Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is often the best deal available on the market, particularly if the vehicle is a late model. Not only will the price be significantly lower, but insurance and taxes will be lower as well. However, buying a used car can be risky. Finding a balance between the value and the risk factor is important when looking into your next vehicle. Here are some of the pros and cons that come with buying a used car.

Repairs and Warranties

Nowadays, it’s rare to get scammed on the reliability of a used car, but it is possible. Used cars on the market now are known to be more reliable than ever, so the chances of a car being in far worse condition than presented are slim. There is a chance that the car purchased will turn out to be a lemon, but this is why it’s important for car buyers to give the vehicle a thorough inspection or have it looked at by a professional mechanic.

The first two or three years of a cars life is the time it is in the best condition. It is also usually the time a car is covered by warranty. Used cars are usually at least two or three years old, so not only has the car passed its prime, but chances of the warranty still being available are slim.

If the car no longer has a warranty, the owner will have to pay for repairs out of pocket. However, the repairs will usually go toward batteries, tires or other standard parts that typically have to be replaced every few years. The costs of these repairs will still make the overall cost of the vehicle less than what it would be if it was purchased brand new.


Insurance costs on used cars are usually lower than insurance for new cars. This depends on the year of the car as well as the make, model, and age and driving record of the owner.


Safety features in vehicles are constantly advancing due to technological advancements, so a used car will rarely come with the latest features. Latest features include head protecting curtain air bags, LATCH child-seat restraints, electronic stability control, and advanced frontal air bags. By now, most used cars come with standard safety features such as antilock brakes, side air bags and traction control. Before purchasing a new car, make sure to look over a list of all the safety features it provides.


According to Consumer Reports surveys, the reliability of used vehicles has improved drastically over the last 20 years. There are significantly less problems with used cars today. Rusting of exposed parts such as exhaust pipes used to be a significant problem with vehicles more than a couple years old. Today, rust is no longer a major concern among used car buyers. The mileage on vehicles from the last 5 years has also increased significantly. 20 years ago it was rare for a car to reach 100,000 miles. Today, it is not unheard of for cars to reach well over 100,000 miles and sometimes even over 200,000 miles. Reliability all depends on maintenance and taking good car of a vehicle, so keeping up with oil chances, engine flushes, tire rotations and other common practices are all important for making sure a vehicle will last as long as possible.

It is harder today for previous car owners to get away with selling a “lemon” than it was several years ago. Websites like Carfax allow used car buyers to look at a detailed history report of a vehicle, which will show whether or not it’s been in any accidents that may have caused permanent damage. Looking over a vehicle history report and having a qualified mechanic look over a vehicle before making a purchase will make the chances of getting ripped off significantly lower.