It’s no secret that cars are big-ticket items which affect your budget immediately upon purchase and for several years afterward. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, a vehicle is the second largest purchase most people make, second only to a house. One major consideration is whether to buy a new or used car. To make the best decision for your situation, consider these variables.

Warranty, Repairs and Maintenance

Carefully review the vehicle warranty details for both new and used vehicles. A late-model used car may still be under a portion of the original factory warranty. Others may have a certified used car warranty. Used cars sold “as is” leave you solely responsible for covering all repairs. This is an important factor when determining the best value for your budget. Clearly, an older vehicle without a warranty comes with a higher risk of pricey and inconvenient car repairs. That’s not always a deal-breaker, but certainly something to keep in mind. If you opt to not get a warranty, then you probably need to brush on your car DIY skills. Learn how to use jumper cables, how to replace the wiper fluid, how to check the condition of your tyres and other basic maintenance routines. There is also the cost of usage based car insurance to think about if you’re planning on getting a used car.

Options and More Options

A new car purchase gives you the freedom to select the exact options or package that you desire within the parameters of your budget. This may include exterior color, upholstery, navigation, stereo, hands-free systems and more. However, if you’re willing to do some homework, you may find a used car with your unique choice of options at a lower price.

Owner History

While a new vehicle comes with a clean slate, a used vehicle comes with a history. Some of that information may be documented on maintenance registers, Department of Motor Vehicle records, or a Carfax report. However, some of that history will remain unknown.

Ownership Plan

The length of time you plan to own a vehicle is another important consideration. If you intend to own it for several years, a new vehicle may be your best choice. Although it will depreciate most in the first few years, you’ll be able to maintain it to the highest standards. This results in greater confidence as you drive over 100,000 miles or more. A used car is a good choice for short-term ownership. Buyers avoid the most significant depreciation and can still have a reliable vehicle that meets their needs for the near future, all without spending a small fortune.

Safety and Fuel Efficiency

New cars may offer greater safety features and fuel efficiency. Over the years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has added recommended safety technologies. As car manufacturers add these technologies to their newest vehicles, consumers enjoy a safer vehicle and the possibility of lower overall insurance costs. When calculating vehicle costs, consider fuel economy. The latest efficiency and alternative fuel technologies offer long-term benefits to your wallet and the environment.

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