Choosing whether to buy a new car or a used version is a big decision, but a very exciting one. There are many factors to take into decision, such as cost, safety, efficiency, availability, boot space and many more. Those, of course, are practical issues, but sometimes emotion takes over, and excitement can rule your head when making such a big decision.
With the new car market booming, there are more and more good quality second hand cars on the market. Both have advantages and disadvantages:
A new car will be more expensive than the same, used model. Once it leaves the forecourt, having travelled only a few yards, the value of the car will plummet. But you get plenty for that money. Most dealers offer some form of warranty, and the car needs no MOT test for the first three years.
The latest models offer technological advancements that would be impossible in older models; for example, according to Autotrader.com a car made in 2003 would be unlikely to have a satnav, a USB port, anti-lock brakes, side airbags and other safety/entertainment devices. It won’t have collision detection systems, or in car cameras. And your choice of fuel will be petrol or diesel – electric cars were a little way away. Who knows where they will head next?
Depreciation is a necessary evil of buying a new car, but it needn’t be a deal breaker. If you’re planning to keep the car for a few years then it won’t make much difference to you anyway. If you do need to make repairs to a new car then it’s a mixed bag; the parts will be far more readily available, but also more expensive.
Every so often we see cars from the 1940s and 50s on the road – vehicles still going strong 70 or 80 years after they first hit the tarmac. They’ve remained roadworthy because the owners have looked after them, rather than buying regular new models – saving tens of thousands of pounds in the process.
The modern car will lose little of its efficiency in the first 10-20,000 miles, but plenty of money – it will probably lose 20% the moment it leaves the forecourt. Therefore, is it really worth paying several thousand pounds for the status of having a new car, when a used one that operates exactly the same way would be available at far less?
Clearly, there are many more used cars on forecourts, which gives you a vast number of interesting options from dealers such as Jennings and others. The older classics, such as the Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Capri, will most likely become little jewels in the future. Therefore, not only can a used car be a money saver, but it can also be a money maker.
One of the most widely-quoted drawbacks of buying a used car is that it is more likely to go wrong, and that is undoubtedly true. However, the repairs and parts are generally cheaper than for a new car, and if you’re confident enough you’ll probably be able to order them online – make sure you find someone to fit them correctly though.
In conclusion, the idea of buying a new car is often better and more satisfying than the reality. The amount of extra money you have to dish out for a new model might be worth it if you feel that such a boast is necessary for your life, but for most people a two or three year or older car will do just fine.