Everyone will have a slightly different set of priorities when shopping for a new set of wheels. Still, the most universal and biggest benefits of buying a new car include having the best safety features, warranty coverage, peace of mind, and the latest technology. Of course, aesthetics, higher fuel efficiency, and sustainability also play a role in the decision-making process, but they should take a back seat to what will be the safest and most economical choice.
Before you get hooked on the leather seats, new car smell, and low interest rates, we’ve outlined each factor to consider to find the best option when buying a brand new vehicle or a used car.
Best Safety Features
Lane Departure Warnings, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, blind spot monitoring, automatic braking, and multiple curtain airbags are all becoming standard advanced safety features in today’s new cars. Though possible in some higher-end models, it is unlikely to find these features in a used car.
These safety devices have been cited in preventing hundreds of thousands of accidents, from minor fender benders to more serious crashes. With more drivers than ever on the road and exceedingly distracted drivers, keeping yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible should always be a top priority.
A new car warranty stands as a shield against unexpected repair costs, offering an invaluable safety net for owners. Most new cars come with at least a 3-year or 60,000-mile warranty. While the warranty may not cover all everyday wear and tear issues, like brake shoes and other worn-out parts, it will cover defects and damages from regular use. While taking a car in for repairs is never convenient, it is much less stressful when you don’t have to pay for the service and parts. Additionally, these warranties can be tailored to specific needs, offering additional options for extended coverage or maintenance plans.
Peace of Mind
Knowing that you are not inheriting the previous owner’s and, more likely, several previous owner’s issues, from poor driving habits to negligent care and maintenance, can offer peace of mind when you are heading out on a road trip. Even a certified pre-owned car will come with some limitations on the manufacturer’s warranty. So, if you consider buying a used vehicle, make sure to get an extensive vehicle history report and compare the data to prevent any surprises.
Buying a new car from a reputable local dealership also means customer support like a possible loaner car or roadside assistance program. Make sure to ask about any additional benefits or amenities offered by your dealer when car shopping.
Advanced technology features in new cars have revolutionized the driving experience, offering an array of benefits that transcend mere convenience. Wireless CarPlay, navigation, and infotainment centers are new features that make our driving experience more enjoyable, but what about the technology that helps us navigate in all sorts of weather? Traction control, automatic high beams, and wipers are wonderful benefits to drivers in inclement weather. Intuitive infotainment systems with seamless smartphone integration and voice command capabilities also help us stay productive and in touch while on the road without lifting a single finger off the wheel.
Balancing Costs & Financial Products
Whether you’re a first-time car buyer, shopping for a family vehicle, a road warrior working from their car, or a retiree, everyone will benefit from having the safest, most reliable vehicle on the road. However, the cost is the most significant deciding factor in determining whether the benefits of a new car exceed those of a certified pre-owned vehicle.
Most financial experts agree your total monthly vehicle expenses (including loan payments, insurance costs, fuel, maintenance, taxes, and other related expenses) should not exceed 15-20% of your monthly take-home pay or net income. Looking at these numbers might determine if a new vehicle purchase is out of the budget right away.
Remember to compare this to your other living expenses, like housing and food costs. If you’ve allocated a slightly higher or lower budget in either of these areas, you will want to adjust your car budget accordingly. These adjustments may be the deciding factor if you’re buying new or buying used.
Once you know your budget, it is time to look at your credit score and financing options. Another benefit of buying new is that there are often many dealership incentives available in addition to attractive financing offers, including lower interest rates. But in order to qualify, your credit will need to be in good shape. In addition to dealer financing, consider talking to financial institutions like a credit union or your local bank to find lower financing rates.
Once you know what deals and incentives are available to you, look at the projected annual vehicle maintenance costs. Though maintenance and fuel costs will typically be lower on a brand new car, insurance may be slightly higher depending on your driving record and insurance policy.
Pro tip: If you’re budget-conscious, negotiating new vehicle purchases at the end of the month and/or end of the model year will often give you the best advantage for bringing down the cost, but it may limit the features and colors available for your dream car.
Additional considerations when buying a car
Sure, safety, car features, and maintenance are always top of mind when making a new car purchase, but there are also several details to consider to make the right choice between a brand-new car and a second-hand car.
Style and design
Some buyers want the newest styles and latest designs. Vehicles are an extension of our personality; for many, they’re a status symbol. Our vehicles can be a sign of success, and if you’re frequently driving with clients, it may make an impression on them. Not to mention, having a new car in good condition will likely be more comfortable for everyone.
Is this the right time?
Timing can play a big part in negotiating a great deal and potentially save you a lot of money, so be patient and do your homework so you’re ready to strike a deal on the perfect car. Typically the fourth quarter is always the best time to buy as businesses are all trying to boo their year-end earnings reports; however, cars are unique in that their model year may not always follow the calendar year.
So when you’ve narrowed down your top pick, research when the current model year was released and when the new year model is anticipated to be released. Timing your trip to the dealership with manufacturer delays and presale figures in mind will help you negotiate the best possible rate.
How many years of ownership will I get out of this car?
When running the figures on depreciation, the life of the loan, and a car’s value, you need to have a timeframe in mind. If you don’t plan on owning the car for the long run, getting an older car at a lower price might be the best deal. However, buying new may be the best choice if you have soon-to-be teen drivers. The main benefit would be enjoying the car for the first few years before handing the gently used car over to your teen driver.
Have you taken the car on a test drive?
You can read all the Kelley Blue book reviews and crunch the numbers with your financial advisor every which way, but until you get behind the wheel of a car, how can you know it’s even a contender? From blind spots to the feel of the drive or seat positioning, many things can take an otherwise good choice out of the running for car buyers. Always leave room for your personal preferences to play a role in decision-making. If you’re uncomfortable behind the wheel, the chances of getting in an accident could increase, and the last thing you want to do is make major repairs or a quick trade-in on a newer car.
Closing Benefits of Buying a New Car
Though everyone will have a story about a lemon, new cars offer a better option, knowing you’ve been the first person to own and care for the car. Plus, there is satisfaction in knowing that if something were to go wrong, it would likely be covered under the car warranty or insurance. Cars today come with a lot more under the hood and in the cabin than the older models of years past.
It is not always economically prudent or necessary for automobile shoppers to buy their next car new. Some models of used cars have excellent reliability, and sometimes, a private seller can provide the entire service and maintenance history. If you or someone you’re close to is excellent at solving mechanical issues, then there’s all the more reason to shop for pre-owned cars. But for many of us, the benefits of buying a new car outweigh all other considerations, making new car ownership a satisfying and reassuring endeavor.
Marly is a lifestyle writer and creator of simplylivinghappy.com, a site dedicated to helping readers improve their health, wealth, mindset, and overall happiness. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks while gardening, visiting with family, or traveling.