It’s time to buy a car, should you choose a new or used vehicle? While that new-car smell is nice, there are advantages to buying a used car, too.

Benefits of buying a used car

Even a car that’s just 1 or 2 years old can save you money while also providing many of the same benefits as a brand-new car. New cars start to lose value as soon as you drive them off the lot. According to CARFAX, cars lose an average 10% of their value the first time they are driven by a new owner, and an average 25% of their value in the first year.

Alternately, a dealer might agree to sell you a demonstration vehicle – one that’s been used for test drives – often at a lower price than the sticker price or what you may be able to negotiate for a brand-new car. Some dealers will sell vehicles at a discount with as few as 1,000 to 3,000 miles.

Here are a few other benefits to buying used:

  • Many car dealers have certified pre-owned programs in which used vehicles must pass rigorous inspections in order to be certified.
  • Insurance rates may be lower for a used car.
  • You may be able to upgrade to a more premium model if you buy a used car.

Benefits of buying a new car

One of the top benefits of buying a new car is its condition. There’s no need to hire a mechanic to inspect the car, as you may need to do if you’re buying a used car from a private party. You also don’t have to worry about previous wear and tear, accidents, or damage.

New cars come with a variety of warranties, from bumper-to-bumper warranties (some lasting up to 5 years) to powertrain warranties (some lasting up to 10 years). In addition, you can buy extended warranties from the dealer.

Here are a few other benefits to buying a new car:

  • You can customize a new car with the features you want, including exterior color, interior color and materials (such as leather or cloth), power seats, and satellite radio.
  • New cars may have the latest technologies and safety features, such as dual-stage smart airbags and blind-spot detection systems.

Resources to help you choose between a new or used car

When you’re ready to shop for a car, you can research online and receive price quotes from sites such as Edmunds.com. Price-quoting services can eliminate the tough negotiating up front, if you’re certain of the car you want. Other helpful review sites include Car and Driver, Auto Week and ConsumerReports.org.

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