Choosing to buy a secondhand car is often the only option when finances are tight. In some cases, it might even make more sense than buying new. There’s a common misconception that all used cars are junk or a fast track to needing a car accident attorney. While that can be the case, knowing the pros and cons ahead of time can help you pick out an ideal used vehicle.

The Pros

Your ability to save money creates three benefits unique to buying a used car. The first is the fact that you don’t need a loan. While you can choose to take one out, it’s easier to find a used car within your price range. You could also pay for most of the cost out of pocket and cover the remainder with a small loan. 

The second benefit is the ability to find a deal. With cars losing roughly 15% of their value each year, you can find quality vehicles amidst the clunkers. If you have the financial ability, you could walk away with a three-year-old vehicle that’s barely been driven. 

The third benefit is the ability to save money on your car insurance. New cars are loaded with expensive electronics and parts. Older models, on the other hand, are usually easier to repair. Parts are in abundance, making repairs easier in the event of an accident. This brings the price of your premium down for extra savings. 

Keep in mind that insurance rates depend on a wide variety of factors, with your driving history being the largest influencer. If you’ve hired a DUI defense attorney after a conviction or have been in multiple accidents, your savings won’t be as high. 

Finally, you can choose from certified pre-owned vehicles to reduce your risk of making a terrible investment. These cars are inspected by the manufacturer, earning a certification for their good condition. While certified pre-owns are more expensive, they can bring an excellent peace of mind. 

The Cons

The major downside that most people worry about is getting stuck with a piece of junk. When you only have a few thousand or less, the trick is to find a seller you can trust. Make sure the seller has paperwork detailing any repairs and have a mechanic inspect the car to be sure it’s in working order. 

Buying a used car also means spending more on gas and repairs. The older the vehicle, the more maintenance it’s going to need. Fuel efficiency also declines with age, which means you’ll have to refuel more often. Unless you have a ridiculously long commute, these costs are often far cheaper than a loan. 

The third con is less advanced safety features. Newer cars always have the best tech to keep you safe in the event of an accident. Given the advancements in the past decade, even a ten-year-old car still has decent safety features. 

The final con is sacrificing style. The used market might not have the color, customization, or interior style you would like. At some point, you simply have to accept what’s available and make these small sacrifices.