Car Buying Guide – New vs. Used

This time of year, the car sales pitches hit high tide.  Piggy _bankLabor Day sales and “summer close out sales ”
start to pop up at every dealership.  They are trying to sell
off last years models before the new ones take over popularity, and
they are  trying to target those who need cars for the new
school year- such as college kids or new drivers.  Regardless
of what you are buying or what you need, here are some tips to

New vs. Used:
There are good deals to be made on new cars because in August,
many new car models come out.  The old ones that have not been
sold need to be moved.  But there are also always deals to be
made on used cars because that is the type of merchandise dealers
do not want to keep around too long.  So the determination
must be made as to what is the best deal.  Here are a few
factors that should play a role in the decision:

  • New cars come with a manufacturer’s bumper to bumper
    warranty.  Most used cars are sold “as-is” meaning you take
    the risk of there being problems with the car.  While extended
    warranties on used cars are an option, they are often not worth the
    expense as there are always coverage issues.  
  • New cars don’t have anybody’s bad history.  You are the
    first owner and those first miles are all yours.  With a used
    car, there is a history that you may not know about.  More
    research is required.
  • Negotiating a price on a new car may be more tedious.  The
    dealers all have a certain amount of room to work with, but there
    are bottom lines to the prices.  With used cars, there is much
    more leeway to negotiate a better price.  
  • Overall, you are really combating
    with Price v. Quality.  You pay more for a new car, but you
    also have a better quality product.

If You Buy New:
If you are a new car buyer, here are some tips that you should be
aware of before you buy:

  • Length and duration of warranty.  The warranty of
    a new car is its best feature.  The manufacturer warrants a
    vehicle free from defect, and will repair or replace any defective
    part free of charge.  But for how long?  Many cars are
    warranted for 3 years or 36,000 miles – whichever comes
    first.  A longer warranty than that can be very useful . 
    So be mindful of how much you drive. 
  • Gas Mileage and the Environment:  Gas prices have
    soared over the last few years  In the summertime, they are
    typically the highest.  This has brought upon more popularity
    to electric vehicles and hybrids.  If you are in a pure gas
    vehicle, mileage per gallon is critical.  Surely you do not
    want to find yourself at the pump every week.  
  • History of Problems with that Vehicle:  Some
    vehicles have a bad history.  Certain types of makes and
    models have issues that continue to pop up on them that
    manufacturers fail to correct.  Spend some time on the
    internet looking for chat rooms, complaint boards (see the Better
    Business Bureau), and even pending class action lawsuits. 
    This research may tell you about something in a car, such as a
    recurring problem, that may steer you away from getting that
  • Reputation for Service:  Often a new car will
    need some sort of service on it.  All cars need to be
    maintained to some degree.  The dealership and manufacturer
    team together to provide you the service you need on the car. 
    Poor service quality can do more than just sour your feelings
    toward the repair facility, it can effect your entire ownership
    experience.  Pleasant, efficient and effective service makes
    the new car buying experience better.

If You Buy Used:
If you are in the used car market, here are some important tips
you should know:

  • Ask Questions:  Make the sales person tell you as
    much as they can about the history of the car.  Ask him or her
    how they got that answer.  Did they get this car as a
    trade-in, or was it purchased at an
    auction?    This can factor into how much they
  • Order a Carfax: is a website that
    maintains a database of vehicle histories.  You can plug in
    the VIN of the vehicle and get a detailed history of the
    vehicle.  It can tell you if the vehicle was previously a
    rent-a-car, a lemon, or in an accident.  You can even see how
    the mileage increments increased.  Many dealers will offer you
    a carfax report.  If they do not, ask for one.  If they
    refuse, a red flag should go up in your mind.  Write the VIN
    down, go home and get your own report.  
  • Get the Repair History:  This is not always
    possible, but if your used car is being sold by a manufacture
    authorized dealer of that type of car (i.e. you are buying a used
    Chevy from a Chevy dealer) then you can ask for a “warranty history
    report.”  The dealer should be able to show you all the
    repairs made to the vehicle under warranty.  
  • Note the Mileage:  It goes without saying that
    the older a car gets, the more apt it is to break down.  Cars
    put on an average of just under 15,000 miles per hear.  Note
    the year of the care and the number of miles on it.  If the
    car averages more than 15,000 miles per year, you are getting a
    vehicle that has been used top greater excess than most. 
  • Bring a Mechanic:   We often hear the story of
    how the car drove just fine at the test drive, and then within a
    few days, the car breaks down.  It’s just amazing how the car
    will perform just perfectly when it needs to be bought, then breaks
    down once it is purchased.  Like a puppy that wants to get
    picked out of the litter.  Covert or lurking problems can be
    detected by the properly trained eye.  Bring a mechanic along
    if you know one. 
    If your new car purchase turns out to be a lemon, or the used car
    you purchase turns out to be something that was not as represented
    to you, Contact Us for a free case