Churchill magazine

Should you buy a used or new car?

Updated on: 23 September 2020

used or new car

If you can afford it, why not treat yourself to a new car? It makes sense doesn't it? It's very tempting to buy something shiny and trouble-free. Then again, a used car could save you some money, but it may break down.

So what are the pros and cons of going for that distinctive new car smell or taking a chance with something second-hand which may have the aroma of a recently departed dog?

Pros of buying new

You can get exactly what you want

Sounds obvious, but if you are fussy about colour combinations and specifications then new really is the only way to go. However, online search engines are so good now that you may be able to find a used car that is surprisingly close to what you want, for less.

Peace of mind

At the very least, most manufacturers will offer a three-year warranty for all parts, but you still need to check the small print carefully as the final year can be a less comprehensive dealer-backed scheme.

However, it’s possible to get warranty cover for a used car from a dealer, or direct from an independent warranty company. Yet again you need to read the small print, and some cars over a certain age and mileage cannot be covered.

You want to be a ‘green’ driver

New cars have much lower pollution levels and it is now transparent just how much C0² they produce. So instantly a new car will be reducing the impact it has on the planet.

Trouble is, there is a tremendous amount of natural resources and energy used to build a new car. So buying an older one is the ultimate in recycling. The longer you keep a car running, the more efficient it can become at using resources, provided you keep it serviced and maintained properly.

Pros of buying a used car

Beat depreciation

The simple truth is that as soon as you drive out of the showroom your new car will have lost a significant chunk of its value, including the VAT and new car registration tax.

By contrast, a three to five-year-old car will depreciate by a smaller amount, and some cars may shed hardly any more value at all. However, keeping your new car longer, say a decade, certainly reduces losses.

Also choosing the ‘right' specification and model can mean that your depreciation curve is less steep, because a car has a strong image and an economical engine.

Cheaper to run

You will feel less obliged to visit a posh showroom and workshop with an older car. Rather than paying the high labour rates of main agents, you can save a good percentage by using a local independent garage. Some older cars are also much simpler, so fixing them should be less complicated and cheaper, plus you might be inclined to use salvaged or second hand parts.

Not doing much driving

If all you need is a set of wheels to get you to the station and back, or to the supermarket for the weekly shop, there's no point in taking out a loan to buy a new car. By contrast, if you regularly cover more than 20,000 miles a year and need utter reliability and state of the art safety features, buy new.

Whatever you decide, get a car insurance quote online today from Churchill and see just how much you could save. 

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