What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car?

Used cars come with pros and cons. Your job is to weigh the pros against the cons. Different potential used-car buyers have different requirements, so depending on those requirements, some cons may not be as much of a drawback to them as they would be to other potential buyers.

Generally, these are the most common pros and cons of buying a used car:

PROS

1. Used cars are more affordable.

This has to be the most obvious advantage of buying a used car. Note that brand-new cars depreciate relatively quickly, typically at 20% to 30% by the end of the first year, and then annually after that at 15% to 18% for the next five years. Depending on the make, model, and year, a used car will cost between 10% to 70% of their original price, unless you’re looking at classic cars and luxury vehicles. Other factors that dictate the price of a used car are age and general condition, and fair market value.

2. Used cars come with lower insurance rates.

Depreciation lowers not only the cost of a used car but also its insurance rates. Just be aware that if you’re buying a car that’s ten years or older, some insurance companies may reject your application.

3. Used cars are easy to customize

With a brand-new car, your manufacturer’s warranty will stipulate that you refrain from making modifications while you’re within coverage, which is usually from three to five years. With a used car, there is no manufacturer’s warranty to stop you from making the modifications you want—as long as they are not in violation of your state laws.

CONS

1. Used cars are often out of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Used cars that are older than three years or five years, which is the usual coverage time frame, are no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Your option is to buy a certified used car with a factory warranty coverage, get an extended warranty, purchase a vehicle service contract, a paid plan that kicks in to help cover vehicle repair costs after the expiration of the manufacturer’s warranty that is covered in the purchase of a new, as well as some used or certified pre-owned, cars.

2. Used cars could come with hidden problems.

Depending on the dealer and the extent of your research, you could end up with a car with hidden performance issues. This is why it helps to have a mechanic check the car you intend to buy to ensure you didn’t miss any problem, especially if you are not car savvy.

3. Used cars have potentially higher maintenance costs.

Even though the car may have been in great condition at the time of purchase, it may still require higher maintenance costs to prevent breakdowns and issues that come up sooner than later.

4. Used cars come with dated technology.

Technology dates very fast. In a year or two, the technology that comes with a brand-new car could easily cease to be considered new technology. In three or more years, new technology will just be a standard tech. So if you’re buying a used car, you will have to be content with the technology that comes with it or spend additional money for upgrades in technology.

If you’re thinking of buying a used car, be sure to do your homework. Determine what the possible drawbacks are and decide how big of a deal they are for you. Essentially, buying a used car is as much about saving as it is about choosing to live with factors that fall in the Cons column.

If you push through with buying a used car, make sure you get coverage that gives you peace of mind. Purchase an EverCare vehicle service contract, as well as any ancillary and retention products that you need.

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