Road Ready: Should I Buy a New or Used Car

You’re standing at a crossroads trying to decide “Should I buy a new or used car?” You know you need a car, but with countless possibilities, you need to look at how to start your car buying journey.

Mapping out your path for the best car buying decision makes you a better consumer. Before you set one foot in the dealership, you will want to analyze what will best suit your needs.

1. The Car  

Know what you need. Do you need a family vehicle that can accommodate everyone, the dog, and maybe several bags of groceries? Alternatively, are you just looking for a car for your quick commute to the office? Are you looking for the great vacation car that can take you where you want to go? Knowing what you need will help you narrow down a 4-door sedan versus a 2-door coupe, for example.

2. Mileage

How many miles (per year or month) do you think you will average for the vehicle? More miles on any vehicle equals more maintenance. Added maintenance may directly impact part of your financial planning. You also want to think about what type of driving you will be doing. Do you make quick runs to the local shops or take long road trips on major interstates?

3. Options

Some options have become a requirement in cars today. It depends on what you need versus what you want. You may need air conditioning, but your first love would be heated seats. You may need to have Bluetooth compatibility for hands-free driving, but would love to keep your family entertained too with video capability.

Understanding these three guidelines for what you need for in a vehicle allows you to focus on whether a new car suits your needs or a used car is the best option.


  • Made to Order It is more than just that new car smell. You can get exactly what you want and need from your car. There is no worry about questionable vehicle history. You get a factory warranty coverage that helps with planning out your scheduled maintenance.
  • Latest and GreatestGet the most current technology that the industry has to offer. Vehicle technology incorporates safety, fuel efficiency and compatibility with modern needs. New cars allow you to take advantage of the latest technological advances. Driver assistance and lane guidance are just some of the newest additions.
  • FinancingMost new car loans offer lower interest rates. This is a key factor in the decision-making process as it will directly affect your monthly payments.


  • AffordabilityOver the 1st year, new cars depreciate significantly of original sticker price. In some cases, you can get a vehicle perhaps just a few years older with low miles.  If the new car averages $36,000, you may find that the similar quality vehicle just a few years older that may be closer to $22,000.
  • More for your money That slightly older vehicle may have all the options you want without that big sticker shock. You may be able to have the backseat entertainment package that you could not afford in the new car.
  • Maintenance for older vehiclesWhile it is true that more miles may lead to more maintenance requirements, you may want to look at ‘Certified Pre Owned’ vehicles. These have gone through a manufacturers inspection and often have a warranty extension. New internet tools can assist you in filtering specific vehicle history (for example, one owner or accidents reported), which will get you closer to what you want from your car.

At Members 1st of NJ Federal Credit Union, we want you to shop with confidence, save money and enjoy the open road.

Visit our auto shopping website here to help you find your next vehicle.