Why is it Better to Buy a Used Car?

A photograph of cars parked at a used car dealership in Tamil Nadu. Photo: Abraham Richard M

It is funny how disillusioned we Indians are about our cars. Cars somehow got to a level of signifying our status. I was there too, It is just a car. Cars help you get from one place to the other, say to your work, an airport run, a get together etc., not something to flaunt.Thanks to the Advertisements that have made us believe new is better while making most of us debt ridden. Of the many things that can be bought used, cars definitely top the list with their  many benefits. Yes, new cars come with their fair share of benefits, a monthly payment, a fat tax and a hefty insurance bill. Let alone the chance of getting a “Lemon Car”, if you get one then you will end up paying more on maintaining it. It is almost impossible to look for timely help from Consumer Protection to save our fannies. 

On the other hand, buying a used car would save you a bunch of money with its low cost, tax rates, insurance and no monthly payments. Buying a used car also means it has been tried, tested and proven durable. Believe it or not, you would have saved Lakhs right from the day you bought it, while your brand new ride lost value the moment you drove it off the dealer’s lot. There is more to this than meets the eye.

Cheaper

Used cars attract only half the price of a brand new car, especially if you are shopping around for a car that is around 4-5 years old. If you are looking for a car that is as-good-as new (2-3 years old), you would get it about 25-30%, minus tax and still avoid the maximum depreciation period. A  brand new car loses 20% the moment you drive it off the dealership. Petrols can be driven for 15 years as opposed to 10 years for diesels. The older the car the more money you get to keep with you.

Upgrade

Check the price of the new car, you saved up so long, to buy. Now go to a used car dealership like Galaxy Cars and check the price of the same car. It is guaranteed to be 30-60% cheaper for about half the tax and insurance. This gives you the opportunity to move a segment or two above the new car your money could buy. If you saved up for a hatch you could now look at a sedan or a crossover. Upgrade for free.

No Loan

I have experienced both, being least bothered about monthly payments with the used, and having to leave a chunk of cash every month in the bank for installments on the new one. Loans attract an additional burden and are considered bad financial planning. I can’t repeat it enough, as if new cars weren’t as expensive as they already are the percentage of interest ranges between 8.5-10% PA with a tenure of 12-36 months or up to 7 years in some banks. You will end up paying 10-15% more than the cars actual value.

Low Insurance Cost

Used cars attract lesser insurance costs as they tend to lose about 50% of their value by the fourth year. You will only be paying half the insurance premium if you bought a four-year-old car with over 60-70% of its drivable life left. New vehicle buyers have to buy insurance for three years.

Variety

There is no denying the fact that some cars made in a specific year or with a type of engine last longer than their new or upgraded counterparts. Some models even have a feature or two unique starting from a particular color to a year’s model. Shopping in the used market opens a world of variety in segment, specs, trims, models, colors, etc. You could even find a well maintained vintage car, if that is your style. New cars often lack such variety as they come in 3-5 trims excluding engine options. The used car may still have the feature you most loved about it that isn’t available on the new one anymore.

Low Depreciation

New cars depreciate most in the first year or should I say the first day they are driven off the dealership. A new car loses no less than 20% of its value the first year after which it sheds 10% every year. However, used cars have already lost between 30-50% with their first owner and depreciate only 10% every year. Drive the car for a couple of years and you will be driving it around for almost free till you drive it into the ground. Even if these cars become obsolete they can still earn you their weight’s value in scrap. You could maintain them and keep them until they are considered vintage.

Avoid Lemons

A lemon car is nothing but a car plagued with malfunctions that affect its proper functioning. Very few of us have the time to file a case at the consumer court and get compensated for it. Calculate the compensation to the stress, emotional turmoil, many trips to the court the time and money involved, it isn’t worth the trouble. The safest way to stay away from such cars is to buy used. These cars have already been driven a decent distance and stood the test of time and proved their durability. These machines are perfect to keep till their time comes.

Luxury/Exotics

It is better to steer clear from Luxury cars and Exotics in the used car market. These cars are considered money-pits for a reason. These cars are high-maintenance after their warranties are over. Just replacing tyres could cost anywhere between Rs 75,000 and a Lakh. They come at attractive prices as resale values are terrible. Don’t fall for it.

Eco-Friendly

It takes an estimated 148000 litres of water to make a car. Let us make use of every drop of water used to manufacture these wonderful machines by driving them till they last. Don’t change your car if you don’t have to. It will still get you where you want to go. If you get bored of your car, exchange it with a friend or buy a used car. This will help you save big on your wallet while scoring brownie points for being eco-friendly.

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