New Vs. Used

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bpdchief

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Is it generally better to get a used vehicle or a new one in this economy?

I'm considering getting a used vehicle under $20k, but I question if it's even worth it since I have to make payments anyways, and I plan on living out of the vehicle. Might as well get something new and reliable right off the lot.

But I don't know a lot about vehicles, or budgeting. Who does?
Two VERY important things to remember about buying new....
1. Immediate loss of 25% of value when you drive off the lot. Let someone else pay the depreciation.
2. New and reliable are NOT the same thing... I bought a new Dodge Journey, it was in the shop 16 times in the first six months. Dodge got it back! Consider that gently used has the bugs worked out.
 

rruff

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Two good things to remember about now, vs then...

1) My 6 year old pickup is worth a good deal more than I paid new. Depreciation?
2) New is not necessarily more reliable, but regardless of the vehicle, I'd rather be the one driving it the first 100k miles, rather than the 2nd or 3rd 100k
 

Dennys Adventures

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the best car I have ever owned I only paid $50.00 for it at auction. in 11 years I put a total of 10 used tires and rims on it. and new breaks 1 time. since It was a cheep car I could not spend any money on it. not even for oil changes. I drove it about 110,000 miles just adding oil when needed. and it looked nice. when it finally broke down it was in the steering and it developed a very bad leek. I then drove it to pull and save, and sold it as is to them for $175.00. in that time I saved money every month for it's replacement. which I have now and I drive it daily. paid cash both times. always pay cash and pay it off. but keep building a savings for the next one. never spend over 1/2 years of income and always pay it off. for any vehicle. the 1/2 years income over three or four years equals about 20% to 30% of your income. this is in line with good budgeting guide lines. hope that makes since.
 

scaredycat72

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If you plan on living in your vehicle full-time, I would look for something ranging from new to 3, maybe 4, years old. Usually the older the vehicle, the more maintenance it needs. If you're sitting in a house, that's no big deal. Drop it off, take Ubers or the bus until it gets fixed, pick it up, and then move on with your life. If that vehicle is also your home, then it becomes a bigger deal. Hopefully it breaks down somewhere there's a good shop. Hopefully the parts are easy to get. Hopefully you have the money for a hotel or AirBnb until it gets fixed. And you need to remove anything and everything of value from the vehicle while it's on the shop.

I'm a woman traveling solo so I bought the best SUV I could afford with AWD, a warranty, and a built-in security system. It's absolutely the worst vehicle for vanlife but that's beside the point. I have peace of mind knowing I'm probably good for at least the next 4 or 5 years with just regular maintenance.

I suggest you do a Google search on how to finance a new car. One article can tell you exactly what you need to know. It's not complicated at all but hearing everything piecemeal can make it seem that way. You can also do a Google search for auto loan payment calculator so you can input different costs, down payments, and interest rates to see what your monthly payment would be.

Good luck!!!
 

WVWildflower

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I bought a used car with 30k miles that was three years old. Everything was wrong with it a few years later by 60k and it was dead. I also put thousands into fixing it. This was a luxury car that sold for 65k new at the time.

I bought a new Prius in 2007 and it got to 490k before needing a battery. The used car cost me 30k. The Prius was also 30k. We still have the 2007 Prius with almost 500k miles. Our 2017 Prius Prime has almost 220k miles with no issues. Buy a new Toyota.

I bought a 2008 Prius for my step-dad with under 100k miles, two years ago. I think it has 70k miles on it now. I just put over 4k fixing the rack and pinion and a brake actuator, nothing engine or transmission or battery related even. I didn't know the history of that car. Buy a new one.
 

JDelete

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Two VERY important things to remember about buying new....
1. Immediate loss of 25% of value when you drive off the lot. Let someone else pay the depreciation.
2. New and reliable are NOT the same thing... I bought a new Dodge Journey, it was in the shop 16 times in the first six months. Dodge got it back! Consider that gently used has the bugs worked out.
In some cases this may be true, but, as a general statement, it is not. In both cases it highly depends on the model and make of the vehicle in question. When I was looking for a Toyota 4Runner, the used ones with miles were selling for only about 4K less than a new one (we are talking a 40K vehicle new). It made no sense to me to buy a used one. If I was to sell my 4Runner now, which I won't, I could probably get close to what I paid for it.

As for the new/reliable connection—that again depends a lot on the vehicle, not whether it is new or used. Some vehicles never seem to die. Others struggle to get out of the parking lot. I would never own a Dodge again. I had a Neon and it blew a head gasket at 40K miles. By 75K miles it felt like it was on it's last leg—the transmission was making weird sounds and sounded like it was going to fall out, the engine would do weird stuff but never when it was in the shop, the AC was always leaking and never cooled like it should, the list goes on. If you live in an area that salts the roads like I do, it is hard to find a Dodge Ram truck over two years old that doesn't have rusted out quarter panels.
 

Anon

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So what I'm getting is that whether or not if a used vehicle is worth it or not depends on:

  1. What model, year, and make the vehicle is.
  2. How well it was taken care of by previous owners.
  3. Whether or not I can get a new vehicle for approximately the same price.
I'm tempted to just get a new jeep wrangler, but I'm not sure if I can comfortably live in that, even though I'd love to own one.

I'm 5'9, fairly average, kinda slightly below average height guy (for my area), fairly fun-sized. I still don't see how I can sleep in a jeep wrangler fully stretched out, and the ceiling seems pretty low.

I don't know if this is a nitpick or a potentially serious concern, but the newer Jeep Wranglers...I don't entirely like their UI dashboard. It's fancy and all, but it's too fancy, and distracting. Also, what happens if the screen stops working for whatever reason?
 

kklowell

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Another option, which will save you a ton on interest, is to save your money for a couple of years and buy used with cash. For example, if you could save half of your check each week, or $500, in just two years you would have $26,000 with which to buy a vehicle. You'd also have no payments for that vehicle each month.
 

JDelete

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Excellent suggestion, kklowell. But, your math is in error. Wouldn't it be $500 * 104 weeks = $52000.
 

WVWildflower

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So what I'm getting is that whether or not if a used vehicle is worth it or not depends on:

  1. What model, year, and make the vehicle is.
  2. How well it was taken care of by previous owners.
  3. Whether or not I can get a new vehicle for approximately the same price.
I'm tempted to just get a new jeep wrangler, but I'm not sure if I can comfortably live in that, even though I'd love to own one.

I'm 5'9, fairly average, kinda slightly below average height guy (for my area), fairly fun-sized. I still don't see how I can sleep in a jeep wrangler fully stretched out, and the ceiling seems pretty low.

I don't know if this is a nitpick or a potentially serious concern, but the newer Jeep Wranglers...I don't entirely like their UI dashboard. It's fancy and all, but it's too fancy, and distracting. Also, what happens if the screen stops working for whatever reason?
Don't buy a Wrangler. My husband had one (well, we still have it dead at our house). It needed a new transmission every 85k miles. It's up to 200k miles, totally dead. It's uncomfortable, gas is a fortune for it since it gets like 14 mpg, and a new one is incredibly expensive for what it is. Just buy a Toyota.
 

Anon

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Don't buy a Wrangler. My husband had one (well, we still have it dead at our house). It needed a new transmission every 85k miles. It's up to 200k miles, totally dead. It's uncomfortable, gas is a fortune for it since it gets like 14 mpg, and a new one is incredibly expensive for what it is. Just buy a Toyota.
What year and model? Are all Jeep Wranglers really like this?
 

Anon

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Found another cruiser with less miles (A little over 100,000), but it's still been in an accident and has rear-wheel drive instead of 4-wheel drive.

Aaaand oops I just realized I triple-posted. Thought I was posting to two different threads.
 

Ripper238

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Is it generally better to get a used vehicle or a new one in this economy?

I'm considering getting a used vehicle under $20k, but I question if it's even worth it since I have to make payments anyways, and I plan on living out of the vehicle. Might as well get something new and reliable right off the lot.

But I don't know a lot about vehicles, or budgeting. Who does?

Well this economy is all messed up. My 2019 4Runner I bought new is worth more than I bought it for with 35k mi on it.

If you have enough income to make a payment on a new Toyota it will be reliable, but its going to cost a big chunk of change every month for a while. But you will have something reliable and you will be able to treat it properly day 1.

A Jeep Wrangler is a great off road vehicle, but you ether need to be super mechanically inclined or have a lot of extra money to fix it. My son who is a big Jeep fan told me i should get a 4Runner. So i did. I expect to get 300k worry free miles from it, Jeep not so much.

If you finance expect to postpone your vehicle living since you will likely have a $500 a month payment to deal with for a while.
 

DannyB1954

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Two good things to remember about now, vs then...

1) My 6 year old pickup is worth a good deal more than I paid new. Depreciation?
2) New is not necessarily more reliable, but regardless of the vehicle, I'd rather be the one driving it the first 100k miles, rather than the 2nd or 3rd 100k
Your truck is worth less. The thing that makes it seem of higher value is the value of money has gone down faster than the value of the truck. Price out the cost of a new replacement and compare it to what you paid for yours. In other terms, what would it cost you to replace it? If I was to replace my one ton dually diesel today it would cost over $70,000. In 2005 they sold new for around $40,000. It did not go up in value.
 

rruff

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Are all Jeep Wranglers really like this?
Most. You might get lucky, but probably not.

I'm curious what your real plan/goal is for living in your vehicle? There is a big difference between trying to live a "normal life", with work and entertainment and distractions and expenses that most people think are essential, and living in town most of the time... vs living cheap and working little... spending lots of time in the wilderness. I get the feeling you might be the 1st group rather than the 2nd. Which is totally fine, but priorities are pretty different.

If you are in the first camp, then a comfortable vehicle with space inside seems like it would be important. You mentioned how beautiful the women were in TJ, so I assume entertaining ladies is on your agenda? If so forget SUVs entirely. You want a van. One you can stand in, with enough room to hang out with people. You'd also want to fix it up nice with all the normal amenities, like a toilet, heat, fridge, cook area, big propane tanks, full solar system, etc.

That doesn't mean you need to give up the ability to do some extended camping in the boonies, but... priorities. Forget about being able to go wherever a Jeep will... but you can get to remote places very well with a 2wd van with good ground clearance, tires, and locker. Look at old style body on frame GM and Ford vans (GMs are still available new), not the new style unibodies that don't have enough ground clearance and are not rugged enough. You can easily build your own hightop.
 

rruff

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Your truck is worth less. The thing that makes it seem of higher value is the value of money has gone down faster than the value of the truck.
I was responding to the statement "Immediate loss of 25% of value when you drive off the lot. Let someone else pay the depreciation." That was never close to being the case. Even in early 2020 my 4 year old truck had only depreciated maybe 10-15%, and there was very little vehicle inflation back then.

If buying new: 1) Get the cheap low trim model. They depreciate less. And it's also usually easier to.... 2) Get a good deal. Shop and look for clearances. Don't be stuck with local yokels who won't give you much of a discount on MSRP. Shop nationwide. If you have to spend $500 flying to save $5k, do it.

Of course in this day you won't likely find a deal on anything new or used. But it also won't depreciate when you drive it off the lot! ... because many don't want to wait 6 months or more to receive one.

I just checked on Cars.com. There are zero 2021 Tundra SRs available in the entire country with 4wd and the long bed. There is only one with any length bed and it's listed at $45k. If I was willing to wait several months I could probably get a 2022 (total redesign in 2022) for ~$41k... maybe. That's MSRP anyway. I paid $31.2k ($5k under MSRP) in 2016, and could sell it now for $35k easy. It only has 17k miles and looks new.

The value of money has certainly gone down where vehicles are concerned!
 
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