For most of us, a car is an appliance that’s as important to our lives as a water heater or a refrigerator. We need something that works as we need it, starts every time, and doesn’t eat into our budget with costly repairs and maintenance. 

This is why most people default to buying a new car: they want that peace of mind that comes with something that hasn’t been used (and potentially abused) by someone else, and they don’t even consider the possibility that a used car could be a better buy. But buying used may actually be your best option, with the opportunity to get a nearly-new car, often with a full warranty, for significantly less than new. So here are just a few reasons why you may want to consider buying a used car:

1. Used cars have already depreciated

The biggest and most obvious advantage to buying a used car over a new car can be summed up in one word: depreciation. While exact numbers differ between different makes and models, a common rule of thumb is to assume that any new car you buy will lose over 10% of its value the moment you drive it off the dealer lot, even if it’s otherwise brand new. 

Buying a used car is an immediate money-saver because regardless of mileage or condition, a car that’s already been registered to an owner has already eaten that depreciation. You can find low-mileage, perfectly maintained cars by searching for 1-3 year old models, and end up paying significantly less than new even though the car is functionally identical and in no danger of high-mileage problems, repairs, or wear and tear. 

2. Avoid outrageous dealer markups

The COVID pandemic truly turned the world of car buying and selling completely upside down. Chip shortages and supply chain issues meant new cars were being produced at a far lower rate that simply couldn’t keep up with demand, and even in 2023 those issues are only starting to be ironed out. 

While we’re past the wild peak of 2021 and 2022, popular makes and models of new cars are still sitting on dealer lots with massive markups, and buyers are often being told to kick dirt if they aren’t willing to pay exorbitant fees of $1K, $5K, even $10K over MSRP. While the used car market saw price inflation as well during COVID, you may have more room for negotiation and a better chance of snagging a deal than you would by keeping your heart set on a brand new model.

3. Find discontinued models and styles

You don’t have to be a car industry nerd to see which way the automotive winds are blowing: big SUVs, bigger pick-up trucks, and highly equipped top-trim units rule the roost with most car buyers, and manufacturers are pulling back on a lot of models, body styles, and features that may be exactly what you’re looking for. 

If you’re searching for affordable, reliable, no-frills transportation like hatchbacks, compact pickup trucks, or even stick-shift transmissions, your new car options are severely limited compared to what they were even 5 or 10 years ago. Buying new might force you into a car that’s bigger, more complicated, or less efficient than you want, but exploring the used market can open your options dramatically for something that fits in your budget–and your garage!

4. Buying Certified Pre-Owned gives you new-car confidence

The biggest concern people have when buying a used car is obviously “what if it breaks down?” When your car is your lifeline for getting to work, getting the kids to school, and living your life, you can’t risk expensive car repairs, and a new car warranty is a huge selling point for anybody whose top priority is reliable transportation. But with the massive expansion of Manufacturer Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle programs, you can take advantage of all the cost savings of buying used while still having the safety net of a manufacturer-supported warranty in case anything goes wrong. 

CPO status is usually given to newer used cars that may be lease returns or have minimal mileage, but some manufacturers are expanding their CPO programs to cover cars as old as 5, 7, or even 10 years. You might pay a slight premium over a non-CPO car, but the coverage is almost always worth it compared to buying a 3rd-party extended warranty or risking unexpected repair costs.

Spotloan: A Smarter Way to Borrow

Buying a used car is a great way to get exactly what you want in your transportation without paying more than you have to, but that alone won’t necessarily solve every financial problem, and sometimes you need some more help. At Spotloan, our simple online application process can help you qualify for the money you need, even if you have bad credit or need a loan quickly. All you have to do is go fill out our application to see if you qualify, and you could receive a decision within minutes. Fill out our application now!