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Should you buy a new or used car?

There’re many alternatives to car ownership these days, like leasing, public transportation, or ride-sharing services. But, if you’ve decided that it’s time for you to get your own car, the first question you might ask is if you want to buy a new or used car. 

Buying new vs. used cars

Going for a new instead of a used car is a matter of preference and priorities. Whichever way you go, it’s a good idea to use online car-buying resources to figure out the fair market value of the car you want. 
Here are a few things to think about when deciding if a new or used car is right for you. 
4 reasons to buy a new car 
  • New technology. New cars come with the latest technology and may have advanced safety features that older models don’t. 
  • Promotional deals. If you’re financing the purchase, you might be able to get a promotional offer from the dealership—like a 0% interest loan or a rebate from the manufacturer. 
  • Better gas millage. New cars typically get better gas mileage, which means it might save you money and could be better for the environment. 
  • More reliable. New cars are usually more reliable than used cars. In most cases, you’ll also get a manufacturer’s warranty that guarantees they’ll fix most issues that come up in the first few years or up to a certain number of miles. 
4 reasons to buy a used car 
  • Better value. Cars depreciate fastest when they’re first bought. Getting a 2-year-old car could be a way for you to get a recent model at a discount. Keep in mind that some cars depreciate faster and more dramatically than others. 
  • Nicer car for less. You might be able to get a nicer car with better features for around the same price as a basic new car. 
  • Certified pre-owned programs. Some carmakers offer programs that guarantee the reliability of their used cars. There’s usually an age or mileage restriction on these cars to make sure they’re in good condition. 
  • Cheaper insurance. Insurance sometimes costs less on a used car because it’s cheaper to replace an older car. Where you live will determine if the insurance will be cheaper. 

Important considerations when buying a used car

When a car’s been owned before, there’re a few things you should keep in mind that don’t come up with new cars. Most importantly, you’ll want to pay attention to the history of the car and the title. 
Know the car’s history 
One way to find out more about the used car you’re buying is to have it inspected and pull a vehicle history report, sometimes called a car history report, based on the vehicle identification number (VIN). 
If you’re buying from a dealership selling certified preowned cars, they might offer you a full report for free. If you’re buying a used car another way, you might need to get your own report. 
You can ask the seller if they have a vehicle history report, but if they don't you can get your own. Some websites offer limited information about a car's history for free, but if you want a more comprehensive car history, you’ll have to pay a fee. It might be worth getting a report from more than one company to make sure you have all the facts. 
Check the car’s title 
If you buy from a private seller, it’s important to ask about the title. The person you're buying from should be on the title as the owner to be allowed to sell the car. Ask if you can see the title before the purchase. It might also be noted on the title if the car had any factory defects that needed to be fixed, was wrecked and salvaged, or was rebuilt. 

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This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.