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Should I Buy a Used Car?

Written by Michael Bovee

Question:

Dear Michael,

I am a middle aged divorcee women with no mechanical skills whatsoever. I normally purchase new cars when one is needed. I purchased a new car in 1990 and kept it for over 17 years. I purchased a 2008 and currently still owe it with 315,000 miles. Most people suggest buying used because of the depreciating of the new car. I buy new cars because I fear what I will be getting out of a used car – you really have no idea how well the previous owner took care of the car.

Is it a wise to buy a new car, even though it depreciates in value, if you have every intentions of keeping the car for ten (10) years or more? Or do you suggest buying a used car regardless of how long you keep the car?

Tonya

Answer:

Tonya,

I have many car buying experiences and stories. I have put more money into used vehicles than I ever intended. Those experiences tend to legitimize your concerns about buying used and not really knowing what you are getting into. Some things you can do to overcome the fear of buying used could include:

1. Using a Carfax report to uncover any major issue for accidents.

2. Using your own mechanic to check the vehicle out and give you an idea of costs to maintain the car immediately after purchase.

3. Buying certified used

4. Purchasing an extended warranty.

I have experience with the first 3 listed. Carfax helped me to avoid buying a wrecked Toyota 4Runner. My Buddy Allen, a mechanic, helped me to confidently buy a BMW that I later sold for a handsome profit. I have enjoyed certified used vehicles past their prime and gotten value each time.

I have purchased several new vehicles. I have never kept one past its ability to get me from point A to B. The current Honda my wife has was purchased new and is going more than strong with 110k on it. The Honda is the only new car I bought and kept for this long. Other new vehicles I purchased I lost money on by not keeping them for as long as you do.

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My experiences suggest a certified used vehicle with less than 30k miles are the better value. There are many in my circle of influence who look for certified used cars that are known to be reliable, and that have less than 50k. I can rationalize both as sound reasoning to save money and still obtain safe, reliable transportation.

Story time.

I purchased a 71 Jeepster Commando several years ago. This Jeep was beyond cool, completely modified and redone!

Jeepster

Within weeks of buying it my wife and I took our 2 young daughters, and large English Mastiff, up the side of a mountain to a huckleberry picking spot. The dirt road to the picking spot is a climb, but not overly rough. Half way to our destination the vehicle lurched and bounced as if we had hit a large pot hole and dropped the clutch. I drifted a ways and came to a stop. I could not figure out what exactly had happened until I looked back the way we had come and saw the gas tank laying in the middle of the road.

Please be sure to post an update with what you decide to do and why. You know my vote is to buy certified used.

Michael




About the author

Michael Bovee

Michael is an experienced debt expert and can be found online at Consumer Recovery Network.

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