How Can You Decide Whether a New or Used Car Is Best?

If you're not sure your family's current daily driver will make it through another winter, or if you're faced with replacing a beloved car or truck after an accident has left it a total loss, you may be debating with yourself whether a new or used vehicle will offer the most advantages. Purchasing a vehicle that has never been driven off the dealer lot is generally more expensive than a gently-used late model vehicle; however, with financial incentives and other rebates, you may find that the difference in price between some models becomes negligible. Read on to learn more about some of the factors that may drive your decision. 

Sticker price

For those who have narrowed down their vehicle shopping list to a few strong contenders, investigating the pricing structure of the last few model years can sometimes be a lucrative prospect. When manufacturers discontinue a certain body style or engine, the last few vehicles to roll off the assembly line can sometimes be steeply discounted so that dealerships will be able to free up space on their lots to stock the newest models. So if the vehicle you're considering has been redesigned during the last couple of years, choosing an older model can potentially save you thousands.

You'll also want to consider the effect of dealer incentives on your potential purchase. Because new cars and trucks are generally priced to provide a very slim profit margin at best, dealerships rely on manufacturer incentives and cash back to make up any losses that may occur from selling a vehicle for less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). These are often based on the number of vehicles sold by the dealership each month (or year), so timing your purchase to occur at the end of the month, over a holiday weekend (when special incentives may be in place) or at the end of the year can sometimes save you thousands. 

Availability of dealer financing  

Because not many have the financial solvency to write a five-figure check for a new or used vehicle, most who purchase will obtain financing through the dealer or their own bank. The availability and terms of this financing can sometimes impact your vehicle purchase decision, particularly if you have poor credit or are recovering from a bankruptcy or foreclosure. Those with poor credit or no credit may be able to obtain financing through a dealer at more competitive rates than can be gleaned from an area bank or credit union, as dealers can sometimes gain access to financial products that are less easily available for laypeople; however, it's likely that the interest rate you'll be assessed for these products will be higher than if you had good credit, which can decrease your purchasing power if you're subject to a budget. 

Planned use

One final consideration you'll want to take into account when deciding between a new and used auto purchase is your planned use of the vehicle and how this use can impact the financial bottom line. Depending upon the safety features, age, and size of the vehicle you select, your insurance costs could fluctuate wildly. Heavier vehicles tend to cost more to insure due to the extra damage they could cause in the event of a collision, while newer vehicles that are financed will require you to carry both collision and comprehensive coverage to protect the lender from financial loss. If you have a teen driver planning to use this vehicle, or if you have an accident or a few speeding tickets in your own past, purchasing a used vehicle rather than a new one can be the best way to keep your insurance costs low.

For  more information on your options, contact services like Leopardi Auto Sales.