Talking two ends of the spectrum with so much to discuss in between
Unlike paying monthly bills and having to schedule our own doctor’s appointments, buying a car is a fun rite of passage that we’re all eager to tick off our life bucket lists. It signals a step closer to independence and freedom, a stage in our lives that we’re all itching to touch.
You’ve had your eye on the prize for some time now and can practically feel the wheel underneath your fingers and palms. You’ve saved the money and you’re ready and willing to part with it. But should you save yourself from some financial shackles or should you just take the plunge?
On buying secondhand
One benefit of buying a secondhand car is that it’s cheaper than a brand new one—earth shattering information, right? Yes, it’s practically common knowledge, but this little detail is actually very important.
“It stretches your money” —Stef, 26
A 26-year-old car enthusiast, who has purchased, used and sold a handful of secondhand cars, explained that a new car can depreciate as much as 40 percent in the first year alone, but an older car doesn’t depreciate as quickly. He says that buying a pre-owned car allows you to extend the value of your money because the speed of depreciation is slowed down.
The cost of insurance is also minimized because the market value of the car, which pretty much dictates your premium, is much lower than that of a new vehicle.
And should the time come that you want to sell your already preowned car, the cost-to-resale ratio won’t leave you in tears. In some cases, you might even make profit if you had the vehicle repaired, detailed or equipped with additional features.
“I'm able to customize” —Mitch, 27
Meanwhile, a 27-year-old pointed out that the warranties on new cars tend to be a little stringent. An older unit, on the other hand, gives the owner a little more creative space.
If you’re heavy into personalizing, then secondhand is the way to go since you’d be forfeiting any dealer-provided warranties once you change, add or remove anything from the spanking new car. Likewise, if you want a model that’s no longer part of a company’s roster, the only way you’re going to get your hand on it is to buy a used one.
However, like with absolutely everything else, buying a secondhand car has its risks. If you’re buying from someone you don’t personally know, the real condition of the car will be a mystery to you at the time of purchase. Get the opinion of a professional to make sure that you’re really getting your money’s worth.
On buying brand new
That said, a car doesn’t come in any better condition than when it’s brand new. Without any accidents, wear and tear, mistreatment and barely even any mileage (if any) in its history, you know the unit is as reliable as possible. And if something should be wrong with the unit, the warranty will mostly likely cover it—as long as it falls within the manufacturer’s responsibilities.
“A car from three years ago won't have the latest features”
As someone who grew up amidst his parents' car business, a 26-year-old that we spoke with knows exactly how quickly the motor industry is able to churn out new features and add-ons. If given the choice, he would always buy new.
A new car is your best bet if you want the latest in automotive technology. A car that’s older won’t have the features of today’s cars—this includes built-in GPS, daytime running lights and multimedia touchscreens. And even if you don’t want these add-ons (and the costs that come with them), you can always just opt for the entry level version of the vehicle.
“I'm putting my family in there” —Mikee, 40
But as a father-of-three reasoned, buying a car is also not a solitary thing. Safety for him is a big factor since he has another people to think about.
Every year, automotive safety laws become stricter and stricter, which forces companies to comply and make their vehicles safer than the last. A lot of new features also land within the safety spectrum, such as side curtain airbags, brake assist, tire pressure monitoring and stability control, so getting a new car is the only way to get your hands on them.
“Ensure the car's reliability” —Yosu, 31
Likewise, a 31-year-old pointed out that with a secondhand car, you can never really know its true condition. All might look well on the surface and even on paper, but you can't really trust it 100 percent.
Only the original owner will know what happened to the car fully. Every bump, every time a part had to be changed and every leak that spilled out onto his garage floor. And it's true: No matter how honest a person can appear to be, a pretty ribbon and a new coat of paint can cover almost anything.
“The only thing that should stop you from getting a new car
is money” —Myles, 20
A college student explained that the only thing stopping him from getting a new car is the financial burden. Currently using a car that his parents bought years ago, he shared that once he's able to afford it, he's heading to a first-hand dealership.
Of course, the financial responsibility that comes with a new car is a sacrifice in itself that not everyone can afford. If it’s going to leave you seriously handicapped, it would be best to just go with a secondhand car that will leave you more room to breathe.
Purchasing a car, whether new or old, is no joke and should never be treated lightly. But if you know what you’re willing to give up and what you aren’t, then you’re that much closer to making the choice. Just remember: It’s a choice you’re going to be stuck with for a few years.
Art Alexandra Lara