Should I buy a new or used car?

Torn between buying a new or used car? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are a few things to consider when deciding which car to buy

Written by Verity Hogan
Main image

There are few better feelings than taking the keys of your new wheels and hitting the road. That’s why it’s such an important investment and one that’ll probably be with you for a good few years.

One of the first decisions most people make before buying a car, is whether to buy it new, shiny and straight from the dealership, or opt for a used car that could come at a significantly lower cost.

We’re here to help you make that decision. Read on to find out more about the key things to consider when buying a new or used car.

Key things to consider when buying a new or used car

First off, there are a few important things to think about before you make your choice between buying a new or used car.

From budget to mileage, technology to tyres, all these things can make a real difference to the car you choose and your driving experience.

What’s your budget?

Budget is, unsurprisingly, often the deciding factor for people looking to buy a car. Though, it’s worth remembering, you can also still benefit from great finance options for both used and new cars.

The average price of a new car is £28,500. After just a year, that value drops dramatically to £21,000 (almost 30% of its value).

In the following years, the depreciation slows down a little, but the value of the car will continue to drop.

So, if your budget is a little tight, but you still want a car that’ll run well and be ‘nearly’ new, then you might want to go for a used car.

A ‘nearly new’ used car that’s only a year or two old will be significantly cheaper than one straight from the dealership.

This also means when buying a used car, you don’t have to settle for any ol’ banger. You can still get a great, reliable car with all the mod cons, without the eye-watering costs involved.

Mileage matters

Mileage can be a key indicator for how much general wear-and-tear a car has gone through.

The odometer (which measures car mileage) on a new car straight from the dealership will be satisfyingly set to zero, so you can be confident you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck.

A used car will come with some baggage, which will depend on the age of the vehicle and the previous driver(s).

High mileage cars are cheaper for obvious reasons – they have undergone some degree of duress in their lifespan and will probably need more TLC than a new car.

Here are some typical examples of how mileage can affect the mechanics of a car:

  • Brake pads need replacing every 20,000 at a cost of £80-£150
  • Braker discs need replacing every 40,000 at a cost of £80-£120
  • Tyres every 20,000 at a cost of £250-£500
  • Clutch and flywheel every 100,000 miles at a cost of £250-£500

These figures are just typical estimates. Replacement parts and servicing can vary a lot depending on the manufacturer and damage incurred.

So, if you buy a used car with some heavy mileage, you’ll also need to be aware you may have some additional costs coming in servicing the vehicle.

Talking tech

Car manufacturers are forever adding new features to their cars that make driving a safer or more enjoyable experience.

Newer cars will generally come with the latest features, depending on which manufacturer you choose.

However, used cars can still come with handy mod cons – especially if they’re only a few years old.

Here are some optional features to consider when buying a car:

  • Blind spot alert
  • Sat nav
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise control
  • Reverse cameras
  • Dash cam
  • Auto dimming mirrors
  • USB charging
  • Evasive steering
  • Heated seats

Both new and used cars can come with great built-in tech that enhances each journey you take. When buying a car, used or new, it’s always worthwhile thinking about what technology you want.

MOTs and TLC

Buying a new car means you won’t need an MOT for up to a year and won’t need servicing for a significant amount of time if it’s cared for properly.

However, if you buy a used car that’s recently had and passed an MOT, you won’t need another for a while too. Also, a used car that’s been cared for properly by its previous driver will still be a reliable purchase.

Car condition, servicing and MOT history are just additional considerations when buying a used car vs buying a new car.

Warranty & protection

As car manufacturers battle to be the best for safety and reliability, customers buying new or used cars can often benefit from a substantial warranty scheme.

New cars will be protected by the manufacturer’s warranty for a longer period of time, of course. But with some warranties stretching 10 years, you can still buy a used car and benefit from the warranty.

If you choose to buy a used car over a new car, make sure you check the age of the car and if it’s still covered by a warranty.

Buying a new car pros

Buying a brand-new car does come with some big benefits. Such as:

  • Guaranteed warranty cover
  • No existing damage to the car
  • The latest technology
  • Higher re-sale value
  • Reliability

Buying a new car cons

On the flipside, buying a brand-new car means:

  • Higher up-front costs
  • Rapid depreciation in the first year
  • Not much difference between a new car and a ‘nearly’ new car

Buying a used car pros

Everybody loves good value, and a used car can definitely give you that. Buying a used car also comes with other benefits too:

  • Lower up-front cost
  • Still benefit from warranty cover
  • A ‘nearly new’ used car can have few differences to a brand-new car
  • Can feature great tech

Buying a used car cons

When it comes to buying a used car, there are things to be aware of before committing. Such as:

  • More wear-and-tear
  • Low re-sale value
  • Could incur expensive servicing costs

It’s your call

Both buying a new car or buying a used car have their benefits. Ultimately, it’s down to what’s important to you.

Here at CarFinance 247, we can give you a quote for used car finance as well as support from your own personal account manager.

Plus, we have a huge database of over 130,000 cars from trusted dealers, so you can purchase a used car with confidence.

Get a car finance quote today. Rates from 7.9% APR. Representative APR 21.9%.

Verity Hogan

* The UK's largest online car finance broker by unique users to the website. Based on Similar Web data – 1,137,647 to CarFinance 247 vs. 753,819 for nearest competitor. January to June 2023.

CarFinance 247 is a trading name of CarFinance 247 Limited. Registered office: Universal Square, Devonshire Street North, Manchester, M12 6JH. Registered in England. (Registration Number 06035525).

CarFinance 247 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for insurance distribution and credit broking (Firm Reference Number: 653019). CarFinance 247 is registered with the ICO (Registration Number Z1897658).

Finance is subject to status and is only available to UK residents aged 18 and over. Written quotations are available on request.

This site uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience. By continuing to use the site you are consenting for cookies to be used. Further information on cookies and how you can disable them is available on our cookie policy.