Our content is free. When you purchase through links on our site, we earn a commission. Learn more

Should I Buy A Used Car?

Is This What You Picture When You Think "Used Car?"

How Much For Your Headache?

The common misconception about used cars is that you’re just buying someone else’s headaches.  There are a few ways to avoid purchasing another person’s headaches which we will highlight below.

This particular rumor finds itself grounded in the truth of history, but it has since become a truth of the past and myth of the present.  Nowadays, a large portion of used cars have what is referred to as a lease/fleet history, and these are the kinds of cars that you will want to look at.

They type of fleet that they belonged to is a very important factor when looking at cars.  You wouldn’t exactly want a former police car, or taxi as those types of cars get driven hard.  What you may want to look at are rental fleet cars, driving school cars, and cars with a lease history. You want a car that you can drive 200,000 miles and know that it will require minimal maintenance.

Speed Savvy School Student?

The reason for these particular cars is because they are typically well-maintained, they aren’t driven as hard as many might suspect, and they tend to be quite inexpensive.  Sure, the driving school cars may have had a few hard stops, but they were most likely driven at extremely low speeds for a majority of the life, and any high speeds they might have done, were done under the eye of an instructor that the student is trying to impress.

Reckless Rental Road Ragers!

Rental cars are just as easy to pin as well.  Who rents cars?  Business people who flew in, families on vacation, and people of the like.  Many tend to think that a rental car was abused terribly, when the people who rent them are stuck in positions of professionalism or maturity.  Many rental places won’t even allow people under the age of 25 to rent!  In addition to people being above a certain age and having family or being on business, people just generally don’t want to get caught being reckless and be charged the fees.  When was the last time you took a rental car out and did doughnuts?  If you have, then you’re apart of the much smaller group of people.

Leery of Lease Lovers!

This one isn’t as easy to defend, but generally vehicles are leased by businessmen such as realtors, lawyers, and many people who have to travel.  Generally, this level of professionalism would treat their vehicle with respect because, for the lack of any other good reason, people might see them being reckless.  There is absolutely the possibility of getting a mistreated lease car, but your chances are much lower than a car with a regular owner history.

Buy Here, Prey Here

You’re just asking to get a used, abused, mistreated vehicle if you shop these lots.  This is not to say that there might be some honest ones out there, but they get their vehicles at auction, and many of the lots are too small to bid high, so they snap up the junkers that no one wants.  When you trade your old, dilapidated vehicle to the local new car lot, they send it off to auction because they aren’t going to risk their reputation placing your headache on their used car lot (generally).  At auction, the little guys pick up the car, patch it up (usually temporarily) and put it on the lot for sale.  Go to reputable dealers, with decent cars, not the fly by night “buy here, prey here.”

The Merits Of A Used Car

A used car has many merits such as:

  • Affordability: You can get a quality car without the jaw dropping depreciation of a new car.
  • Dependability:  If you shop right you can get a great, low maintenance car.
  • Attractive: Just because it is used, that doesn’t mean it has to be a rust bucket!
  • Savings: In addition to the lower up front price, you save a lot of money from the interest compared to a new car purchase.

Not to say that new cars don’t share many of these merits, but considering interest and depreciation, we hope you don’t need your right arm or leg so that you can pay for those “pieces of mind.”

The Negatives Of A Used Vehicle

EVERY car will need to be maintained.  Yes, it is very likely that a brand new car will go the first few years without the need of maintenance, but how much are you willing to pay for that convenience?  Are you willing to pay $8,000 – $10,000? Because that is what you’ll end up forking out between interest and depreciation to have the convenience of not having to stop by an auto shop for a little while.  Here’s the kicker: it won’t last forever, and eventually you will have to get the formerly new car fixed.  Just buy another new car you say?  You might as well donate your yearly salary to the car dealer because you’ll be hemorrhaging money.

So, while we will concede that a used car will probably need maintenance in the first year, we would much rather deal with that, rather than toss our money away.  If you are absolutely wanting a new car, then you should read our article about new cars!  Also don’t forget to check out our resident car expert over at Car Negotiation Coach.  He has tons of great articles about buying cars including:

Photo Credit: FreeFoto

Share This