Few of us, given an unlimited budget, would choose to buy a used car over a pristine new model. However, few of us actually have unlimited budgets; and that means that we have to be circumspect about the vehicles we buy. If you’re looking for the right car for your family, at the right price, then there’s a good chance that a used model might be your best option.
However, it’s at this point that many people stop short. Sure, they can see the benefits of a used car; the lower cost, the chance to achieve more high-tech features without having to pay the “new” premium, the fact that you won’t have to cope with the sudden depreciation in value of a new vehicle. Yet somehow, as persuasive as these benefits might be, they’re often simply insufficient to persuade you to buy a used vehicle.
Check out this infographic from Absolute Reg which highlights car depreciation rates and which cars hold their value best – they're not what you would expect!
Below, we’ll look at some of the most common reasons for this reticence, and explain why your concerns may be unfounded…
Concern: Used cars are dirty
The truth is that… well… this concern is true. Used cars can be dirty, especially when compared to the unspoiled delight of a shiny new model. However, there’s a few things to keep in mind when worrying about the cleanliness of used cars:
- Cars can be cleaned to meet your exacting standards. Even the upholstery — which many people fear they cannot clean sufficiently — can be effectively cleaned so that it looks, and smells, as good as new.
- Not all used cars are filthy with dirt.
It’s the second point that it is important to remember. If you choose to buy a used vehicle from a reputable dealer (as you should), then the dealer will usually completely clean, scrub, and polish every inch of the cars on their lot before offering them for sale. Take a tour of your local dealership forecourt to see; you’ll be surprised by just how new these not-new vehicles can look when they’ve had a proper makeover.
Concern: Used cars don’t have a warranty
Warranties are incredibly useful financial products, helping to ensure that you get value for money for your purchase. The vast majority of new cars have a warranty included in the purchase price, which helps to protect your investment, thus making new cars the better long-term financial purchase… right?
Sure, that would be the case if warranties were strictly restricted to new vehicles. Happily, they’re not; there are plenty of specialist companies that offer used car warranties, so you can enjoy all the benefits of a warranty without having to pay a premium for a new vehicle.
Concern: Used cars aren’t safe
There is no doubt that used vehicles have the potential to be unsafe— but then again, so do brand new vehicles. The best way of ensuring you’re buying a safe used car is to adhere to the following basic rules:
- Buy from a reputable source. It’s usually better to buy from a dealership than from a private individual, even if you know the individual personally. Buying from a dealership gives you an immediate point of contact if something goes amiss with the vehicle.
- Check the vehicle out thoroughly prior to purchasing; if necessary, take along a specialist mechanic to check as well. It might even be worth taking a friend with you and telling the dealership they’re a specialist mechanic, even if they’re not; if the dealership sound edgy about the idea, then that’s probably a sign that something is amiss!
- Test drive the car at least twice before buying it, and ask the staff member joining you in the vehicle to remain quiet for the majority of the ride. You need to be able to listen to the engine rather than their sales pitch, so politely ask for a few moments of silence so you can listen for squeaky brakes and other worrying engine sounds.
- Carefully inspect all the paperwork that is supplied with the vehicle. If something is missing, or you suspect there’s a falsified document, contact the regulatory authority to ascertain if the documents you have been provided with are accurate.
No vehicle is ever 100% safe, but ensuring you go through the steps above should help to settle any concern about the particular safety of used cars once and for all.
The next time you’re in the market for a new car, it might be worth thinking about a new older car instead. The prices are lower, you’ll have more choice than you would with new models, and after reading the above, your concerns about buying used cars should be somewhat rectified. Enjoy your new, old purchase!