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Benefits of Buying Used Cars

What's So Special About Used Cars?

One recurring, slightly-heated discussion in my home revolves around cars. Am I a car person? Definitely not. But my better half is obsessed with them. It's healthy that we're getting our opinions out now as we're attempting to be more financially compatible, and it really does feel like most conversations end on a progressive note.

I truly think used cars are in my blood, because it's really difficult for me to see why a new car is better than a gently used one. The Motley Fool and I may just be related, as it recently published five solid reasons why a used car is a good idea; in my opinion, number two provides the strongest argument against new cars.

  1. Cars are more reliable than ever. Pick up a copy of Consumer Reports annual auto issue to study reviews of the best used cars.
  2. Avoid the worst of the depreciation hit. A car's value goes down the most during the first two or three years of ownership. Purchasing a car that's only a couple years old will last you for many years and miles and you'll save a ton.

Check out three more reasons to buy a used car when you


  1. More car for less money. The Fool says: Buying used lets you take advantage of someone else's depreciation hit. You can buy a fancier used model for the same price as a new, cheaper car.
  2. The Internet helps you find what you want. Peruse the used listings on sites like and before visiting dealerships.
  3. Dealer "certification" programs. Used cars that are certified are inspected by the manufacturer and sold with a warranty. These cars will come with a higher price, but you'll avoid the costs of having to deal with any possible problems hidden by a private seller.


SugarKat SugarKat 9 years
I bought a new civic in 2004. It's held it's value pretty well. Hondas are good for that. If I were to go back and get a "new to me" car, I'd probably buy a used one, but still when they're at the dealer sometimes they can be just as expensive.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
I have had one new car, and that was a fun experience but its also a futile one. A new car, once bought, is instantly a used car and depreciating right out from under you. The used cars I owned were all awesome, but I made a point to do a lot of research beforehand, and go to good dealers and drive hard bargains...years ago I drove an 88 Honda Prelude that had 40K miles on it when I bought it (new for Hondas tbh) and 185K when I sold it, in good shape still, to a teenaged girl and her family for her first car. More recently the last car I owned in the UK was an Audi A6 diesel which got eye-wateringly GOOD gas mileage and was cosy and comfortable. I bought it used, in perfect was 3 years old and had only 15K miles on it. Sold it a few years later for about 2/3 the price, with 45K or so. Buying a new car is a total waste of money unless you simply CANNOT find what you want in a used car... The main thing is with used cars is I find you need to have at least some understanding of the "right" questions to use and if your use of the car is suitable to the vehicle. For instance, what kind of miles are they? If a car is relatively new but has a lot of miles, it was probably a commuter/highway car, and often those types of miles are less wear on a car than stop-start city driving. If the car has 70-80K miles on it its worth asking if it uses a timing belt or chain as most belts need to be replaced around 50-100K miles, a fairly expensive (300-500 dollars) procedure. Some cars also "age" much better than others, so brand dependability, repair costs and suchlike should also be factored in. New cars are a waste! Its a fun moment in buying them, sure, but in a few months, its just another used car.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
My family has always purchased used cars. My mom drives a used Vovlo, my brother a used BMW, and I drive a used Jetta (I paid for it 100%, not my parents, but my dad helped me when searching). We've always found great deals and haven't had any problems with driving used cars.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i can definitely respect all the information on why getting a used car could be better, but myself - i'm still a new car person and i think that i'm going to stay that way for a while. lucky for me, my fiance is a used car type - well...sort of. he's had his car for a long time and rather than get a new car, he's going to keep it until he can't and allow me the luxury to continue to get a nice new car, and we'll share that. we usually take my car places even those his is really just fine - and i'm ok with that since i know that he's making the concession to me in the spirit of not having 2 car payments since his is paid off. i know that cars are built to last these days and manufacturers are doing more to help used car sales increase since they must get some type of kick back, but for me, i think that i just don't feel comfortable having something that's been used by someone else cause you can't guarantee the type of care that they put into the vehicle while they owned it.
d_et_g d_et_g 9 years
My parents bought 1 new car ever and it was in the 80s - haha - used cars are a secret money saver! But don't give it away! I need those suckers to keep buying new so I can buy my cars from them! I bought a 2 year old VW 5 years ago and have yet to have a single problem. And thanks to the rise in gas prices, I can actually sell it today for more than I paid for it 5 years ago!
jklimas jklimas 9 years
You *only* got a Lexus IS? LOL...
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Shopaholichunny!!! A Lexus IS is still super NICE!!! I want that car too! I was saving for one, but then my bf ended up giving me his Accord cuz he bought a new veihcal and wanted me to have a reliable car :) But honestly, I want the Lexus IS250 AWD!!!!
aylee aylee 9 years
I'm all for used cars. We got our car for less than half the price of it new. It's been more than 8 yrs and still running good. We had a few repairs over the years, but add the cost of repairs and car, it would be just about half the price of new. By the way, we got it from a dealership.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
:rotfl: Lovely! My "ultimate" dream car is the BMW 6series but it's like $100,000! :jawdrop: So my parents were like NO way! LOL So they got me a Lexus IS so I could match with my boyfriend. :)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Shopaholichunny that is so sweet of your parents! I wish my parents would buy me my dream car!!! Mmmmm a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S!!!!!!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
I agree. It's probably best to buy a used car but like facin8 said it depends on your situation. I was looking for a used car a few months ago but luckily my parents bought me my dream car! They are paying it for me now but eventually they told me that I have to start paying for it. So I'm trying to save up for that.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
chatondeneige... I do have a used car! I mentioned that already! My boyfriend gave me his Accord! I'm not anit-used car :) I am just saying you have to be careful who you get them from and who drove it before you!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 9 years
Congrats on your boyfriend's job, Lovely_1. I also know several people who work at (three different) used car dealerships, and it's all about finding someone who's honest - they exist. Just because your boyfriend works with shady people doesn't mean everyone is shady. My car was new when my dad bought it, and he gave it to me when I wrecked my old one (which was used when it was bought, but worked perfectly for about seven years until it was hit on an interstate) so I haven't purchased a car for myself. But when I do, I'll go to a used car dealership. I just don't get the anti-used car sentiment.
lawchick lawchick 9 years
that sucks Lovely! I should note that with my "new" car, I never had any hassle at all with the warranty.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Yea lawchick...happened to my bf. Before he started working for the lot he bought an expensive used Lincoln...anyways ALL th coils blew out on it and the legit dealership said the coils weren't covered so he had to pay the $1300 out of his own pocket....
lawchick lawchick 9 years
My car was new when I bought it 6 years ago, and I loved that. Some used cars come with warranties but they often aren't as comprehensive as new car warranties. I was screwed by a used car dealership when I was in high school --- and it was a really "legit" dealership. My car turned out to be an expensive disaster and they wouldn't fix it. I could have gotten a lawyer involved and gotten them to fix it, I'm sure, but that was too much expense and hassle. I would consider buying a used car again, but I'd prefer to get it from someone I know.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
very good points facin8me! Hondas are specially true for the re-sale value...I got an accord :)
facin8me facin8me 9 years
I think there are two important points this article misses. The first is that it partially depends on what brand of car you are looking to buy. A few years ago when my husband and I were in the market for a Honda Civic we went intending to buy used. But it just didn't make any sense to buy used because Hondas hold their value so well (as to Toyotas). Most of the 1-2 year old cars we were looking at were only 1000-2000 less than a new Civic, and didn't carry as low of a finance rate- so it just didn't make sense for us to buy used. The second thing to consider is that if you live in a major urban area a used car may have a lot of stop and go miles on it that could decrease the life of the car or increase repair costs down the line. I think people need to do their research on both new and used cars and decide what works best for their particular situation.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Hmm well my boyfriend works part-time for a used car I trust the things he tells me abou them :)
foxie foxie 9 years
We bought both of our cars from Enterprise. We were SO SO happy with that choice. Cars sold by Enterprise have to pass every single point of their rigid inspections. Cars that don't pass are sold to your average run-of-the-mill lots. Also you know that regardless of how renters drove it, it was always serviced regularly. They both came with warranties, too.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 9 years
Lovely_1, I guess you and I have different priorities, and differing levels of faith in people. It's not like they can refuse to fix something covered in a warranty, and if you're not a dumbazz, you read a warranty before buying something, new or used. I hardly find dealerships "shady," based on my experience with them.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I never had a car but if I was to get one, I would get a certified used. I see nothing wrong with used cars.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
chatondeneige, that's only if you get them from a dealship though. And dealerships are even more shady then regualar people selling their cars!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 9 years
Lovely_1, used cars DO come with warranties these days. It was point 5 of the article.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I only have a used car because it was my boyfriends before and he had it sonce there was only 50,000kms on it. I would NEVER buy used if it wasn't from someone I knew very well. Yea, it's true, new cars are more expensive BUT you have warrenty and you WILL get your money's worth out of them. No one drove it before so you know it wasn;t beaten to the ground by some young punk. My dad told me that there is no point in buying a used car if you need to take out a loan to pay for it. Used cars do not have a warrenty, so, if something happens you still have to make that monthly payment AND find money to fix it! Plus, you don't know who drove it before...I knew a guy who would buy a new car every coupoe of years. He would get a car and trade it in 2 years later. Guess what? He didn't do an oil change in his WHOLE LIFE! I never serviced his cars. He just drove them into the ground for the 1st 2 years and then traded in for a new one. You nevr know who drove your used car before you...
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