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Should I buy a new or a used car?

New or used cars are both great options. Figure out which one is best for you right here!

There are two lines of thought when buying a vehicle: those who swear by new vehicles and those who will always go with a used car. Both are great ways to solve your automotive needs. Here are a few thoughts to help you figure out which one suits you best.

Going new

Opting to go with a new car has a lot of benefits. You get a brand new vehicle, which still has a full warranty, should not need any repairs for a while and has everything working as intended… new brakes, suspension, tires, no scratches, a brand new engine, up-to-date technology and no door dings on a shiny newly painted body. Add to this the ego flattering aspects of having the newest shiny rolling stock on the block and the so elusive new car smell welcoming you every time you get in your new ride and it is easy to understand why new cars are the choice for many.

Related: What car should I buy?

While it is less true today with fixed option packages rather than stand alone options, you do get the chance to choose a vehicle equipped closer to the way you want it and select your color when going new.

Women sitting in car, receiving keys from dealer


On the downside, the price of entry is the highest and you will be hit be depreciation hard in the first three to four years of ownership. A quick look on Canadian Black Book’s website, showcasing future value and actual trade-in or selling it yourself values, shows that, depending on the model, vehicles will loose fifty percent of their original price three to four years after being on the road.

How about a used car?

From a financial standpoint, opting to go with a used car makes a lot of sense. For half the price of a new car you get the same model and brand of car, but four years older. Seen another way, the price of entry of a brand new compact car will allow you, on the used market, to get a bigger, well equipped or more luxurious vehicle.

RELATED: Top Ten Things to Consider When Buying a Family Car

There are drawbacks though. A proper search of the vehicle’s history, through an online tool is imperative to help figure out if the vehicle has been damaged, totalled or not been thrown in the hands of too many owners.

Other drawbacks have to do with the fact you will never know how well the vehicle has been maintained or exactly in which shape all the vehicle’s functions are. A simple contingency plan will help you here: reduce your budget by a grand or two and keep this money aside for the first year. This will allow you to be prepared and be able to afford the repair if the brakes, suspension or some electric gadget isn’t working as well as it should.

Which is best for me?

The answer depends a lot on your own needs and tolerance for risk. If you can’t stand not knowing if a car will need repairs or not in the first year of ownership, then go new. If you like to change cars every year or so, just because, then go used and your wallet will feel better for it. In the same vein, if the financial aspect is more important than showing up in the next best thing, a used car will be golden.

A key point to keep in mind when going used: no two used cars are the same and you need to do a bit more homework before buying.

Related: Here’s how to buy your next car

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