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Should You Buy a New or Used Car?

November 4, 2010

New vs Used CarIt used to be a no-brainer - when it came to buying a car, it was almost always better to buy used instead of new.

Not anymore.

Used car prices are the highest in years and will remain that way until 2013.

Currently there's a shortage of 2- to 5-year old used cars which makes them hard to find � and expensive.

Leasing hit a low point, which means lease returns will decrease over the next few years. Dealers depend on lease returns and trades for their used-car inventory.

While used car prices are higher, new car prices are lower.

Manufacturers are offering huge incentives (rebates, low-interest loans, special lease deals, etc.) on last year's models as well as brand new 2011 models. In many cases, these incentives actually make a new car cheaper than its previous year used model.

Still, if you're buying an older used car in good condition, the old rules still apply.

But if looking for a relatively new used-car, compare the price with the deal you can get on a brand new model. Even if the used model is cheaper, consider the full new-car warranty, lemon law protection, and updated features of the brand new car.

See the lowest prices on a vehicle in your area (plus see the actual incentives you qualify for)
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My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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