15 Disadvantages of Buying a Used Car
If it's time to purchase another car, you may wonder if you should buy new or used. It's a question that plagues anyone who is on the hunt for the perfect vehicle. If you’re in the market for an affordable car, buying a used one is likely to be your best option. However, it's important to remember that when you buy a used car, there are many risks involved that don't necessarily come with brand-new cars. From mechanical issues and expensive repairs to hidden damage and safety concerns, purchasing a pre-owned vehicle can present quite a few challenges—so it’s essential that drivers do their research before laying down their hard-earned cash on anything but a new model.
While buying a used car can certainly save money in the short-term, what are some of the drawbacks associated with getting behind the wheel of an older vehicle? To provide consumers some peace of mind when they purchase something pre-loved rather than fresh off the lot, we will explore the disadvantages of buying a used car so potential buyers can decide if saving money right now outweighs any potential headaches later on down the road. Here we've highlighted 15 disadvantages to buying a used car that may impact your decision on buying a new or used car.
Not Made to Order
When you buy a new car, it's made to order. You have the option of picking the color, the features, whether or not you want a sunroof and more. When you buy a used car, you get what you pay for. If the car has a crappy radio, you'll have to deal with it or pay to have it replaced.
You could end up paying more to upgrade your used car to your preferences than you would have just buying a new car. When you buy a used car, it will never truly feel like your car, because in the end it was made to be someone elses.
Little to No Warranty
When you buy used cars, they are usually sold "as-is." This means that any issues it may have are completely your responsibility. If you buy the car, take it to get gas, and the battery dies, you have to purchase a new battery. Some dealerships will provide warranties, but they are usually very limited.
You will not get the same warranties that come with new cars. Often there will be a basic bumper-to-bumper warranty that will cover you for the first three years of ownership and then a five-year warranty on the powertrain. Without this warranty, your purchase is not protected.,
Each year, cars are made with better technology. Vehicles went from having CD players to auxiliary plugs to Bluetooth connections. When you purchase a used car, there's a chance you'll be getting older and less reliable technology. You may be stuck with an outdated CD player instead of a Bluetooth connection.
Infotainment systems, Bluetooth technology, and advanced safety features quickly become obsolete as the technology improves. Sometimes these features won't work as well as in the newest models. It may be that the interface on that infotainment system is a bit finicky or some features are a little slower to respond. Either way, you are more apt to find better technology in a new car.
Possibly Less Safe
Safety laws are reviewed every year, and as the rules improve, car manufacturers are forced to comply. These new rules have triggered new safety features, such as the tire pressure monitor that we see in all newer vehicles. When you purchase an older model, there's a chance you're getting a car that is less safe.
A used car may not be up-to-date with the latest safety requirements. For instance, backup cameras are now a requirement on new models where they were not before. And as mentioned earlier, safety features are constantly improving and you may not want to end up with less-than-reliable safety technology.
Worse Fuel Efficiency
One of the biggest selling points when choosing a car is how many miles per gallon it can get for both freeway and city driving. Every year, the number increases with new models and now some cars get an impressive 30 or 40 miles per gallon (mpg).
When you purchase a used car, you're not guaranteed to get a vehicle that gets over 20 or 25 mpg—although this will depend on the make and model. On top of that, a vehicle's fuel efficiency will decrease over time as the engine ages. This will happen regardless of whether or not your car is new, but will happen naturally sooner if you buy it used.
Little to No Financing
One of the hardest things about purchasing a car is saving up enough money. Most of us don't have enough cash to pay for one outright, so we have no choice but to finance the vehicle. Unfortunately, when you purchase a used vehicle, you may not be able to find reliable financing.
The interest rate may be extremely high as a result of several unreliable companies that are on the market. You simply won't have the same financing options for buying a used car as you would for a new car. Even if you can finance, you are better off paying in full.
New cars come with basic maintenance packages that allow you to get your oil changed for free at certain checkpoints, such as a 25,000 mileage check-up. Used cars will typically not come with this feature. With a used vehicle, it's your responsibility to get check-ups and oil changes whenever you need to, which may be immediately after you purchase the vehicle.
And it's just a fact that your vehicle will need more maintenance the older it gets. In California, you must get your vehicle smog checked if it's over eight years old in order to renew your registration. Case in point, the older your vehicle gets the more maintenance it may require.
Higher Insurance Rates
If you buy a used car, you can end up with higher insurance rates compared to a new car for a number of reasons. It may be that your car is prone to more problems or has parts that are more difficult to replace, which means that it will end up costing more than, say, something like a brand-new Civic.
While it's true that some cars are much cheaper to insure, you also need to consider that your payout will be much less than with a newer car. And it also depends on the model. If you pick a used luxury sedan, for instance, versus a new subcompact Toyota, you may end up paying more in insurance for the luxury sedan, regardless of its pre-owned status.
One of the biggest problems with used cars is that you do not know who has owned the vehicle before you. It could have been an older woman who drove it to the store and back, or it could have been a rowdy teenager who kept their feet up on the dash and never got the oil changed.
It's impossible to know who owned it before you, or if whoever you're purchasing it from is telling the truth when they tell you that the oil got changed every 3,000 miles. And without getting too graphic, you really have no idea what went on in that used car before you got behind the wheel.
Early On-set Problems
Buying a new car means you typically don't have to deal with any mechanical problems for quite a while. It's safe to say that you can probably go a few years without ever having a mechanical breakdown, but this is never guaranteed with used vehicles.
It could potentially break down as soon as you drive off the lot. The transmission could immediately slip or an engine mount could shatter. The worst part is these are problems you would have to repair on your own and now you have suddenly taken on those responsibilities as the new owner.
While you can get a car history report of just about any car, that doesn't mean everything will be in there. Not all damage may be reported, and not all problems with a car can be known at any given time. That is to say: there may not be a record of every problem
This is not to say that the person selling you a used car is necessarily hiding damage from you because maybe even they can't see the damage either. And even if are aware, it may not be in their interest to point out every aspect of damage on the car - and so they won't.
Risk of Fraud
In some cases, when damage to a car is severe, making the vehicle potentially unsafe to drive, and this is known to the person selling it to you, you may be a victim of fraud. This risk can come from an unreputable dealer but especially when purchasing from just someone off the street.
Fraud can come in many forms. You could be lied to about the age of the car or its condition. Maybe it was in a flood, and there was no report of the flood damage. The risk of fraud can come with any used car and that's simply something you don't have to worry about with a new car.
Many cars undergo recalls due to safety concerns with faulty equipment. The proper procedure is that when a recall is issued, the owner takes the car to have it repaired, free of charge. However, not everyone will take their car in for repair and you don't want to end up with a car that isn't up to standards.
Taking your car in for repair in the event of a recall requires that you give up your car for a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks, which is why some people end up not doing it in a timely manner or even at all. If your car has too many outstanding recalls, you may not be aware of them, which could be dangerous.
Difficulty Finding Parts
As mentioned earlier, used cars, especially older ones, can be more difficult to repair. It can be difficult to replace parts in a car with older parts. Getting the parts can be expensive, and it will also take longer for your car to be repaired.
Mechanics may have to specially order your part, which can make it take longer to repair, ensuring that you are stuck without a car for longer than you would be trying to repair a newer car. And at that point, you will be spending a ton of money on a car rental on top of your repairs.
A new car already depreciates to some degree just as soon as you take it off the lot. Some cars depreciate faster than others, but what is certain is that an older car will continue to depreciate, so you will unlikely be able to sell it for anything close to what you originally paid in a few year's time.
While a newer car's value might depreciate at a faster rate, the used car's depreciation will be somewhat unpredictable. At least with the new car it will be more reliable in terms of functionality, so it will be easier to sell than an older car.