1. N0 IMMEDIATE DEPRECIATION. A new car becomes a used car the minute the title is granted to the first buyer, and thus it’s automatically! worth about 20 percent less-no matter how much mileage is on it. That $30,000 vehicle you bought yesterday is worth $24,000 today.
2. LOWER PRICE, ALMOST THE SAME CAR. It you’re looking at a new car, find out when the last major redesign was. The Ford Explorer was redesigned in 1995, and the only differences between 1998 models and those in the years since the redesign are a couple of belts and whistles-and several thousand miles of use.
3. MORE MILES PER DOLLAR. Let’s say you pay $20,000 for a 1996 vehicle with 30,000 miles mat sold new for $30,000 two years ago. If it’s a sturdy model that has been reconditioned at AutoNation, CarMax, or a dealership, and you take care of it, you 111 probably be able to take the car to 120,000 miles. You get 75 percent of the car’s life for 67 percent of the price.
4. WARRANTY OPPORTUNITIES. If the used car you buy hasn’t hit its three years or 36,000 miles, the original manufacturer’s warranty is still in place. And the extended warranties available from AutoNation and CarMax can take your car to age 7 or 8; extended warranties on new cars usually last five or six years.
5. FINANCING IS THE SAME. Banks are going to give you the same terms whether you buy new or used. But the monthly payments will be less since the cost is less. And you can qualify: a) more easily; and b) for a higher class of car.
6. ONE-STOP SHOPPING. If you want a new car, you’ll need to hop back and forth among dealerships unless you are wedded to only one make of car. Used-car lots stock a variety of brands.
7. CHOOSE YOUR STYLE. Between the new superstores, dealerships, the old-fashioned used-car shops, the classifieds, and the Internet, you can buy a used car in whatever fashion is comfortable for you. To get a new car, you have to go through the dealership experience-or win big on “Wheel of Fortune.”
8. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. If you are a gear-head, you can pay a lot less money for a “fixer-upper.” You’ll make up the dollar savings through the time you spend under the chassis fixing it up, but that’s your choice. Or you can opt to pay more for a reconditioned car that’s almost like new and worry only about scheduled maintenance.
9. DRIVE YOUR NEW RIDE HOME TODAY. Ever wonder how long it takes between the time you ink the deal and your new car is ready? That car often has to be outfitted with all the options you chose, and that can take awhile. If you don’t like the accessory package of one used car, look at another one on the lot or go elsewhere.
10. N0 BREAK-IN TIME. Auto makers recommend you don’t go too fast or too far for the first 500 miles or so of a car’s life. That’s no fun. You want to put your new baby through its paces right now. A used car has already been broken in. So get your motor running.