.If you're shopping for a vehicle, choosing whether to go with a new model or a used one probably ranks as the biggest questions you'll have to answer. The decision to buy new or used boils down to what you can afford and your state of mind.
If you're on a tight budget, then buying a used car gets you the most vehicle for the least amount of money. You can count on one hand the number of new cars that list for under $10,000. That buys you a tiny car, probably with two doors and certainly with a manual transmission instead of an automatic, no air conditioning and few other common amenities. A car that costs less than $10,000 also lacks important safety features: antilock brakes, if they're available at all, and side-impact airbags are offered on very few low-priced cars and add several hundred dollars to the base price.
When you add these safety features, air conditioning "ÃÂ generally a $750 to $925 extra "ÃÂ and a few other items, such as an upgraded stereo system, you're quickly in the $12,000 to $14,000 range.
For less than half the price of the average new car, you can buy a 3- or 4-year-old used vehicle that is larger and loaded with more features than the small, bare-bones new one. But buying a used vehicle has its risks, which could cost you more over the life of the vehicle. The fact is: you are buying a vehicle that someone else has owned and driven. You don't know how it's been driven or how well it's been cared for. A used vehicle will require maintenance and possibly expensive repairs far sooner than a new one. Because a used car isn't covered by the same extensive warranty as a new one, those...