When you’re getting ready to go car shopping in Raleigh or Durham, one of your first questions is likely, “Is it better to buy a new or used car?” The answer is personal, and different drivers prefer different things. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of the new vs. used car segment, so you can find the best option for your needs in the Apex area.
New vs. Used Cars: What are the Differences?
New Car Advantages
- Newest Technology: New cars are on the cutting edge of automotive technology, so you can expect the latest and greatest features available. With the speed of technology, even cars from a few years ago can be considered out of date.
- Greater Fuel Efficiency: Fuel efficiency is a top priority with modern drivers, and manufacturers have taken notice. You’ll find fewer V6 and V8 engines and more fuel-efficient turbocharged motors on the lots today, which means you can save a lot at the gas pump.
- Full Warranty Coverage: New vehicles include great warranty packages, including bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties that cover most of the car’s components. This can save you money in maintenance and service costs.
New Car Disadvantages
- More Expensive: New vehicles are typically more expensive than either used or certified pre-owned models, which means a higher sticker price and higher insurance costs. Plus, the technology can be more expensive to repair and maintain than the simpler designs of older vehicles.
Used Car Advantages
- More Cost Effective: Used cars are usually less expensive than newer models, which means you can save on everything from sticker price to auto insurance to taxes.
- Slower Depreciation: Because used cars depreciate much slower than new cars, a used car will lose value much slower than a brand new model. No need to worry about the steeper decline of a new model.
- Less Chance for Negative Equity: Negative equity occurs when you owe more on your car loan than what the car is worth. This can be a huge financial loss if your car is irreparably damaged or lost, but you still have a loan to pay. Because the price of a used car is lower, you have less risk to go “upside down” on the loan.
Used Car Disadvantages
- Higher-Priced Financing: Monthly payments are typically lower for a used car, but lenders often attach higher interest rates. However, the loan term is often shorter.
What is Good Mileage for Used Cars?
In many cases, low-mileage pre-owned cars are late-model vehicles with fewer than 50,000 miles. Higher mileage doesn’t necessarily mean a used car isn’t a good buy, though. You can still find a reliable used car with more than 50,000 miles. Keep the following points in mind when you’re shopping for a pre-owned car in the Cary area:
- Age vs. Mileage: On average, drivers drive about 12,000 miles per year. If a car is four years old with 65,000 miles, it has been driven more frequently than a car that’s two years old with 25,000 miles.
- Year of Manufacture: Newer cars with low mileage are high-value finds on the pre-owned car market. That said, a vehicle that’s older can be a great buy if its service history has been recorded and it has a good vehicle history report.
- Maintenance: A well-documented service history is a must when you’re shopping for a used car. Avoid used cars with a limited or non-existent service history, especially if they’re several years old.
Other Tips and Tricks for Buying Used
- Model Generation: Automakers group certain model years for a specific vehicle into generations. Some generations of a specific model may have pros and cons you should be aware of before buying. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com can provide more information on different model generations.
- Vehicle History Report: You shouldn’t buy a used car without a clean vehicle history report. The vehicle history report will tell you more about the car’s accident history, police records, DMV records, and service records.
- Location: Certain climates can cause a lot of mechanical stress. Cold, wet climates are harder on vehicles than warm, dry climates. Use the vehicle history report to determine where the car has been driven.
- Foreign Luxury Car Brands: Owning a foreign luxury car can be exciting, but before you buy, consider the cost of maintaining the vehicle. You might be better off buying a certified pre-owned Kia that’s newer and backed by warranty coverage.
What to Look for When Buying a Used Car
When shopping for a used car, it’s not uncommon for drivers to feel overwhelmed. Used cars offer a wide selection of different models and makes, which can make it difficult for shoppers to choose the right models for them. Streamline the car shopping process by taking the following steps:
- Set a Budget: Figuring out how much you can afford is a good place to start. Find out how much you can put down on a used car and how much you can afford to pay on an auto loan monthly.
- Narrow Down Your Options: What’s the best body style for you? Do you need a sedan, SUV, or truck? What kind of mpg ratings and features are you looking for? Decide what specs and features are most important to you.
- Do a Road Test & Inspection: Before you buy, test drive a used car to see how it rides and if you can identify any issues. If you can, have the car inspected by a mechanic you trust and factor any repairs into your budget.
- Buy Your Car: When you find the right used car for you, take the next steps to secure your loan with terms and rates that work for you. To lower the cost of the car you’re buying, you can trade-in your current car.
What to Ask When Buying a Used Car
It’s also important to ask questions when buying a used car. When you’re considering a used car, you may find yourself feeling hesitant about taking the next step because you don’t have all of the facts. Ask questions about service history, accident history, mileage, and more. For more ideas, review the example questions below:
- What is the vehicle’s mileage?
- Are there any current recalls on the vehicle?
- How was the vehicle priced?
- Can I take the car to a mechanic for an inspection?
- Do you have the title in hand?
- Is the car as is, or is it under warranty?
- Does this vehicle affect your insurance premiums?
- Is there a history of maintenance?
- Is the vehicle history report available?
- Do the amenities and features work like they’re supposed to?
- What is the ownership history?
Steps After Buying a Used Car
After you purchase a used vehicle, take the following steps to get the most out of your ownership experience for years to come:
- Get Car Insurance: You won’t be able to drive off the lot without insurance. If you know which car you’re purchasing, call your insurance company to update your policy. This way, you won’t have to sit at the dealership while you speak with your insurance company.
- Complete Registration & Title Transfer: Buying a car at a dealership is a great way to save time. They’ll handle the registration and title paperwork for you, so you don’t have to go anywhere else.
- Find a Reliable Mechanic: Visit a mechanic you trust to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition. Regular service will help you keep your car for longer.
- Book Service: After you buy the car, schedule a service appointment. It may need small services like an oil change or brake fluid replacement.
- Read the Owner’s Manual: Familiarize yourself with your car’s features. Your owner’s manual will also tell you more about recommended service intervals and the kinds of fluids your vehicle needs.
- Check for Recalls: As the owner of a car, you should be notified of any open recalls on your car. If you own a Chevy and receive a recall notification, you bring your car to Hendrick Kia of Cary for a recall repair.
- Consider an Extended Warranty: An extended warranty can be a worthy addition to your service budget if you plan to keep your car for several years.
Find Your Next Car with Hendrick Kia of Cary
Whether you’re looking for a new vs. used car, the team at Hendrick Kia of Cary can help you determine which is the best fit for your budget and lifestyle. Feel free contact us online with your questions or apply for financing online. Or, just stop by our showroom in Cary to start test driving the models of your choice!