Driver Knowledge Tests

Should you buy a new car or a used car?

When it’s time to get a car or replace your old car, there are numerous considerations. Assuming you’ve decided on a budget, worked out whether you can afford the running costs, and that you have somewhere to park it (and charge it if it will be an electric vehicle), then you can start looking, either by visiting online showrooms, taking a walk around car yards or looking for private listings.

Remember that you’ll need to arrange insurance!

Buying a new car

Some advantages of buying a new car over a used car include:

  • A new car will come with the latest features and technology, although this depends at what price level you’re purchasing as a similarly priced used car will have been a more expensive model when it was new. This can include advanced safety features, in-car entertainment systems, and other modern conveniences.
  • A new car will typically come with a warranty, so you will have peace of mind if anything goes wrong. This can save you money on repairs and maintenance in the first few years of ownership.
  • Buying a new car can be a good investment if you plan on keeping the car for a long time. The newer a car is, the more the resale value will be, all other things being equal, so you may be able to get a better price when it’s time to sell.
  • When you buy a new car, you will be the first owner. This means that you will be the only person who has driven the car, and you will have a better idea of its history and condition.
  • Buying a new car can be a fun and exciting experience. You can choose the exact model, colour, and options that you want, and you will be the first person to drive the car (except for the people who move the car around when it’s being transported).

Buying a used car

Some advantages of buying a used car over a new car include:

  • Used cars are generally less expensive than new cars for similar specifications. This can make them a more budget-friendly option for many people.
  • A used car will have already experienced its biggest depreciation in value. This means that the car will not lose as much value, percentage-wise, over time as a new car would.
  • When you buy a used car, you have more options to choose from because you’re not limited to the stock that the dealer has. You can choose from a wider range of makes, models, and years, and you may be able to find a car that has the exact features and options that you want, however, it might take you more time to find the right deal.
  • Buying a used car can be a good way to get a higher-end or luxury car for a lower price. Many people who buy new luxury cars trade them in after a few years, so you may be able to find a gently used luxury car for a fraction of the price of a new one.
  • You may be able to negotiate a better price on a used car. Sellers are often private individuals, so you may be able to work out a deal that is more favorable than what you would get at a dealership. If it’s a dealership, they rely on stock turnover to make a profit, so they’ll often accept an offer just to keep stock moving, especially if the car has been sitting there a while.

There are many potential problems that can arise with a used car, though. Some of the worst things that can happen to a used car include:

  • The car may have hidden mechanical or structural issues that are not immediately apparent. These can be expensive to repair and may make the car unsafe to drive.
  • The car may have been in a serious accident and not repaired properly. This can affect the car’s safety and performance, and it may not be apparent from a visual inspection.
  • The car may have been neglected by its previous owner, leading to a variety of problems such as worn-out brakes, suspension, or tyres. These issues can be expensive to fix and may make the car unsafe to drive.
  • The car may have been stolen and then recovered. This can cause a variety of legal and financial issues, and it may make it difficult or impossible to register or insure the car.
  • The car may have been used for illegal activities. This can cause legal problems for the new owner (e.g. if it’s implicated in a crime).

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

Posted in Advice