First time car buyer needs advice

Hello All,

I’m not just a first-time car buyer with no prior experience with cars whatsoever.

I am, however, trying to gain as much knowledge as possible. I’ve come to understand a few things about leasing a car versus buying one through research.

I’ve also learned a few car terms like ‘mileage’, ‘make and model’, ‘market value’ etc.

As you can see, a total newbie. Any and all guidance would be greatly appreciated.

I do have a few questions as well:

  1. Is leasing a new car a better option than outright buying a used car? (Given good credit of course!)

  2. If buying/ leasing a used car how old of a model and what maker should one look to, to avoid maintenance as much as possible for as long as possible (or at least a few years)?

  3. Is it less of a hassle to buy or lease a used car than to lease a new car?

  4. What should one be aware of when leasing a used car? Buying?

  5. Also is it possible to buy a used car (plus registration and all) for under $5,000?

my zip is 11230

Again all and any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Complete Guide to Saving Money Buying or Selling a Car (

First of all where you are located will make a difference on replies . Second you don’t lease used vehicles . Third leasing a new vehicle is the most expensive way to own a vehicle because after the lease period all you have is a stack of receipt’s. Fourth yes you can get a used vehicle for under 5000.00 dollars but in todays market it will not be much of a vehicle.


Thank you so much for your feedback! If it’s true what you say, then what are my options for owning a car? I’m just looking for something to practice my driving and get me through a year maybe. Before I can look into a more proper vehicle for long term.

Thank you, greatly appreciated it!

You have parents? Family? Friends?
Can you get a car from them?
To maintain, insure, repair. For practice?

Driving practice ? What is your age ? Do you even have a license now ? Zip 11230 is in Brooklyn , New York. Not really the place to be practicing driving .

Like Cavell asks do you not have relatives or friend’s to help you ?

For a vehicle under $5k, I’d look at Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, etc. I’d try to find a low mileage vehicle that isn’t that popular or sexy. Crown Victoria, Buick Lesabre, stuff like that. Ideally, I’d want to find a vehicle from a private seller who had a good backstory on why they were selling it. Like it was their late relative’s car, they bought it for their kid to drive to college and they’re done with it, something like that. If they just bought it recently themselves, that’s a red flag. They’re either trying to flip it for a profit or they found something wrong with it and they’re trying to unload it.

You have to have a little mechanical knowledge when buying a vehicle like this in order not to get ripped off. And you have to have a lot of patience to find the right car. But, that’s how I found my current truck. Guy selling it had a good backstory. He bought a new truck. There was a new F250 in the driveway and he was talking about the deal he got on it, so the story checked out. The truck he was selling checked out mechanically. Fluids looked good, no issues on a long test drive other than a check engine light. The truck had newer tires and a current oil change sticker in the window. The guy lived in a nice neighborhood, seemed like a normal guy. I’ve passed on vehicles because the seller lived in a rough looking house. If they don’t take care of their property, they didn’t take care of the vehicle either.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Buying a used vehicle, especially one for $5k, is going to always be a gamble. I’d avoid a dealership for one to avoid the markup. They won’t warranty a $5k vehicle anyway, I’d assume. If you don’t know much about vehicles, I’d suggest finding someone who does that can help you and give their opinion on a particular car when you find one of interest.

No, never. It is an expensive way to never actually own a vehicle.

Never EVER lease a used car, Buying a used car just off-lease with a year or 2 left on the warranty is the best way to buy any car. The car is still very nice, the price has dropped considerably, there is a lot of miles still in the car and IF the car was neglected, the damage done is minimal. That said, right now, that purchase model probably does not work because the prices of those cars is sky high. Sometimes as high as new.

No. But you PAY a LOT for that lack of hassle.

Any used car should be checked out by YOUR mechanic before you buy… NOT the dealers mechanic, someone independent that YOU pay for a pre-purchase inspection. They won’t catch everything (they just can’t!) but you will be more informed.

Yes, but it won’t be much of a car and you should expect to spend significant money on it right away and more on it each year than something much more expensive. Given the average car is nearly $40,000, $5000 is not much money at all.

And $1000 is not an expensive service anymore, especially where you live. A set of tires or a full brake job can run you that much. Both can be expected in the first 6 months with a $5000 car.

And stay the heck away from cheap Mercedes, BMWs, Volvos, Audis and similar Euro luxury cars selling for cheap. The service costs will bankrupt you. That’s WHY they are selling for cheap!

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It’s a seller’s market right now and used vehicle prices can be stupid.I’m honestly not sure, due to it being April Fools Day, but this is an ad I found:
A 1 owner Buick Centry with 5400 miles on it and the dealership is asking 20 grand for it. If it is a legit ad, I;'m not sure who to feel bad for, the salesman dumb enough to take the car in or the person who will pay that amount for the car.

Normally the salesman has nothing to do with what is given for a tradein vehicle . That is done by the dealerships buyer . Just looking at used vehicle posted prices there are many just like this one .

No nissans. No Hyundai’s. Or kias. Or dodges. Or ford fusions.

If you decide to purchase a used car, be sure to get a pre-purchase inspection done by your own mechanic before signing anything. .