Are you considering buying a car in the near future and find yourself asking "should I buy a new or used car?"
Then you have an exciting choice lying ahead. With brand new ranges rolling out in 2023, the new car market in Australia is looking promising for both petrol powered and electric car buyers. Used cars on the other hand have become increasingly more expensive as the demand surged in 2022, to the point where used cars were turning into a profitable investment.
Thankfully, it seems we’re returning to a more balanced marketplace – however, there are still a trunk load of factors to weigh up, from long-term cost saving to dodgy second hand sellers. In this article we’ll supply you with the key arguments for each option. By the end you will be able to make a confident decision on what car suits your needs.
Benefits of buying a brand new car
Peace of mind
A new car completely rids you of the worries related to used machinery and dishonest sellers. You will never be concerned about being tricked out of your hard-earned cash for a hunk of metal with incomplete service history.
Unforeseen mechanical issues have a habit of popping up right after an ownership change, but you can eliminate the risk and avoid the anxiety of discovering costly obstacles down the road by buying a new car.
Most brands implement a new car warranty, based on either kilometres or years since purchase. In addition to giving you peace of mind, this will drive your maintenance costs down and protect you from faults associated with the engine, transmission, and other major components. It's worth noting that some manufacturers require you to service your car at a qualified mechanic to uphold a valid warranty.
Lower running costs
Servicing a car is generally more costly and required more frequently as the car ages. Although the purchase price of a 2010 model may seem appealing at first, you can expect it to rack up maintenance expenses quickly, while running a greater risk of taking on a major mechanical problem.
The fuel economy is also markedly better in a new vehicle. Depending on the love and care devoted by the last owner, a used car will typically be thirstier than a brand new car, which inevitably becomes a pain point for the budget-minded owner in the long run. Save money across all these ongoing costs by going directly to the dealership.
Better rates on financing
If you’re planning to organise financing for your next vehicle, you’ll want to take into consideration interest rates. Financiers prefer to lend out money for new cars and will often provide significantly lower interest rates than what you would get on a used car loan.
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Even though the second hand market is immensely vast, you're not guaranteed to find your desired car. Only new cars give you the power to customise spec level, colour palette, interior trim, and engine type.
There are simply no ways to miss out with a new car purchase, not to mention the iconic new car smell. In other words, the only way to get exactly what you want is to opt for a set of fresh new wheels.
Up-to-date tech and safety features
The most distinct difference between a new and a used car becomes apparent when you step inside. The rapidly developing world of technology makes everything more than three years old feel dated and insufficient. If you're a tech savvy buyer or appreciate all the features of tech and safety, there is no doubt you should at least buy a near new car.
Benefits of buying a used car
Value for money
Let's get the most obvious advantage out of the way first. The retail price on a second hand car is normally going to be significantly lower than on a new car, although it varies with the type of use it has undergone. A "young" and lightly used car actually retains value remarkably well, but the story is quite different for practical purpose cars or once the first three years have passed. This could be a powerful tool with bargaining potential, particularly in private sales.
"Once you drive a new car off the lot, it immediately halves in value." While this statement may not be entirely true for all vehicles, it paints a good picture of how quickly a new car depreciates. By buying second hand you save yourself the risk of selling with a substantial loss, and slash some of the concern for future values.
No waiting time
Any car listed on a classifieds website such as Cartopia is usually available right away. If you call the seller in the morning, you can likely give it a test drive and own it by the afternoon. In a new car market with ever-exceeding wait times, this is an important consideration to keep in mind. Of course, it may take a moment to find the right car for you, but you’re likely to spend less time in total if you purchase a second hand car.
Free choice of mechanics
A used car can be serviced virtually anywhere as long as it's not a niche brand that requires a specialty mechanic. This gives you the opportunity to compare offers and freely choose where to service your vehicle. As many carmakers limit your servicing options through the manufacturer warranty, it could prevent you from taking advantage of more affordable service.
To decide on a new or used car you ought to weigh up how important the listed benefits are to you. Global supply shortages have shaken up the entire car market in Australia, but as the industry returns to its regular pace, these remain the key arguments to ask yourself.
If you happen to value all the latest features in tech and a warranty that provides peace of mind, you would be in the market to buy a new car. If your biggest concern is the purchase price and how it will hold in value when you eventually sell it off, your best bet is to look for a vehicle second hand from a dealership or a private seller.