Does it sense to buy a brand new (not used) car?

Commuter cars (not collectibles) sink in a value like a rock. If you take malicious care of them or not, heck if you don’t even drive the thing, it drops in value significantly.

Take for example this 2012 Toyota Camry LE that sold for $13,500 and had 2,000 miles on it.

The MSRP for this car was $22,600. the person who sold it to the dealer probably got less than $11,000 for it. This allowed me to conclude that the previous owner who drove it basically not all (2,000 miles in 8 years), took 23,000 dollars and turned it into 11,000 dollars, and basically kissed 12,000 goodbye by buying a car that they didn’t even drive.

I hear all the time people like to “know the history of the vehicle” so they buy brand new cars, but they don’t even bother to do their own maintenance or do simple things like changing their own oil. How is this of any benefit? You bring your brand new car to get maintenance done at a shop. They report on the VIN that maintenance was performed. If was actually done or not, if they used high quality products, if it was done properly, who knows because the owner didn’t actually do it themselves. Don’t you have that same uncertainty in the history of the maintenance of the vehicle when you buy a used car that has reported maintenance on the VIN?

I know that if you buy a new car you know if it has been in an accident or not. But can’t you just get a used car and check to see if it has been in an accident? If you don’t trust the vehicle history, can’t you just go around and measure the paint thickness to determine if the car has been in a crash and has repainted, or check to see if the panels are aligned correctly?

I don’t see the incentive to ever buy a new car (not used) because of the financial hit you take in it. Even if you completely disregard the money you loose in buying a new car, I don’t see any incentive in getting a new car over a used one, especially if you don’t do your own maintenance. I mean if you do your own maintenance than MAYBE it would be justifiable. You could even use parts that are ever better quality than the OEM.

Can you help, I don’t see the incentive?

You take a hit on any vehicle used or new unless it is a collectable . You are making this way too difficult and complicated . Most people don’t buy used or new with the plan to work on them. They want it to get to work so they can keep a job or any other place they need to be.

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I keep cars 10+ years - I’d rather start off with a new car. No worry about how others cared for the car.


I get a new car for my wife every 3 years. My incentive is that the car is always under warranty and my only maintenance cost is an oil change twice a year.

We buy new cars and keep them for a long time. Depreciation isn’t a big deal for us because we essentially use them up. We kept a 1998 Regal for 14 years until our daughter spun out on a wet road and ran off into a ditch. Damage to the car was not severe (none to her), but enough that we opted to trade it in for a 2 year old Cobalt. She still drives the Cobalt 8 years later and has no intention of getting rid of it. We had a 2003 Silhouette for 15 years until enough things were wrong with it that we gave it away. I had a 2005 Accord for 12 years and traded it in at 185,000 miles only because I didn’t want to change the timing belt again at 210,000 miles.

There are a lot of factors to consider. If you drive $30,000 miles a year, you might as well buy new, because in 10 years you will have worn it out. If the money to buy new rather than used is not significant to you, new is less trouble to buy and less time is needed to maintain.

Buying 2 or 3 year old American cars and keeping them a long tome is a much cheaper way to go. Wih Japanese cars it is harder to figure, they generally depreciate slower and are overvalued in the used car market.

If I was concerned about the money and not getting lazy in my old age I would fly to Florida and visit my son and buy a nice rust free older car and drive it home. Maybe a nice Lexus SC 400.

In my family anything less than 13yrs is a short term relationship. Buy new and keep for as long as 22yrs with the 2007 Honda CRV that dad traded in on a new 2019 CRV last spring being an exception and even with under 70,000 miles it was only worth $7,000 to a dealer. Probably a $10,000 private sale but a hit from the $26,000 sticker price.

The 1990 Mazda Protoge that mom bought new was worth 10% of the original purchase price when it was replaced after 19yrs but had been worth every penny of that to mom.

You have to realize depreciation is funny money. Like a drop in the value of securities, it only matters if you sell at that point. I have bought new and used and driven them many hundreds of thousands of miles. When I look back on the average cost per mile for either, there is not much difference at all. Just depends on how long you keep it and how many miles you drive. Nothing magical about it.


Over many decades I have bought many used and brand new cars. I haven’t bought a brand new one since 1997. That’s when cars really began becoming very durable and I realized, permanently, that it hardly ever makes sense to buy new. I began buying “slightly used cars” for 1/2 the price or less than new and got exactly the same results, except that my bank account got fatter and I began laughing all the way to the bank. The slightly used cars lasted virtually as long as new ones would and I often get some factory warranty protection included. Road salt ended the life of every car I owned, new or used.

I would definitely say that had I bought new cars, instead of “previously owned,” that I would not be on the financial footing that I am now and my lifestyle would be different.

However, we still need new car buyers and my hat is off to them! Folks have to buy new ones to create the used ones. Some people buy new just to keep up with the Joneses, even if they can’t afford them or are wasting money. I’ve never had that urge, but bless their little hearts!

Now that I’m done with road salt, I will continue to purchase wonderful used cars whenever I need a “new” vehicle. And now my selection of used cars will all come from “salt free” stock. Feel the magic!
:palm_tree: :sunglasses::palm_tree:

@VDCdriver… well? I left this low hanging fruit for you!
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

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That gaffe is reminiscent of a parent who once told me that her daughter was “a vicious reader”.
She probably meant to say “voracious”, but–then again–the girl did have somewhat of a mean streak.


This type of buyer assumes everybody else is neglecting their cars too, so they buy new.

A 1-3 y.o. used car is the sweet spot for me.
As long as oil gets changed there’s little chance of neglect; that leaves abuse to be ruled out.

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Where I live the HOA rules are no vehicle work in driveway plus it is a 20mile round trip to dispose of used oil . People who live in apartments can’t do their own oil changes . Also many vehicles will not drive up on ramps easily . Many vehicles qualify for annual oil change so why buy a floor jack , ramps or jack stands just for that .
John , you just can’t have a one size all fits everyone.

You’ve overlooked that a new car is more reliable, which is a factor worth some money to most people (although admittedly not as much as the typical depreciation). It’s also nice knowing that if it does break down during the first four years, I can make one phone call and they’ll get the car and put me in a loaner with no hassle.

In addition, those of us who keep our cars very clean like knowing that there hasn’t been three years of kids spilling food all over the car or pets running around and having accidents in it. There’s one woman in my parking lot at work who hauls bags of mulch and potting soil directly on her back seat; I’d hate to end up with that car after she’s done with it.

@VDCdriver and @common_sense_answer can we please be careful when using the red pens? To people who are new here, it might be very off-putting. Thanks, and happy Friday.

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The least expensive way to drive a relatively reliable car is to buy a 4 year old or older reliable make with reasonably low mileage and keep driving it until major repairs become frequent, then sell this vehicle privately and start the cycle over again.

Our family has done this for many years, only buying 3 new cars since 1958!!!

I’ve had a few company cars over the years, but our own private net outlay in buying vehicles has only been $67,000 total since 1958, or $1080 per year for the last 62 years!

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Are you talking to me? I haven’t overlooked much, if anything. Perhaps your statement should read, “Sometimes new cars are more reliable…”

We have had some new car owners, one quite recently, discussion is still current, where the new car is nothing but a PITA. One individual has decided not to buy that brand, again.

I like to look at the history of how a make, model, engine option, vehicle has played out and if it gets good reviews then I shop for a superior condition of that version in a used car. I don’t want to end up with a problematic “experimental” new car.

How about a $4,000 low miles, rust-free used car that has been completely reliable for the past 5 years? It runs my wife, me, and some belongings back and forth for 3,000 round-trip commutes and local driving? And it’s just getting broken-in.

I don’t have a warranty or loaner available (don’t need one, anyhow), but I have AAA road service. Oh, the humanity! I love living on the edge.

Oh, those dang kids (Probably “reeking of candy” as W.C. Fields would say.)! And potting soil? Yuk!
I have been known to carry some bicycles in my trunk and nasty golf pull carts and golf bags that have grass falling off and a friend’s doggy in the cabin!

I guess I have much lower standards, but I want to carry whatever occasions call for. I clean up myself, but I suppose with all the money I’ve saved I could afford professional detailing. Naw, too expensive.

:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

Yes Ma’am, sorry Ma’am…
It was a cheap shot. But, I didn’t do it. And @VDCdriver only did it because I told him to do it. That’s not his fault. :wink:

My apologies to the victim, too!
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:


I drove my 1978 Chevy 4X4 one-ton van for 37 years. It wasn’t pretty and rode like a buckboard, but it was dependable. I did change the engine after 276K miles because the 400 CID was just too tired to continue. I changed the oil and tuned it up every 5K and drove it gently. No rabbit starts, no hot-rodding. The engine(s) performed almost flawlessly, the (Pathfinder) transfer case never caused a problem though I did have the lockout hubs changed once. I do not expect such trustworthiness of my 2005 Dodge Ram. Newer vehicles appear built to have a very limited life. Yes, I’m an old fuddy-duddy who likes simplicity. However, there is a safety value of having newer vehicles. Had I been in an accident in the van, I may not be typing this. The truck offers better seat belts and airbags. It has better gas mileage.
And yet, if my finances were in order, I would purchase another 60s or 70s truck/van. At the end of the day, I’d really like to have my van back! Fortunately, I drive less that 2K per year these days and bicycle twice that. Change the oil annually, keep the maintenance in check as prescribed and hold on to your money.

Are you going to have pockets sewn into your shroud so you can take your money with you when you kick the bucket? My motto is " He who dies with the most toys wins." I hope I die broke with my credit cards maxed out.

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