Photo of a used car lot

9 Disadvantages of Buying a Used Car

If it's time to purchase another car, you may wonder if you should buy new or used. It's a question that plagues anyone who is on the hunt for the perfect vehicle. To help you with your choice, we've found nine disadvantages to buying a used car. This may impact your decision on new or used.

  1. Not Made to Order
    When you buy a new car, it's made to order. You have the option of picking the color, the features, whether or not you want a sunroof, and more. When you buy a used car, you get what you pay for. If the car has a crappy radio, you'll have to deal with it or pay to have it replaced.
  2. Little to No Warranty
    When you buy used cars, they are usually sold "as-is." This means that any issues it may have are completely your responsibility. If you buy the car, take it to get gas, and the battery dies, you have to purchase a new battery. Some dealerships will provide warranties, but they are usually very limited.
  3. Old Technology
    Each year, cars are made with better technology. Vehicles went from having CD players to auxiliary plugs to Bluetooth connections. When you purchase a used car, there's a chance you'll be getting older and less reliable technology. You may be stuck with an outdated CD player instead of a Bluetooth connection.
  4. Possibly Less Safe
    Safety laws are reviewed every year, and as the rules improve, car manufacturers are forced to comply. These new rules have triggered new safety features, such as the tire pressure monitor that we see in all newer vehicles. When you purchase an older model, there's a chance you're getting a car that is less safe because it may not be up-to-date with the latest safety requirements.
  5. Worse Fuel Efficiency
    One of the biggest selling points when choosing a car is how many miles per gallon it can get for both freeway and city driving. Every year, the number increases with new models and now some cars get an impressive 30 or 40 miles per gallon (mpg). When you purchase a used car, you're not guaranteed to get a vehicle that gets over 20 or 25 mpg—although this will depend on the make and model.
  6. Little to No Financing
    One of the hardest things about purchasing a car is saving up enough money. Most of us don't have enough cash to pay for one outright, so we have no choice but to finance the vehicle. Unfortunately, when you purchase a used vehicle, you may not be able to find reliable financing. The interest rate may be extremely high as a result of several unreliable companies that are on the market.
  7. High Maintenance
    New cars come with basic maintenance packages that allow you to get your oil changed for free at certain checkpoints, such as a 25,000 mileage check-up. Used cars will typically not come with this feature. With a used vehicle, it's your responsibility to get check-ups and oil changes whenever you need to, which may be immediately after you purchase the vehicle.
  8. Previous Owners
    One of the biggest problems with used cars is that you do not know who has owned the vehicle before you. It could have been an older woman who drove it to the store and back, or it could have been a rowdy teenager who kept their feet up on the dash and never got the oil changed. It's impossible to know who owned it before you, or if whoever you're purchasing it from is telling the truth when they tell you that the oil got changed every 3,000 miles.
  9. Early-Onset Problems
    Buying a new car means you typically don't have to deal with any mechanical problems for quite a while. It's safe to say that you can probably go a few years without ever having a mechanical breakdown, but this is never guaranteed with used vehicles. It could potentially break down as soon as you drive off the lot. The transmission could immediately slip or an engine mount could shatter. The worst part is these are problems you would have to repair on your own.
Last Updated: October 18, 2017