The first car I bought was a new car, and for 19 years all I ever considered were brand new cars. There’s something pristine about a new car that I thought would be missing if I even considered a used car.

new used car

Then came 2006, and the engine on my Dodge Intrepid blew up on the Tappan Zee Bridge while trying to get home from a location I was consulting in. I spent just over $10,000 to repair the engine but it never ran well again.

It was time for a new car but I had a couple of issues. First, I’d bought my wife a brand new car a few months earlier and wrote a check for it so there wouldn’t be any payments. On top of what I spent on trying to repair my engine, I knew the cost of a new car would be prohibitive, especially since once again I didn’t want any payments.

On a whim, driving back to town weeks later, I decided to stop at a major dealership to look at a couple of cars, just to get an idea of what I might like. The car that I loved the most was a Kia Amanti, a beautiful luxury car that had a lot of features my current car didn’t have. However, the price was around $35,000, way out of my price range.

A couple of weeks later, my wife suggested we head to another dealership to do some price comparisons. I went online to see if they had an Amanti and it turned out they had a used Amanti that was only a year old and only had 5,000 miles on it. Even with my new car prejudice, I decided to go with her to check it out.

Suffice it to say that I saw the car I wanted, test drove the car I wanted, and bought the car I wanted, my first ever used car. After 12 years, I recently bought my 2nd used car, and I’m loving it every single day.

This leads me to reasons why I believe you should consider buying a used car, especially from a reputable dealer.

1. Depreciation of a used car is negligible

Everyone knows the minute you drive a new car off the lot the value immediately drops between 10% to 50%, depending on the brand, type and price of what you purchased. If you decide to take it back within a month, you’re not coming close to selling it for the price you paid for it in order to get something else.

The value of a used car drops negligibly. Your rate will be based off the Blue Book value on the vehicle when you buy it and you’ll get pretty close to that price if you sell it in a short period of time. Even if you wait a few years before selling it, the depreciation rate is fairly minimal.

2. You have a better shot at getting a vehicle loaded with options

You’ll often find that if you shop around you’ll not only find the car you want but one loaded with multiple options that might not come with a new car. The two cars I bought were fully loaded, whereas if I’d bought the same cars brand new I’d have had to pay a lot of money for the upgraded package.

3. The price of a used car will be much lower than a new car, no matter the mileage

The first used car I bought ended up costing me $14,000 less than buying it new (plus whatever the taxes might have been on the new car), and it only had 5,000 miles on it. The second used car I bought cost me half the amount of the newest version of the same car with the upgraded package (once again, minus whatever the taxes would have been on the new car). True, it had 39,500 miles on it and was 4 years old, but that wasn’t a big issue.

4. Used cars from a reputable dealer will have been inspected and had any maintenance issues already taken care of

The car I bought was full certified and had papers I got to review proving it. Because I knew the dealership pretty well, as they’re big time, I felt confident that the car was in optimal shape. It turns out the previous owner decided to upgrade from this car to something way more expensive, which means it wasn’t turned in because it had problems.

5. Used car dealerships are more willing to let you put the car through its paces

I knew we’d get to take a test drive but I never expected the sales guy to encourage us to go on the highway and put the pedal to the metal, so to speak. This was a 10-minute test drive on local roads and highways and he was fully relaxed as I got to fully test it out. Once I saw how great it felt at 70MPH I was pretty much sold.

6. Used car dealerships are more willing to negotiate on the price

It’s hard trying to negotiate the price with new car dealers because the prices are usually set by the owners based on the recommendation of the dealership. They might find a way to give you a bit more for your present vehicle, but that’s about the best you can do.

With a used car, the older it is the more opportunities you have to get the price down. I purchased a 2014 Cadenza, and I knew I was getting almost nothing for my 12-year old car. I was able to knock the price down $2,000 because I was paying for it with a cashier’s check instead of applying for financing. After taxes, I got the vehicle for $2,500 under the Blue Book value; that was pretty nice.

I’ve given 6 good reasons for buying a used car from a reputable dealer; now I’m going to give you two quick reasons why you need to consider going that route.

The first is that for most of these cars, the best warranty you’re going to get is the remainder of the original warranty. With my first used car I had 4 years or 55,000 miles of coverage, but at that time I was putting 20,000 miles a year on my car so it ran out fast. With my new car I only have 18 months or 20,000 miles, and even though I drive less these days, the 18 months won’t get me all that far. The one caveat is that the powertrain is covered up to 100,000 miles; at least it’s something.

The second is that it might be harder to get a vehicle in the color you want. I test drove a different model car before I got this one and I wanted a certain color but not only didn’t they have one, but none of the other dealers carrying the same vehicle had that color either. The car I eventually bought only came in a couple of colors, none of them my favorite color but mine was the only car in the model I wanted.

Think carefully about your next car and include a good used car in your decision making process. If you like options and don’t mind a pre-owned car, and the dealership is reputable, you might walk out with a gem of a vehicle.

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