Used Car Or New Car: Buying Tips for Summer Deals

Used Car Or New Car: Buying Tips for Summer Deals



Summer time is deal-making time at auto dealerships nationwide. Next-year models are already appearing in showrooms, well before the fall months in which the new cars arrive in droves. So to avoid the fall car rush and competition, many dealers are offering best-of-the-year pricing and financing now. But as cars get better and better, and people trade them early because of leases, outstanding values are also available for used cars. So how do you make a smart decision: new car or used car?


Realistically the decision depends on what you can afford and what will give you the most mental and emotional satisfaction. Free online calculators will help you determine monthly payments at various rates. If your funds are limited, you are probably leaning toward a used car. In fact you can purchase a used car of the type you’ve always wanted for thousands less than a new one, and no one except close friends and family knows if you bought it new or not. Or you may opt for an economical new car costing $10,000 or less. It might be small, but that also probably means it gets good gas mileage. And you have all the comforts of a new car warranty plus the knowledge that the car likely does not have problems you can’t see. It can be a hard choice. To help you make that decision, here is a summary of the advantages of buying a new vehicle versus a used vehicle in today’s economy:



The Advantages of Buying Used


* Saving money – The careful purchase of a used car can result in an excellent return on investment, allowing you to save thousands of dollars and still drive the car model that appeals most to you.


* Abundant choices – Because car sales are slow in the current economy, used car lots nationwide are fairly full, and you can often enjoy abundant choices for just the model you want, not just from one dealer but shopping competing dealers in your area.


* Better reliability – Both American-made cars and imports get better all the time, so buying a used car is much safer and smarter than it was when your parents were your age. Consult online and printed buying guides that rate used vehicles to find which ones hold up best. You can also look up a vehicle’s repair history online using Carfax before you buy. Ideally buy a car that still has some of the original manufacturer’s warranty left, to protect you from any major problems – like the proverbial breakdown as soon as you drive off the car lot. Some used car dealers provide a 30-day warranty even on vehicles past the manufacturer’s warranty period – be sure to get that in writing. And for added protection and peace of mind, you can purchase an extended warranty from one of the leading companies that sell online – be sure they are rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau for best results.


The Advantages of Buying New


* Choice of options – With a new car you can buy the color, features and extras that you want, just the way you want them. Of course many people buy off the lot, but a typical dealer has hundreds of vehicles to choose from, and is happy to get a color or model you want from another dealer to get your purchase and satisfaction. You can also “build your own” on different major-car-brand websites, and the service will track down exactly what you want, wherever it is, and get it to a local dealer for you.


* Lowest rates in years – The auto market has still not recovered fully from the recession – it was only a few years ago that major U.S. automakers were teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. So a number of auto manufacturers are offering financing at or near 0 percent, which means in some cases your monthly payments would actually be lower on a new car than a late-model used car. It really pays to shop around and bargain hard. When car dealers advertise, “No reasonable offer refused,” that is a sign that they are ready to slash prices so they can move inventory.


* Low-cost maintenance – Usually all you have to pay for with a new car is an oil change every 5,000 miles or so, and some manufacturers cover that in the purchase price. Be wary of dealers that provide unnecessary “services” such as frequently lubricating door locks, and be very clear about what you want (consult the owner’s manual to be sure) whenever you take the vehicle in for service. Get an estimate up front for protection. You won’t need to buy new tires, a battery, brakes or other parts for a long time.


* Warranty protection – New vehicle warranties typically cover 3 years or 36,000 miles, but an increasing number of manufactures are going 4 or 5 years and 50,000 to 60,000 miles for all parts. Several provide major power train coverage (motor, transmission, drive shaft etc.) up to 100,000 miles. It’s a comfort to know that minor squeaks and rattles, plus larger more expensive parts, will all be repaired at no cost to you under a typical new vehicle warranty.


* Legal protection: All states have what are called “lemon laws” that project you in case the new car you buy is a lemon, with problems that just can’t be fixed under warranty. If that happens to you, you may be entitled to a replacement vehicle at no extra cost, or a full refund.


* Free roadside assistance: As long as your new vehicle is under its manufacturer’s warranty, in most cases you will also receive free roadside assistance if you have a breakdown and cannot drive to the dealership for service. This is especially good for peace of mind when you travel.


In the end, the decision to buy new or used boils down to what you can afford and what will give you peace of mind.