New vs used traffic signs
Back to Tips and Guides

Our guide to buying new vs used cars

If you’re trying to choose between getting a brand-new, a nearly new or a used car, there are lots of things to consider. In this guide, we’ll help you choose the option that suits you best. 

Can I get the specification I want?

If you decide to buy a new car, you’ll have the full range of customisation options available. If you buy a nearly-new car or a used car, you won’t have that luxury, but you can shop around to find one that fully or partly matches the specification you want.

A new car will have the latest technology, but a nearly new car shouldn’t be far behind. They are usually more fuel efficient than older used cars, too, which could help you cut down on running costs.

Are newer cars safer?

New and nearly new cars should typically be safer than older models. All popular models go through Euro NCAP[1] tests and are given a rating. However, the criteria for the ratings do change, meaning that a car that receives a 5 star rating today will be safer than a car that was given a 5 star rating five years ago. This can make comparing the safety rating of two cars of different ages quite difficult. 

What about warranty?

A new car will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which usually ranges between three and five years. This should give you the peace of mind that, if there is a fault with your vehicle, you won’t have to foot the bill yourself.

If you buy a nearly new car, it will usually come with part of this warranty - how much time you have left on it will depend on the length of the warranty and the age of the car.

A used car won’t usually come with the manufacturer’s warranty, as it will most likely have expired. However, if you buy your car from a dealer, it will often come with a dealer’s warranty.

If you buy a used car from a private seller it won’t have a warranty, which could cost you dearly in the long run, if there is a fault. Always make sure you check over a car closely before you buy it. Ideally, take a mechanic with you when you go to view it and ask for a test drive. 

Can I send a car back?

Whether you buy a new car, a nearly new car or a used car from a dealer, it must be fit for purpose, as described and of a satisfactory quality (for its age and mileage). This is stated in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If this isn’t the case, you are within your rights to return it within 30 days.

If you spot a fault over 30 days after you’ve purchased the car, but under six months, the dealer must repair the car, swap it or give you your money back. If you spot a fault after you’ve had the vehicle for over six months, you will usually have to pay for the repair yourself, unless you can prove that the fault occurred before the car belonged to you.

If you buy a car from a private seller, they are under no legal obligation to let you return the car. It will be your responsibility to make sure it is of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose before you make the purchase.

Will I be paying a premium?

New cars can be substantially more expensive than nearly new and used cars, as they depreciate faster. In fact, as soon as you drive a new car off the forecourt, it loses value.

Whatever type of car you buy, you may decide to pay for it in full or opt for a finance package. Some dealers offer a number of finance packages, including 0% finance. If you buy from a private seller, you will usually need to pay for the car in full. 

When it comes to insurance, the insurer you choose will look at a variety of factors when deciding how much to charge you for your annual policy. This includes where you live, how many years of no claims bonus you have, where your car will be parked and the car’s insurance group[2]. Every car is given a car insurance group of between 1 and 50. A car from a lower car insurance group will be cheaper to insure than one from a higher group.

Shopping around for quotes and choosing fully comprehensive cover could save you money.

Click here to get a quote for Rias car insurance >