You’re thinking about buying a car, but you’re not sure if you should buy new or used. First of all, if you’re not sure of what type of car you need or how much money you have to spend, make sure you look at our advice on figuring out what you need in a car and figuring out a car budget. Once you’ve figured out your budget and the features that you want, you can then determine if a new car makes the most sense for you.
Generally speaking, there are FOUR reasons to buy a new instead of used:
1) You plan on keeping whatever you buy for more than five years. If you keep a new car for five or more years the long-term costs work out to be less than buying an average used car and doing the same. Even better, for every year you keep a new car past five, the ownership costs get lower and lower. Keep a new car for 10 years, drive it until the wheels fall off, and you’ll save a fortune.
2) You require a special feature. If you have a special purpose or need (like towing a big RV or trailer, hybrid engine, etc.) a new vehicle is often times the best or only way to go.
3) You’re “picky.” You want a specific color or feature; you don’t want anything with scratches, dents, or a funny smell; you need the sunroof AND the manual transmission, etc. Since you’re paying good money for a car, you should try and get what you want…but if you’re really particular about features, condition, etc., don’t bother looking at used. You’re probably not going to be happy with anything that you find and you might waste a lot of time.
4) There’s a tax benefit for buying new. A lot of people who are self-employed will actually save money buying a new car because it’s a tax write-off. We can’t speak for what is or isn’t a tax write-off for your specific situation so the best thing to do is call your accountant and find out. However, new cars tend to make more sense for people that have their own business.
In summary, there’s also a lot to be said about buying a used car, but new cars have their benefits too. If you’re leaning towards buying a used car, here are some questions you should ask yourself before buying a used car. But if you find yourself identifying with one of the four reasons we’ve given then you should feel good about buying a new car.