Buying a car is a big choice to make, and as such, is not a decision to be entered into lightly.

Considering the substantial investment required (even on the best deals) and the amount of time you’ll be expecting to spend with it, buying the right car is a difficult decision to make even when you know whether you want to buy it new or used.

The thing about the choice between new and used is that there isn’t any right choice in the matter. There is no set answer that will lead you to the best decision, but the right choice is rather dependant on your lifestyle, your needs and situation, the particular car you are thinking of buying, or indeed, the exact expectations you are looking out for in a car.

This might seem overwhelming but fret not, we are here to help.

We will give you a few pointers to think about when deciding between a new or second hand car including how the price will affect your decision, what you can expect in terms of dependency, the cost and the frequency of maintenance tasks, how it affects your premiums, your  value for money and of course, in the long-term, the vehicle’s resale value.


Consider the Price

We’ll start with the price to get the most obvious talking point out of the way. For many buyers, the choice between new and used comes right down to the price; first and foremost.

The price of things is always the first to impact our purchasing decisions, and wherever cars are being bought and sold, things are no different, if not accentuated by the cost of a vehicle.

If price is an issue for you, second hand is generally a good way to go.

But if price isn’t that much of an issue, that doesn’t mean you should rush right through to the new car market. Second hand cars can still be an excellent buy if they are in good enough condition; or aren’t too old a model.

Remember that depreciation doesn’t have to work against you (although it likely eventually will), not when you are a buyer, but this, for obvious reasons, only really applies when buying a second hand car.


Dependability Today

Not too long ago, the dependability of a second hand car was anybody’s guess. One of the main reasons why people preferred to buy a new car over a used one was that they were generally far more reliable.

When buying an older model of a used car, this is certainly still something to think about, you can’t really put a price on reliability.

So, when I say that ‘they don’t make them like they used to anymore’, I’m being positive about it.

Used cars, these days, offer a lot more in reliability than they used to. Old engine failures and broken parts are not exactly out of the equation no, but if the second hand car in question is in good enough condition, there is no reason to suspect that it won’t be as dependable as a new one.

So, if dependability is a key factor that is steering you further away from buying a used car, give it a little more thought. If you opt for a late enough model from a good brand, and ensure that you inspect the car thoroughly for any damage, latent or not, there is a good chance you won’t have to worry about dependability, neither in the short run nor the long run.


Maintenance is Maintenance. Usually

As is the case with dependability, second hand cars have a similar approach to maintenance. Your maintenance efforts and costs will be largely reliant on the condition of the car before you bought it, as well as what type of vehicle it is, and how old a model it is.

Every vehicle in operation, whether brand new or decades old, needs to undergo regularly scheduled maintenance; there is no way around that.

The frequency of maintenance will depend on the age of the car, yes, but is more dependant on how well it has been looked after in the past. Was it serviced when it needed to be? Was it driven with care? Has it ever been in an accident?

The other thing to think about when it comes to the cost of maintenance concerns what make of car you are looking at; and this will be affected whether it is new or used.

Certain manufacturers need to import parts here when they are ordered. This means that they need to be produced and shipped in such a way that makes them expensive, difficult to source, or both; usually both.

If you’re looking at a car where spares are difficult to come by, buying new if you can afford to might be a better option. The reason for this is that it is less likely to need any replacements than a used vehicle, so while you will pay roughly the same to have those parts replaced, you won’t need to do it as early on.


Insurance Premiums

Now, let’s take a moment to talk about insurance premiums, because all car owners have to pay them whether they buy new or used.

Insurance is one of those things that you simply have to factor into the price, so it is always a worthwhile thing to think about when deciding whether to buy new or used.

At the basic level, insurance premiums are determined according to the value of the object being insured.

Of course, this amount will change depending on things like the risk of theft associated with the car, and the risk that the intended driver poses in terms of their driving history, age and gender.

But at the start of it all, vehicles are looked at in terms of their value and your premiums are worked out according to a percentage of that; so buying cheap often means cheaper insurance.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. There are certain vehicles that are known throughout South Africa for their likelihood of being stolen, and even though these vehicles may come with a lower value than other types, they come with higher premiums purely because of their risk.

These cars typically include high value brands like BMW, VW vehicles are also common prey for thieves. Toyotas are also quite popular amongst criminal opportunists; in fact, SAPS report them as the most stolen cars in the country, with almost double the number of cars stolen from the second-place listing, Volkswagen.

However, beyond the increase in insurance premiums, avoiding any high-risk cars is a good idea anyway; the lower premiums on safer cars is just a great bonus.


Getting More for Your Spend

Another major concern for those deciding between new and used vehicles comes in terms of value for money; what you get versus what you pay.

There is something to be said about settling for what you can afford and still loving the car, when you buy new; but much of that is simply the excitement of getting a new car.

Not having to settle for something good enough within your price range, and actually getting the exact make and model you want; is something different entirely.

This is one of the main attractions to buying a used car. Since you will definitely be paying less for what you get, you are able to branch out a bit more and look at vehicles that, when bought new, would otherwise be outside of your price range.

Of course, this is still a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, you don’t want to be lumped up with buyer’s remorse because you bought a second hand car purely based on what type of car it is.

Even if it is a relatively new model of the car you wanted, you should still take care to inspect it thoroughly for anything that might pose a problem later; and this is definitely something you shouldn’t neglect to do when buying something with a bit more mileage behind it.


Worried about Resale Value?

The next thing that you want to think very carefully about will affect you in the long-term, and is also dependant on a few factors aside from whether it is new or used.

Most buyers are concerned with what they will be able to get back when the day comes for them to sell their car or trade it in.

We all know how rapidly they depreciate the moment you drive them off the showroom floor. In fact, most cars can lose up to 10% of their value within a month of first driving it; a statistic which only worsens with each year of ownership.

For the most part, this is as unavoidable when driving away in a new car as it is when buying a second hand car. However, if you are looking to sell it on and get a higher value for your vehicle, a new car might be a better answer.

You can also make this decision based on the type of car you are buying. Remember that not all cars depreciate at the same rate; some of them do it faster than others.

Certain makes, particularly those that are known for availability of parts and retaining their condition better than others, will also depreciate less than other types of cars. Toyotas are often on the top of this list, with many of their makes depreciating around 37% slower than other brands. If you’re in the market for a Porsche 911, the same is true.

However, you may be looking for a workhorse, something that you expect will be run into the ground. In such a case resale value will likely not even occur to you, since its not something that will likely ever come up.

In these cases, a reliable second hand car is almost always a better option, since you will likely end up retiring it long before you consider selling.


Looking for a Second Hand Car? Visit

Hopefully, by asking yourself about the price, dependability, maintenance costs, insurance costs, value and possibility of resale of a vehicle, you will have an easier time coming to a decision of whether to buy a second hand car, or a new one.

Either way is a good one to take depending on your exact needs and situation, but it is a decision that should be made with the utmost consideration and care, considering the cost of buying a car.

If you are in the market for a new car, why not shop from the comfort of wherever you are by logging on to We collate deals from a range of dealerships all over the country to bring you the car of your dreams, in the easiest possible way.

In addition to this, we can link you up with the ideal insurers for your vehicle right on our website, we can help you calculate your vehicle finance with our nifty calculation tool, and also offer a range of vehicle related services.

Want to find out more about finding the perfect car through us? Be sure to get into contact with a representative from today, or visit our website for details.