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 Cars.com 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).