What are the pros and cons of buying a used car?

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Whether you’re an eager P-plater or your growing family needs a vehicle upgrade, buying a car is an exciting time. 

But like with any big purchase, you’ll need to answer some key questions before you go shopping.

Before you sign on the dotted line at the car dealership, make sure you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of buying new or used. 

Pros of used cars: 

  1. They’re cheaper 

Shiny, brand new cars usually come with a big price tag. If saving money is a factor in your decision making, you can save thousands on a used car. This is by far the main benefit of buying used. 

  1. Can transfer the original warranty 

If you’re looking at cars ten years or older, this will not apply to you. However, in today’s market, a lot of new cars come with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. 

If you’re looking at a three-year-old used car that still has its original warranty, you can transfer this into your name, and protect yourself in case of unexpected breakdowns. 

  1. Dealerships check and repair them 

Buying a lemon is a huge concern when it comes to used cars. 

Unless you’re shopping at Dodgy Bros. Car Dealership, reputable used car dealers would have checked and performed necessary repairs or maintenance to the car when it originally came in. 

Check that this has occurred before driving away, as this will give you a sense of security and peace of mind. 

Cons of used cars: 


  1. Will break down sooner 

If you’re buying a used car, there are simply no guarantees that the car is going to run well for the next five, ten or twenty years. You can never know how the previous owner drove the car, and whether they handed it in because it became a problem. 

RateCity recommends having a trusted mechanic look over a used car before purchasing. 

  1. Repairs will cost you 

If staying in budget was a key factor to your decision, the savings you made buying used could quickly go towards continued repairs and maintenance. These are things you will need to perform sooner than if you had purchased new, including new tyres, new brakes, transmission flushes etc. 

  1. Less choice on colours or features 

Unless you’re extremely lucky, you’re probably not going to find that exact shade of bright pink you’ve always dreamed your Volkswagen Beetle would be. 

Realistically, when shopping around for used cars what you see is what you get. Used cars give you less choice or customisable options than are given to new car buyers. If your heart is set on a specific feature, you may be better off buying new.

  • They’re cheaper
  • Can transfer the original warranty
  • Dealerships check & repair them
  • Will break down sooner
  • Repairs will cost you
  • Less choice on colours and features

RateCity Recommends:

Buying a car is a highly personal decision, and there are several factors that need to be considered before deciding. However, when it comes to new vs. used car debate – don’t rule out a three to four-year-old used car. 

If this is something you or your family can afford, you will be able to take advantage of a discounted price, while knowing that the car will be new enough that you (hopefully) won’t be driving away with a lemon. Further, if the car still has its original warranty, you’ll be able to transfer this to yourself and enjoy added peace of mind.

Compare Used Car Loans Today 



^Words such as "top", "best", "cheapest" or "lowest" are not a recommendation or rating of products. This page compares a range of products from selected providers and not all products or providers are included in the comparison. There is no such thing as a 'one- size-fits-all' financial product. The best loan, credit card, superannuation account or bank account for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Before selecting any financial product you should read the fine print carefully, including the product disclosure statement, fact sheet or terms and conditions document and obtain professional financial advice on whether a product is right for you and your finances.

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