Buying a vehicle is a big decision for any person, family, or business. The selection is vast, not just between model and features but also between new or used vehicles. In a healthy market, the line between buying a new or second-hand car is often thin, based on the best deal you can find for vehicle quality. Some used vehicles are barely touched, almost as fresh as the new vehicles on your dealership forecourt, which means that the decision between new or used is an important one to make.
Should you buy a new or pre-owned vehicle for your next purchase? Let’s explore the most relevant differences between them so each reader can make the best decision for their budget, circumstances, and available nearby inventory.
1) Balancing Budget and Performance – New vs Second-Hand Car
When choosing between new and pre-owned vehicles, the most important calculation is performance-to-value. If your job requires you to drive something modern and pristinely well-kept, then a new car is a valuable investment. Is the vehicle for utility purposes and style is not an issue? If so, you could save on a pre-owned car with a few scratches or imperfect upholstery.
It’s all about deciding what the best balance of budget and performance is for you. You may need a good engine with little consideration for dashboard features, or you might need a rolling computer that must be from the last few years of production. Decide what is most important to you before you go to buy.
2) Duration of Ownership
An important consideration is how long you plan to own the vehicle. Are you investing in a long-term family or business vehicle that will serve for many years? If so, then a new car is an excellent investment to get the most years possible from your purchase. If you are investing for the short-term, or plan to use it for local journeys – consider the deal that offers the least value depreciation over time. Certified vehicles with less than eight years on the road may be a better alternative.
3) Occupational Style Requirements
Your job may also influence whether you need a new or pre-owned vehicle. Some sales companies require their employees to drive cars within specific guidelines while at work. You may need a car of a particular colour, make, or even a specific model. You may be required to drive a car produced in the last five years to make yourself or your company appear favourably in business. It may even be cost-effective to get a newer car if you are required to travel long distances.
There is also the flip-side of the coin. If you are purchasing a vehicle to use as a base, for example, a van or four-wheel drive for outdoor work, then a second-hand car may be a better investment. In the past, it was essential to buy a car with lower mileage, but due to improvements in the auto industry, a vehicle with 60,000 miles is no longer considered high risk. Shop around and take into account your specific requirements – you don’t need to buy the first car you see.
4) Private Used Sale vs Certified Pre-Owned
If you are considering a pre-owned vehicle, know the difference between a private sale and a certified pre-owned sale. When a dealership takes in a used car through their manufacturer and certifies it for re-sale, this means that the vehicle should function like-new. It has had all essential components maintained and all missing parts replaced. You know there are no broken components or costly repairs because the dealership has put its reputation behind the certification and the sale. Certified pre-owned vehicles often come with new warranties from the dealership that certifies and sells them, not to mention a complete clean inside and out.
Private used car sales come from non-dealerships and are simply vehicles driven by others that are for sale. There is no certification that the vehicle drives well or will work a week after purchase. Whether you buy from an individual or a used-car lot, the buyer needs to be vigilant. It’s up to you to inspect and confirm that a vehicle is worth the price you pay and that it is in good condition.
5) Accident and Maintenance History
New vehicles are guaranteed to perform off the garage forecourt and need minimal maintenance. If support is required, the dealership offers a warranty that covers it.
Pre-owned vehicles, however, can come with unexpected maintenance requirements. This slowly increases the total cost of the car over time. Worse, some pre-owned vehicles may have been in accidents that do not always appear on the basic car history report.
You can use the following link to the .gov website to check the MOT history of a vehicle or if you want a more detailed check use the RAC Vehicle History Check on their website.It’s worth paying the small fee for a detailed accident history report when preparing to buy any second-hand vehicle.
6) Lifespan of Current Parts
Whether you opt for a new car or a second-hand car, you need to ensure you maintain it regularly to keep it driving smoothly.
Beyond basic maintenance, consider the lifespan of the components of a vehicle in addition to the mileage on the odometer. Parts need to be replaced from time to time, and the older a car is, the sooner you may need to purchase replacements. Sometimes a lifespan is measured in use, but some parts degrade even if the car sits unused in a garage for a few years.
A new car would have the maximum lifespan for all parts, especially if it was manufactured within the last two years. A second-hand car may need things like the battery or AC replaced sooner rather than later.
7) Available Warranties
Warranties are one of the best things about buying a any car from a dealership. A good local dealership can offer you a warranty package that will help you take care of your car (and ensure everything is working properly) for the first few years of ownership.
This is true for both new and certified pre-owned vehicles sold by the dealership. However, new cars usually have better warranties because they cost, overall, less to maintain.
8) Car Insurance Requirements
Finally, consider the requirements of your car insurance. Insurance companies are finicky, so no article can say definitively whether a new or used car will benefit your insurance costs.
Some cars are less costly to insure than others. People carriers will cost less than convertibles. Red cars are more costly to insure than white cars (or most other colours). Vehicles with excellent safety features are more insurable than more lightweight designs. New or used can also make a difference, but it depends on your insurer.
Have you chosen a second-hand car? Speak to the experts!
If you decide to go for a second hand car, you might want to look at preventative maintenance as a precaution. TerraClean is a patented engine cleaning system that helps to increase vehicle efficiency by removing carbon and tar build-up. Over time, Petrol engines leave unwanted deposits throughout the combustion system, and this isn’t always obvious at the time of purchase.
Similarly, Diesel engines are affected due to particle filters requiring more maintenance than typical catalytic converters. Blocked DPF’s, therefore, are an increasingly common problem in second-hand diesel cars and should be examined as soon as possible.
TerraClean differs from alternative carbon cleaning solutions because it uses a very highly-refined fuel on which the vehicle being cleaned is run. Part of a two-stage process, at one of our 500 UK and Ireland service centres, the fuel is supplied via our patented TerraClean decarbonising equipment. TerraClean can remove most engine contaminants – leaving your vehicle running close to its optimum level once more.