local garage in the UK can be anywhere from £40-£70. So even if the car requires minor repairs, the cost is still going to be high.

  • A full service history is desirable when it comes to buying a second hand car, but if you do decide to take the risk and buy a used car without a decent service history, then there is a higher chance that something could go wrong. A car that isn’t properly maintained and serviced each year is a recipe for disaster.
  • When buying a used car you have no idea how the previous owner(s) looked after the car. Did they drive it aggressively? Did they clean it regularly to ensure there are no lingering smells? Do they use the brakes a lot, or do they ride the clutch? Unless you are buying a car that has one lady owner and she’s 75, there is a chance that the car has been driven recklessly which could mean long term damage to the engine.
  • A used car may not have all the latest technology and may also be behind in safety. More and more new cars are being made that have a much better safety rating than it’s predecessors, so when choosing a used car you are very likely to end up with something that isn’t as safe as you’d like. The older the car, the higher the risk when it comes to safety – which is an important consideration, especially if you have children.
  • The co2 emissions of an older car can be a lot higher, which means the road tax cost will also be much higher. New cars of today take advantage of better technology which can help to reduce co2 emissions, and not only save you a lot of money on petrol, but can also provide you with cheaper road tax.
  • Buying a used car from auction can be very risky as you are buying ‘sold as seen’. This means that the car could be in need of repair, but you will not know this until you buy it. Car auctions also obtain most of their stock from company fleets, which means there is a high chance that they will have been driven aggressively. So although you may be paying a lot less for the car, you might find that the cost to repair is huge if you get unlucky.

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