Car Buying Guide - New vs. Used
Posted: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
This time of year, the car sales pitches hit high tide. Labor
Day sales and "summer close out sales " start to pop up at every
dealership. They are trying to sell off last years models
before the new ones take over popularity, and they are trying
to target those who need cars for the new school year- such as
college kids or new drivers. Regardless of what you are
buying or what you need, here are some tips to consider.
New vs. Used:
There are good deals to be made on new cars because in August, many
new car models come out. The old ones that have not been sold
need to be moved. But there are also always deals to be made
on used cars because that is the type of merchandise dealers do not
want to keep around too long. So the determination must be
made as to what is the best deal. Here are a few factors that
should play a role in the decision:
- New cars come with a manufacturer's bumper to bumper
warranty. Most used cars are sold "as-is" meaning you take
the risk of there being problems with the car. While extended
warranties on used cars are an option, they are often not worth the
expense as there are always coverage issues.
- New cars don't have anybody's bad history. You are the
first owner and those first miles are all yours. With a used
car, there is a history that you may not know about. More
research is required.
- Negotiating a price on a new car may be more tedious. The
dealers all have a certain amount of room to work with, but there
are bottom lines to the prices. With used cars, there is much
more leeway to negotiate a better price.
- Overall, you are really combating
with Price v. Quality. You pay more for a new car, but you
also have a better quality product.
If You Buy New:
If you are a new car buyer, here are some tips that you should be
aware of before you buy:
- Length and duration of warranty. The warranty of
a new car is its best feature. The manufacturer warrants a
vehicle free from defect, and will repair or replace any defective
part free of charge. But for how long? Many cars are
warranted for 3 years or 36,000 miles - whichever comes
first. A longer warranty than that can be very useful .
So be mindful of how much you drive.
- Gas Mileage and the Environment: Gas prices have
soared over the last few years In the summertime, they are
typically the highest. This has brought upon more popularity
to electric vehicles and hybrids. If you are in a pure gas
vehicle, mileage per gallon is critical. Surely you do not
want to find yourself at the pump every week.
- History of Problems with that Vehicle: Some
vehicles have a bad history. Certain types of makes and
models have issues that continue to pop up on them that
manufacturers fail to correct. Spend some time on the
internet looking for chat rooms, complaint boards (see the Better
Business Bureau), and even pending class action lawsuits.
This research may tell you about something in a car, such as a
recurring problem, that may steer you away from getting that
- Reputation for Service: Often a new car will
need some sort of service on it. All cars need to be
maintained to some degree. The dealership and manufacturer
team together to provide you the service you need on the car.
Poor service quality can do more than just sour your feelings
toward the repair facility, it can effect your entire ownership
experience. Pleasant, efficient and effective service makes
the new car buying experience better.
If You Buy Used:
If you are in the used car market, here are some important tips you
- Ask Questions: Make the sales person tell you as
much as they can about the history of the car. Ask him or her
how they got that answer. Did they get this car as a
trade-in, or was it purchased at an
auction? This can factor into how much they
- Order a Carfax: Carfax.com is a website that
maintains a database of vehicle histories. You can plug in
the VIN of the vehicle and get a detailed history of the
vehicle. It can tell you if the vehicle was previously a
rent-a-car, a lemon, or in an accident. You can even see how
the mileage increments increased. Many dealers will offer you
a carfax report. If they do not, ask for one. If they
refuse, a red flag should go up in your mind. Write the VIN
down, go home and get your own report.
- Get the Repair History: This is not always
possible, but if your used car is being sold by a manufacture
authorized dealer of that type of car (i.e. you are buying a used
Chevy from a Chevy dealer) then you can ask for a "warranty history
report." The dealer should be able to show you all the
repairs made to the vehicle under warranty.
- Note the Mileage: It goes without saying that
the older a car gets, the more apt it is to break down. Cars
put on an average of just under 15,000 miles per hear. Note
the year of the care and the number of miles on it. If the
car averages more than 15,000 miles per year, you are getting a
vehicle that has been used top greater excess than most.
- Bring a Mechanic: We often hear the story of
how the car drove just fine at the test drive, and then within a
few days, the car breaks down. It's just amazing how the car
will perform just perfectly when it needs to be bought, then breaks
down once it is purchased. Like a puppy that wants to get
picked out of the litter. Covert or lurking problems can be
detected by the properly trained eye. Bring a mechanic along
if you know one.
If your new car purchase turns out to be a lemon, or the used car
you purchase turns out to be something that was not as represented
to you, Contact Us for a free case