Reader asks opinions about purchasing new vs. used vehicles

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Reader asks opinions about purchasing new vs. used vehicles

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When checking a used vehicle, look carefully at the doors and other sections of the body to see if everything looks OK. In this case, the tailgate of this SUV has a large gap on one side and a narrow gap on the other side which indicates that the vehicle had been involved in an accident and not properly repaired. (James Halderman photos)

Wheels: David B. writes by email: “I am a company service representative and travel a lot, about 40,000 to 50,000 miles a year. I really don’t want to purchase a new vehicle because it would soon be out of warranty and in my opinion, a waste of money. However, I am not comfortable trying to find a good used car because I don’t know what to look for when inspecting a used vehicle. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated”

Halderman: Did you know that everyone drives a used vehicle? As soon as a new vehicle is driven out of the dealership, it is used and its value drops. Used vehicles including cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs are less expensive to purchase and if 3 years old, can often be purchased for half of what it cost when new.

I think the best plan of action is to purchase a used vehicle that was returned after a three-year lease and is “certified” by the dealer and the factory. Being a certified used car, the vehicle has to meet stringent requirements and be free from any mechanical, body, or interior faults and be accident-free, as in have a clean Car Fax.

Things to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a used vehicle include:

A used vehicle often is sold as a certified used vehicle, especially those returned after a lease and offered with a warranty that is often longer than the original factory warranty.

Many high-cost options are included at a fraction of their original cost and often at no additional cost at all. Therefore, if a potential vehicle buyer wants some or many high-cost options, such as heated and cooled seats, a navigation system, radar cruise control or a backup camera, then purchasing a used vehicle is a wise decision.

The selection is almost as good as, and often better, than purchasing a new vehicle. While this seems curious, Automotive News stated that 95 percent of new vehicle purchases are made from the selection on the dealer’s lot. While purchasing used does not allow the buyer to select the exact vehicle and color wanted, often the selection is very good.

Most people cannot tell the model year of a vehicle so if it is clean and well maintained, no one will know that it was purchased used. For those of us who like to keep as much of our hard-earned money as possible, purchasing a used vehicle is truly a wise choice.

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