Last week I visited an aunt who lives just a few blocks from our house. I noticed a new car parked in her driveway, a nice silver 4WD GMC. I wondered if she had a visitor today. Before I got a chance to ask, she emerged from the front door, beamed at me and exclaimed, “So how do you like my new car? I just bought it from a GMC dealer downtown yesterday”.
I was not at all surprised because she had told me too many times that she’s junking her old truck for a new car. She felt it was quite big for her now that she’s going to drive it alone because her son just went to another state for college. “You mean the used car dealership downtown” I answered. She nodded and said that she bought a 2010 GMC Acadia at almost 40% less than what it cost brand new. She showed me her car and invited me to accompany her to drive this “baby” around.
Her silver 4WD almost felt like brand new. No doubt its previous owner surely took good care of it. I worried out loud if the car would require a lot of maintenance in the following years. My aunt assured me that the car is in good shape, mainly because its previous first owner is a female bank employee who lived in the city. She used the car in going to and from her office. And as for maintenance and repairs, aside from the car dealership where she bought the sedan, she knows of a GM dealer that offers the above services in case she would need any. After a smooth and uneventful ride, I congratulated my aunt for making a good buy.
Riding with my aunt on her used sedan, I wondered whether buying from used car dealerships is indeed a wise choice. Then I remembered a friend who nearly freaked out upon discovering that her brand new truck had a long nasty scratch because someone just decided to damage the shiny exterior. Thankfully, after a while she got over it and decided the damage was just on aesthetics but the car’s engine and overall condition is not affected at all.
I’ve realized the advantages of buying a used car compared to a new car are as follows:
First, a brand new car depreciates a lot as soon as you drive it out of any car dealership, be it a GMC dealer. The depreciation does not stop there but continues to do so over the next few years. It is estimated that a brand new car lost 25% of its value in the first year alone the succeeding years’ depreciation levels out. This disadvantage of buying a brand new car is an advantage when buying a used car. A used car depreciates less after purchasing it than brand new cars.
If you put premium on value, finding a good used car is very rewarding. There’s a common belief that buying a used car is risky and the buyer would end up paying more on maintenance and car breakdown. However, the fact that cars nowadays and as it has been in the past is reliable and enduring contradicts this belief. Extreme examples are 15 to 20 year old cars that can be seen running in the street today.
Lastly, insurance for a used car is less expensive that a brand new car. Come to think of it, a brand new car’s insurance is expensive because should there be accidents that cause damage to your car, the insurance company will restore it to its original look. What if your discover some scratch and dents on your brand new car? It is hard not to be affected and pretend it isn’t there. With a used car, you don’t need to spend too much effort in guarding it or find the safest place to park it. And the best thing of all, you are paying less for the insurance therefore causing less drain on your finances.