What’s Best: New or Used?
Choosing a new or used car depends upon what you consider most important
New car vs used car

New versus used car? While more people say they would only consider buying a new car, the sales numbers tell a different story. According to auto information company, Edmunds, nearly 35.6 million used cars were sold in 2013, as compared to 15.6 million new cars sold in the same year. Comparatively, 43 percent of car shoppers say they want only new, while 24 percent prefer used. Thirty percent could go either way.

To decide which choice is best, consider what is most important to you:

Saving money. Buy used.

Even with rebates, no money down and lower interest rates on loans, new cars take a big financial hit via depreciation that used cars simply do not have to weather. New cars lose about 10 percent of their value as soon as the dealership is in your rearview mirror. After that, between 15 to 20 percent of the value is gone in the first year, and about 10 percent per year is lost after that.

Plus, the insurance rates on used cars tend to be lower. A call to your insurance company for an estimate on any car purchase is worth the time.

Massive selection. Buy used.

Certain cars are simply not produced anymore. Manufacturers recently ceased making the Audi TT RS, Corvette Z06 and the Volkswagen Golf R, among others. But you can probably find them in the used car market, along with older year versions of new vehicles.

Saving time. Buy new.

Short on time? A dealership can buy your new car from another dealership’s inventory, if they don’t have it. If you have nothing but time, the options for buying used will fill your calendar. Sites, such as Cars.com and Autotrader.com, list the selections nearby, as do private sellers on sites like CraigsList.org. You can also shop around on eBay Motors for cars close to home and further away, or you can spend time checking out parked cars with the “for sale” signs in the window.

Driving exactly what you want. Buy new.

Rapid improvements to automotive and navigational technology are made with every new model release, making cars safer, more intuitive and more reliable. From the color of the paint to the feel of the interior, a new car can also be customized to your liking, whereas a used car reflects the preferences of the previous owner until you make modifications on your own.

Peace of mind. Buy new.

Bumper-to-bumper warranties on new cars guarantee that your vehicle will be repaired cost-free for anywhere from 36,000 to 60,000 miles. Many manufacturers also offer comprehensive warranties on the car’s powertrain that can extend up to 100,000 miles. The most up-to-date safety features are big selling points for new car owners, as well as the protection offered by states, such as Arizona’s Lemon Laws.

While used car buyers can benefit from the inspections and warranties that accompany some pre-owned cars, buying from private sellers and other less verifiable sources may offer fewer, if any, protections. Reduce the risk of making a bad buy by tracking down the car’s history using CarFax.com or Autocheck, paying a mechanic about $100 to do a personal inspection and test driving the car at night and during inclement weather.

So what is most important to you? Once you know, the decision to buy new or used will be simpler to make.