It’s getting to be that time: you’ve run your car into the ground, the lease end is approaching, or you’re just ready for something new. Maybe you have your eye on a new-age, electric option. Or maybe you’re ready to trade in your wagon for some American muscle. With so many options out there, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people hate the thought of an electric blue car with a red interior, and others drool at the mouth. It’s fun to think about, but the car-buying process isn’t always an easy one. And a big part of that process is figuring out if you’re prepared to buy a brand new vehicle instead of something used. There’s a bunch of different things to consider if it’s worth it or not.
What’s the big difference, anyway?
The biggest difference between a new car and a used car is certainly the most obvious: how much and how long the vehicle has been used by previous owners. It’s also the most important part of buying a vehicle. Have you ever seen the commercials where car dealerships are screaming at you through the television, pleading with you to inquire about the “carfax”? Well, they have good reason for doing it! It’s up to you as a buyer to look into your potential vehicle’s past. You aren’t going to need the carfax on a brand new car because it’s never been used before – it’s ready for you to drive off the lot and into the world.
Frankly, that’s the best part about a brand new car. A new vehicle has no past – that is, no sketchy previous owners, no wear and tear, and no mystery. There’s no question as to whether or not it’s been in three past accidents and had a transmission recall last year. The engine is pristine condition, the interior has updated technology, and its safety features are likely going to be the newest on the market. There’s something to be said about sitting in a car with 0 miles and the fresh smell of leather. And, for many, those things are worth a pretty penny. Sometimes, the peace of mind that nobody has mistreated the car far outweighs the thought of saving a few thousand dollars by purchasing a similar vehicle in used condition.
Show me the money!
Now, it’s all fun and games when you’re at the car dealership until you see the sticker price on that brand new SUV you’ve been eyeing. For most people, cost is one of the biggest factors in determining their purchase of a vehicle. It’s no secret that the moment a brand new car is driven off the lot, its worth immediately depreciates. That’s just how it works. You’re going to be paying a high premium for a vehicle that’s never been driven or owned by anyone else.
To help you delve into your decision-making process, you’re going to have to weigh the pros and cons of paying a higher price for a brand new vehicle as opposed to paying less for something used. Overall, there’s a much higher chance that a brand new vehicle is going to have less issues than something used. That alone may save you money down the line. Does knowing that the engine has never been used and is in absolutely new condition give you peace of mind that it won’t break down in the middle of nowhere? Does it bring you joy that your seats don’t have scuff marks on them? What is the cost you’re willing to pay for the rims to have no scratches and the car’s paint to have never been speckled with rocks on a highway drive? Although you may not be able to put a price on the smell of a brand new vehicle’s interior, you may have to try so as to measure its worth to you and your choice of deciding between new and used.
Brand new cars will also bring you savings in other ways. Often times, dealerships will offer exceptional deals on new cars to get rid of an excess in quantity (especially at the end of the calendar year). There are always specials going on, so do your due diligence and call around to see who can offer you the best pricing. Often times, two different dealerships selling the same car will fight to give you the most affordable pricing to earn your business. Use that to your advantage. Also, financing is cheaper on a brand new car because lenders will offer lower interest rates when they have a higher-priced collateral with a firm sticker price. It gets a bit messy with lenders when you’re buying a used car because the value of the car is harder to pinpoint.
Speaking of money, do yourself a favor and recognize the affordability of a brand new vehicle. Because it all comes down to cost, make sure you’re ready to spend an extra $10,000 on a vehicle you might be able to find that’s one year old and has 20,000 miles on it. If a brand new vehicle brings you joy and peace of mind (and that new-car smell), then it’s worth the money. After all, you’re going to be the one driving it from place to place for years and years.
So, is it worth it?
Try a simple exercise the next time you’re doing some research on the different cars you’re thinking of buying: write out the price differences and compare the values. What may be worth it to one person might not be to another. Take some time and figure out if you can, quite literally, put a price tag on your emotions. What is that “peace of mind” worth to you and your family? Can you afford it? Ultimately, is it worth it?
A car fanatic might not hesitate at all, running straight to the dealership and buying that brand new Porsche. To him, buying a new car is worth it. It will come down to your finances, your emotional attachment to a particular car, and what makes the most sense.