The Benefits of Used Cars

Today I am saying goodbye to Glenda. She helped me through three years of my life and I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade the past few years for anything. She and I had some memorable experiences together: breaking down on the highway in the middle of the night, driving to Red Sox games, giving me good gas mileage and many other exciting events. Today, Glenda is going to a better place. Well...actually, I think she is going to a junkyard, but still. I am getting money for it, so that is a definite plus. Are you confused yet? Glenda is my old car.

When looking for a new car, there is often times a question of whether or not you should buy a used vehicle or a brand new one. There are obviously benefits to both of them. My opinion has always been that buying a quality used vehicle, especially as an 18-25 year old, is much more logical than buying a brand new car. Why, may you ask? Well, here are some reasons I believe that, and also some tips to buy a new car.

Used cars are cheaper

I have owned 3 cars since I have been driving. My first car lasted 10 days as a result of someone running into me and not stopping at a stop sign. Anyway, I been driving for almost 9 years now, and have spend a grand total of $2650 on my cars. Now, of course this doesn't take into account different repairs you may have to go through during the life of the car, but that's the case for any car. Cars, whether new or used, will need servicing here and there. Some more expensive than others, but it's the fact of life. Something I have also found is that used cars tend to be cheaper to fix, especially if you get a more generic car (Toyota, Ford, etc). Take a brake job for example. Newer cars tend to cost more for brake jobs because they have newer parts. My old Camry, I bought brakes for $12. Granted I had to have them put on, but still. It was a cheap fix.

Used cars mean lower insurance

If you buy a new car, be ready to spend insane amounts of money on insurance for the first few years. Also get ready to spend a ton registering your car. Newer cars are more expensive to insure because they are worth more. If they are to get into an accident, it costs more to fix everything. I spent $1200 on Glenda (my 86 Camry) and the insurance was dirt cheap. Why? Well for one, the car was really old, but it also wasn't worth much in the Kelley Blue Book either. It was cheaper to ensure than a new(er) car. On top of that, the car only had 75 thousand miles on it. If you know about Camrys, it was just getting broken in. So yes, it was old, but it had plenty of miles left to give. In the end, it saved me lots of money on my insurance.

If you shop around, you could find a great used car deal

I am not a mechanic by any means. I can change my oil, change a tire in under 10 minutes and tell you when something doesn't sound right. Other then that, if you put me under the hood of a car I'll just smile and say, "Oh that's nice". I do however, know my mechanic, and know him well. I have been friends of his for years (before I was driving) and respect his opinion of cars. Anytime myself or my family members want to look at a car, we call him to ask him what his opinion is. On top of that, he also knows of cars that are being sold for the price range that we are looking. I can't tell you how many cars he has found for dirty cheap (in the $500 range) with a few things wrong with it. While one person may not think it's worth fixing, with another few hundred dollars, my mechanic will have it on the road. I've seen it before, and I'm sure I'll see it again. When I go off looking for a car again next year, I'll be looking in the Uncle Henry's, and the classifieds in the paper. I have found both of my cars by doing that, and both have lasted me enough time to pay them both off.

Are there down sides to buying a used car? Well, I'm sure you could make a case against it. You may end up with a lemon. You probably won't have any warranty depending on how used you buy. It may come with a few more miles on it then you'd like. In the end, I have found that if you do your research and do it well, you can walk away with a really nice used car. Click here for some steps you can take before buying a used car so you know how to approach it!

Do you buy used cars?

Seth P.