Car Buying Guide: New vs Used

Buying a car can be both exciting and overwhelming. You’re about to treat yourself to a set of wheels but at the same time, you’ve got some taxing decisions to make. One of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is: ‘should I buy a new or a used car?’ We’ll help you come up with an answer.

Before we compare the pros and cons of new and preloved vehicles, the following statistics may be interesting to note:

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), new car sales decreased by 30.7% in June 2020 when compared with June 2019. On the other hand, the number of used cars being sold continues to increase month-by-month with the total value of sales for the month of June 2020 increasing by 46% versus May 2020.

Does this mean that purchasing a used car is a trend? Or are there deeper reasons as to why preloved vehicles continue to skyrocket in sales while new cars are leaving the show-floor slower than usual? Is it because pre-owned cars are more affordable? Is it because individuals are trying to live more sustainably?

Perhaps the following pro and con lists will give us more insight.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a New Car



  • You know the history of the car and can have peace of mind knowing that it’s had no previous faults or that it hasn’t been in any accidents.
  • The vehicle will automatically come with a full warranty, guaranteeing you against certain faults for a period of time.
  • Most new cars are financed with better interest rates because they have lower risk factors.
  • If you plan on keeping the car you buy for many years, then a new vehicle will serve you better for longer.
  • You can pick and choose which features you want your car to come with before it’s delivered to you (such as the paint colour you prefer, for example).
  • Newer cars are less likely to have faults that come with collected mileage. This means that you’ll find yourself at the mechanic less often.
  • New cars come with the latest technology.



  • New cars are a lot more expensive and depreciate very quickly. They also don’t stay “new” forever.
  • The car insurance premiums on a new vehicle are usually higher because they pose more of a risk and parts are typically more expensive.
  • Some new cars come with added CO2 tax and sales VAT.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Used Car



  • Purchasing a pre-owned vehicle will be significantly more affordable as the previous owner will have absorbed the brunt of the depreciation amount.
  • You can buy a better car with your budget. Some latest models can still be bought second-hand.  
  • Some recent-model used cars are still within their factory warranty or they can be bought with an extended 5-year warranty.
  • You’ll have a wider selection of cars to choose from.




  • One of the biggest disadvantages of buying a used car is that you will probably never know its full history. For example, you may never know if it was in an accident or if it’s prone to mechanical failure.
  • The car will possibly come with wear and tear and will never be 100% perfect like a new car is at first.


Tips to Consider When Buying a Car


Whether you are buying a new or used car, it’s important to consider the following advice before finalising your choice.

  • Always test drive a vehicle before you sign on the dotted line. And if you can, get a mechanic to join you. This especially applies if you’re considering a pre-owned vehicle.
  • Take a closer look at the car’s body and do a slow inspection. Walk around the car and look for dents, signs of repair, and paint re-touches. Test all the handles of the doors too and make sure that they function smoothly.
  • Inspect the car’s interior. Test all the buttons to make sure the features work – for example, do the windows wind down easily? Can the mirrors be repositioned without a hassle? Do the seat mechanisms work efficiently?
  • Look through the service book to make sure the car’s services are up to date. Compare the actual mileage to the last service and get reassurance that all the dates check out.


Where Can You Find New and Used Cheap Cars?


Buying a car is probably the second largest amount of money you’ll have to let go of after purchasing a house. It’s a big deal! The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on car finance to find yourself a safe ride. In South Africa, cheap cars can be found at your local commercial, private, and online dealerships.

The bottom line…

Purchasing a vehicle is not always easy. Some individuals will always look for a bargain pre-loved model while others swear by cars off the showroom floor. The former option is the most affordable one, but the latter can offer more peace of mind as well as a feel-good factor that’s hard to ignore.

So, what will it be?