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Why Buy a Used Car?

Used cars were previously looked down upon by most buyers worried about reliability, technology, and safety. They were essentially seen as secondhand junk, and those who could afford a new car usually went that route. But since the 2008 recession, more people are looking at their purchases in a new light, which has brought a lot of attention to used cars and the value they offer buyers.

In recent years, there's also a growing number of off-lease used cars for sale, as well as a larger number of "gently-used" vehicles than ever before. This trend is helping drive more people to the alternative world of used cars, bringing used car sales to new heights.

If you're wondering why you should buy used cars over new, here are some important details to consider as you head out on your car buying journey:

Incredible Prices and Deals

While you can find some great deals on new cars, there's just no beating the prices offered by most used cars. They've depreciated the most they will through the early years of ownership, making them much more affordable and economical for the average consumer.

In the first three years, most cars lose about 40 percent of their original value. This means that if you purchased a brand new car for $30,000 today, it will only be worth about $18,000 three years from now. And that's with only about 45,000 miles on the odometer. Cars nowadays are able to run upwards of 200,000 miles, so that used car has plenty of reliable life left in it.

If you're concerned about paying less over anything else, buying a new car is one of the worst mistakes you can make (from a financial standpoint). When buying a used car, you can upgrade in class and features without spending more. That's a win-win for everyone.

Reduced Depreciations

As mentioned above, most cars lose a good chunk of value in the first three years of ownership. That depreciation does continue at a relatively high rate up until the fifth year of ownership, but starts to drop less and less each year after that.

By choosing a car that's about 3-5 years old, you can still get a car that's considered "newer" without the crushing depreciation that occurs in those first few years. In the end, this saves you a ton in ownership costs compared to new car buyers, as you'd be able to command a much higher trade-in or private party value for your car should you decide to sell it.

Get More Features for Less

When you buy a new car, you're probably faced with pages and pages of packages, trim levels, accessories, and other options that you could be added to your car. Extra features make us happy, keep us comfortable, and connected, but they don't do much for the overall value of your car.

In fact, in many cases, features on a new car can depreciate quicker than the car itself. This makes used car buyers happy because they can find a used car for sale with nearly the exact features as a new car for half the price (or less).

Features that depreciate at a higher rate than the vehicle itself include moonroofs, premium audio systems, rear-seat entertainments systems, third-row seating, engine upgrades, and sport packages (mostly seen on luxury cars like BMW and Lexus). Even when buying a feature-packed car used, be sure to cross-shop it with a regularly-equipped model and see how much you value those extra features!

They Can Be Just as Reliable as New Cars

While there's nothing like the smell of a new car, they can suffer problems the same way used cars do; it all depends on the individual car. And because modern cars are built with higher standards than in the past, and last longer as a result, you're more than likely to find some used cars are just as reliable or more reliable than new cars.

Before decided to buy a specific model from one of the many used car websites out there, however, be sure to do your research on problems it is likely to encounter at certain milestones. Many cars are plagued by flaws that are well documented on sites like Car Complaints and True Delta, as well as discussion forums dedicated to specific models.

Utilizing these great resources to your advantage can save you a lot of pain and cash down the road when your used car starts to show wear and tear.

With that said, finding used cars for sale that are completely problem-free can be nearly impossible. But with the right amount of knowledge heading into a dealership, you can come out with a used car that can be safely relied upon for years of good service.

New Car Financing Can Leave You Underwater

As previously mentioned, one of the absolute worst parts about buying a new car is the high depreciation it receives the moment you take ownership and drive it off the car dealer's lot. With new car loan terms getting longer, and buyers coming in with less and less cash, however, it becomes dangerous to buy a new car.

If you were to purchase a new car with a 7-year loan with zero money down, there's absolutely no way to avoid being underwater in your loan immediately unless you make triple payments in the first year. This opens buyers up to situations in a lose-lose situation if they were to be put in a financial bind and need to sell the new car soon after purchase. The car would simply be worth much less than anyone would be willing to pay for it, especially as a trade-in at a dealership.

By choosing to purchase a used car with a good down payment, on a reasonable loan term/rate, you're able to avoid depreciation as much as possible and actually enjoy your “new” vehicle without regret.

Lower Registration Fees with Used Cars

In most states, your vehicle registration fee is based on the value of your vehicle. What this means is, the more expensive your vehicle, the higher the cost of registration. While you can still pay a high registration fee with a newer, gently-used car, most of the time new cars end up paying the higher price.

On top of depreciation, taxes, and now registration fees, you're paying the heavy price of owning a brand new car. Once all of these factors set in, it doesn't seem like too great of a deal after all.

More Unique Options Compared to New Cars

While new cars come with plenty of options in terms of optional features, your selection of new cars in any particular segment of vehicle is likely going to be somewhere between 5-10 total. That’s it.

With used cars, on the other hand, you're not just dealing with the vehicles available in one particular model year, you're able to access tons of other unique models that were previously available. You can choose anything from gently-used, heavily-used, and even classics. The world really opens up when you make the switch from new cars to used cars!

But whether you end up deciding used cars are right for you or decide you'd prefer the fresh look and warranty-backed reliability of a new car, be sure to use as your resource to find the best deals on vehicles in your area.