Used Vs. New Car: What’s Right for You?

Purchasing your next car can be exciting, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the available options.

Before heading to the dealership, do your homework to simplify the purchase process: Research vehicle pricing, determine your down payment budget, and check your credit score to give you greater financing options, says Cari Crane, Carvana Senior Industry Analyst.

When you’re buying a car, one of the primary decisions you’ll need to make is whether a new or used vehicle is right for you. Crane offers some advice to help you evaluate your options.

New Vehicles

Advantages: A new vehicle can offer improved fuel efficiency, the latest technology options, and full manufacturer warranties. Some dealerships also offer 0% financing on new car purchases. Additionally, you can customize a new vehicle’s add-ons, such as roof racks, heated seats, and more. “There may be an opportunity to buy a vehicle with the exact specifications that you want,” Crane says.

Limitations: One of the biggest drawbacks to buying a new car is that its monetary value depreciates most significantly within the first few years of use. Another challenge can be in negotiating an offer below the dealership’s price. Research vehicle prices online before heading to the dealership to help level the playing field.

Certified Pre-owned Vehicles

Advantages: Certified pre-owned vehicles are used vehicles that have passed a rigorous manufacturer’s multipoint inspection process. They are usually less than 3 years old and may still be covered by a warranty. In order to be deemed a certified pre-owned vehicle, a vehicle has to meet certain age, mileage and condition requirements, which can give buyers peace of mind, Crane says.

Limitations: While purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle allows you to bypass much of its depreciation, the price will likely be higher than other used vehicles. Additionally, the warranty may vary from a new car warranty and could limit what’s covered, Crane says.

Used Vehicles

Advantages: Typical used cars are often more affordably priced than certified pre-owned vehicles and generally won’t depreciate in value as quickly as new cars. Buying a used car from a dealership — as opposed to an individual owner — frequently offers a few additional advantages: Financing options are often available, and dealerships may be more inclined to remedy issues that arise after a purchase to maintain a positive reputation, Crane says.

Limitations: A dealership’s supply of specific makes and models is usually more limited than new vehicle options. Also depending on the vehicle’s age and other factors, warranty coverage may not be available.

To see what others are paying for new and used vehicles and to search for your next ride, visit the Regions Auto Center.