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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why Our Next Car Will Be New

Marc and I have decided to buy a car about a year from now. We'll be trading in our 1997 Honda Accord, which is getting old and getting a $500+ quote for repairs that aren't necessary but recommended every time we get it serviced. We've only bought one car since we've been together, a 2003 Nissan Altima that we bought new (and will be paid off (no surprise here) next year). Neither of us knows much about cars and we don't have a reliable mechanic. Nevertheless, with a whole year to prepare for our next car, Marc and I were open to the idea of buying used. After all, a brand new car would be worth less than we paid for it the moment we drove off the lot. And with a lot of dealerships selling "certified" used cars, it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to find a reliable used car.

This article summed up our position nicely:
In the end, the decision to buy new or used boils down to what you can afford and what will give you peace of mind.
If we could find a used car that would still give us peace of mind, we'd be thrilled. However, our requirements for peace of mind when it comes to a car are pretty demanding - mostly because our knowledge about cars is so limited.

I was thrilled when golbguru posted his series on buying a car on Money, Matter & More Musings. I was less thrilled (though rather relieved) when I read his instructions for inspecting a used car. I could tell that golbguru was giving sound advice and that following his instructions would give us peace of mind. The problem was that I couldn't follow his instructions - I wouldn't know where to look or have any confidence that I was inspecting what I was supposed to be inspecting. Marc wouldn't be any more comfortable conducting such an inspection either. It was something of a relief, really. In order to buy a used car with confidence, we'd have to do way more research and preparation than we have the time or inclination for.

Now when we buy a new car next year, I won't have any twinges of regret (i.e., no thoughts like "I should have looked into buying a used car"). Instead, we'll spend the next year researching what car we'll buy (Marc's job) and financing options (my job - more on that in an upcoming post).



  • At 8/23/07, 7:03 AM, Anonymous golbguru said…

    Cathy, there is wonderful thing called "outsourcing" - for things which are painful for us. :)

    If you still feel like going for a used car - a shortcut method is to check the CARFAX report and if that comes out clean, just take it to a good mechanic for detailed inspection. Although, this still does not guarantee a *perfect* car - it relieves a lot of anxiety that usually comes with a used car.

    Personally, if you can *afford* a new car - something that depreciates ever so slowly (honda or toyota) - then I would recommend buy it new. You lose money in depreciation - but you gain a lot of peace of mind. That's priceless. :)

  • At 8/23/07, 8:09 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    golbguru - You're absolutely right. I give up! I wouldn't if we had a good mechanic that we trust, but we don't, haven't for a few years now. Since we can afford new, that's the route we'll go - probably a Honda, Toyota or Nissan . . . dare I say it? . . . minivan.

  • At 8/27/07, 7:26 AM, Blogger Ms. M&P said…

    My husband and I will be buying a car in the next 3-4 years and I never even considered buying new until I read this. Now I'm thinking that it's probably our best option. Thanks for the post!

  • At 8/27/07, 8:43 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    Ms. M&P - Glad to help! Stay tuned for my forthcoming post on how we plan to pay for our new car ...

  • At 8/31/07, 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    here is a better way to but a used car . Bay a certified used car from dealer or buy it from carmax both these option will give you peace of mind .

  • At 9/1/07, 12:23 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Anonymous - Those are great ideas, but I've heard that you still need to have the cars inspected by your own mechanic ... which is still a problem for us, since we don't have one!


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