Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car

man-916494_1280The internal battle rages on with car buying enthusiasts. Is it always better to buy a used car?

I’ve gone looking at cars several times over the past 2 years or so and I’m not 100% sold on what the right decision is.

Those who remain staunchly pro-new buying will answer than used cars are never a sure thing, and if you intend to own a vehicle for the life of the vehicle, then deprecation doesn’t matter. Pro-used car buyers argue that new cars are a waste of money, resources, and will always be a terrible investment?

So how should a person decide whether or not used car buying is the right decision for their transportation needs? Weighing the pros and cons will always help decide whether or not you’re making the right decision when you get ready to buy a car.

Here are just a few of the many pros and cons of buying a used car, which will help you to make the right decision for your car-buying needs.


Less Depreciation in Value

According to Edmunds, on average, a new car will depreciate 11% in value the moment you drive it from the new car lot. Buying a used car will let you avoid that costly expense of car ownership. By waiting just 6 months to 2 years before purchasing your desired car model from a reliable, certified pre-owned program, you could save yourself thousands of dollars on the purchase price.

A certified pre-owned (CPO) designation from a reputable dealer will also offer guarantees on the reliability and value of your used car purchase. Not all CPO programs are created equally though, so make sure to do some research into the dealer before settling on a used car.

Easier to Obtain a Loan

If you are currently struggling to pay off debt or rebuild your credit score, you will have more luck getting a car loan if you want to buy used instead of new. Especially if you have a significant down payment, you most likely won’t have any trouble obtaining a loan.

Lower Insurance

You will most likely pay less money for registration fees, taxes, and insurance. Although insurance companies don’t necessarily charge more to insure new cars, things like vehicle safety, the likelihood of theft, and the ease finding replacement parts all tend to make used cars cost less for insurance.

Lower Fees and Taxes

The lower the cost of the car, the lower the fees and the taxes will be on the car. Research the vehicle tax rates for your state to help make the decision on which car to buy. You don’t want to be stuck paying thousands of dollars in tax on your vehicle every year.


Uncertain History

Even with a CPO program, no one can know the history of a vehicle with 100% certainty. Getting a CarFax report will give you accident indicators and a history of whether the used car has ever been salvaged, junked, or flooded. The report will also include odometer readings as well as repair, service, and usage history.

Just remember that even though reports like those through CarFax will help you make an educated decision about whether or not the used car is a trustworthy purchase, there will always be unknown factors which play into the reliability of a used car.

Probably No Warranty

Most used cars don’t come with extended warranties, so always take a used car for a test drive, and if there is a 24-48 hour warranty period take your used car for an inspection by your regular mechanic.

You can also try to haggle in an extras with the dealership before you close on the deal. Lots will sometimes include free oil changes, road side assistance help, or a transfer of the warranty from the original owner. It never hurts to ask what they are willing to include in the purchase price to sweeten the deal. It may very well save you hundreds of dollars down the road.

After weighing the pros and cons, it really depends on the individual make, model, and year of the car in question. It also depends largely on the reputability of the car dealership and the individual history of that particular car. There are too many variables for any one answer to the pro vs. con used car debate.

Use websites like CarFax, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds to help pinpoint the necessary details which could alter your decision to buy used or not. Always look at all the variables before making your decision.

Do you prefer to buy new or used cars? What made you make that decision?


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6 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car

  1. We buy a lot of new cars, but that is because my husband used to be a new car salesman so we know all the tricks and know how to get it for cheaper than a used car many times.

  2. Well, we have only bought one used car and it was from my parents, so we knew the history of it, which I guess gives a pretty big advantage that most people don't have. The cars we have are both near 10 years old, so we'll have to make some decisions on this front sooner rather than later.

    1. Kayla

      Post author

      That is a great advantage. Not knowing the history is one of the major downsides of buying a used car. At least a good mechanic or car guru might be able to help you figure out if a used car has been abused or not.

  3. I bought my friend's car three years ago for a very cheap price. I think buying a used car from a close friend is really beneficial because based on experience it was like almost new in a very cheap price. I was able to get the price I preferred. I think I was so lucky.

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