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Yet, millions of them are sold everyday!

There are many people who are content with buying used cars and don't mind the odors of other people who previously owned it. For me, I don't even like living in a used house! If you ever watched the show Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson was the presenter, you will realize how disgusting a used car can be. Other people's fecal matter, mucous and other bodily fluids that can never be completely removed from a used car.

In the US it's illegal to sell a used mattress yet a car with cloth upholstery which can absorb just as much filth is fine. There's also such things as molds and other allergens that collect inside a car over time. Not to mention inheriting someone else's problem and making it your problem.

My point is this: why are so many financial experts preaching this 'buy a used car' nonsense when they wouldn't be caught dead in an old car.

Most of the time new cars are better, safer, more reliable, more efficient, more comfortable and they also keep the economy going. Then you have car mechanic like Scotty Kilmer promoting buying old used car too -- saying how wonderful a used Toyota can be. I suspect a lot of these people believe they can live forever and they need to save as much money as possible and only spend it when they're old. Personally, I've had 2 cousins who died millionaires not so long ago. One was in his 40's and the other was in his early 50's. Not me, I would rather live rich; having nice things and comfortable new cars and die poor than live poor and die rich so the tax man could come and plunder my money.

End rant.
 

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So don't buy a used car then. What's the point of the rant? The majority of car owners don't have the choice as they can't afford to be new. Do you suggest that all cars, once the original owner decides to buy a new one, should be scrapped? How much safer do you think a new car is than a 2 year old car? At what age does a car become unsafe? 3 years? 4 years? My wife's car is 12 years old and is perfectly safe (was 9 years old when she bought it), it is serviced and MOTd every year to make sure that's still the case.

So, as I said, buy new if you want to, no-one's forcing you to do otherwise.

As for bodily fluids etc, do you wear gloves whilst out of the house? If not, I hope you don't touch toilet door, tables or indeed anything that has been touched by another human being.
 

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I always tend to buy new, but not for any of the above reasons mentioned.

I have seen the Top Gear episodes in question, and I think a lot of that is blown out of proportion with many times them buying their used cars from questionable resellers. Yes, you will inherit previous owner(s) histories with a used car and their might be some things not quite right, like when it was new, and some may have more wrong than others, but if you buy new from a reputable reseller, I think any such problems will be less.

The reasons I choose to buy new are:
  • better warranty
  • less expensive maintenance
  • latest tech
But we're all different so we'll all have various reasons for buying new or used.
 

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We live in a used world, surrounded by other people and their 'debris', dodging dog poop on sidewalks, having other people cough and sneeze on us, using door handles and keyboards and mice that others have handled. We eat food that has been prepared by others, or produce any number of people with any number of diseases have handled before us, and visit restaurants and fast food establishments which could be rat or roach infested, where food is kept in conditions we have no clue about.

I rather think the possible hazards of a used car are barely significant set against all that.

On the other hand, a new car loses a large slice of its cost and value immediately you drive it off the dealer's lot, and depreciates in value at a rate that makes it one of the worst 'investments' it is possible to make. Meanwhile, a used car already lost its initial value, and you buy it at the depreciated cost, which makes far more economic sense.

I'd go for the better economics than the irrational fear of fecal matter and mucus - if you share a home with other people, you're probably also sharing it with their fecal matter and mucus anyway!
 

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I'd go for the better economics than the irrational fear of fecal matter and mucus - if you share a home with other people, you're probably also sharing it with their fecal matter and mucus anyway!
Indeed, the original poster has completely misunderstood the thread title. Buying a new vehicle is definitely one of the worst "investments" you can make. And from that point of view, a second hand vehicle is definitely a better proposition. But, for some, economics are not the only factor or in fact not even a driving factor in the car buying equation - lucky them. More power to you. Buy what you want. For the rest of us, making our few hard earned dollars, (euros, etc) go as far as possible is a very real objective. In my mind, I'd much rather buy a better or higher end second hand car than a new car.

Onto the OP's comments re the state of second hand vehicles. Yes, some are disgusting and no amount of cleaning will suffice. However, I'd wager that for a good portion of all vehicles out there, their upkeep is pretty good and a proper detailing will be all that's needed to keep you "safe".

OB
 

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My first car was sort of used. It had been my parents, which they had bought new, so I had already driven it many times since they bought it and I knew its history and I never needed any major maintenance on it, until it completely failed, at which point I traded it in for another used vehicle. At the time this was was out of necessity as I was attending a college in the US and did not have a steady income. Buying that used car at the time also lowered the monthly payments that were still owing on the previous car, so I definitely came out ahead at the time. However, the vehicle itself was no where near as reliable as my previous ride. There were several imperfections in the interior as a result of the previous owners. But then it also suffered from many mechanical problems over the time that I owned it. Had a chronic problem with the wheel bearings that were constantly needing replacement. The alternator, I think must have been on it's last legs when I bought the car, it died about a year into ownership, while I was driving from St. Louis to Los Angeles, breaking down just outside Oklahoma City; but I had seen poor performance from the electrical system at high speeds (the headlights would dim over 80 km/h/50 mph) right from day 1, but once the alternator was replaced, it never happened again. Also had to have the clutch replaced about 5 months in, but that was probably due more to me as a new stick driver riding the clutch and not knowing any better.

Also, at one point shortly after I started driving, my parents bought a used Oldsmobile. Interior was okay, but it also suffered from a lot of mechanical problems, including breaking down an hour's drive outside the city less than a month after my parents bought it. Brakes always seemed like they didn't have enough stopping power...even with winter tyres, I can remember sliding through a couple of red lights because I couldn't stop. And anytime I had to make a wide left turn in the winter I was always afraid my backend was going fishtail. Also had to replace the transmission at one point on it. And we had chronic problems with the shocks. After that we went into a new smaller Hyundai Accent for our family car.

Anyways, those experiences kind of soured me towards used cars. I have since bought only new cars and never had any mechanical problems with any of them. I'm sure there are some great used cars out there. In fact, my best friend since high school, bought a used 2007 Santa Fe in 2012, and he's still driving it; he loves it. Mind you, it is now starting to show its age and having some mechanical and electrical faults. And, of course, as seen on this forum even, new cars can also have major faults right from the getgo, but these are always covered by warranty. This is not often the case when buying used.

So as for the title of the post...I think it's really both experience-based and reflective of your current needs and affordability. It's going to be different for everyone.

That said, they do have some excellent financing packages available on new cars these days that can make new cars quite affordable, especially given that warranties are generally much better on new than used.

So for me, buying new is a good investment, as buying used has always proved to be a poor investment, in my experience.
 

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Indeed, the original poster has completely misunderstood the thread title. Buying a new vehicle is definitely one of the worst "investments" you can make. And from that point of view, a second hand vehicle is definitely a better proposition. But, for some, economics are not the only factor or in fact not even a driving factor in the car buying equation - lucky them. More power to you. Buy what you want. For the rest of us, making our few hard earned dollars, (euros, etc) go as far as possible is a very real objective. In my mind, I'd much rather buy a better or higher end second hand car than a new car.

Onto the OP's comments re the state of second hand vehicles. Yes, some are disgusting and no amount of cleaning will suffice. However, I'd wager that for a good portion of all vehicles out there, their upkeep is pretty good and a proper detailing will be all that's needed to keep you "safe".

OB
What makes an investment good or bad is not tied solely to economics. Factors such as build quality and personal value also play a part. Buying a cheap used car that you have to spend up to 3 or 4 times as much on maintenance for over the first couple of years is far from a good investment compared to spending 50% more up front for a new car that will only cost you a couple of hundred in maintenance over the first couple of years. Ultimately it boils down to needs, as granted not everyone can afford to spend the extra on new and not all used will cost a mint in maintenance.
 

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If you ever watched the show Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson was the presenter, you will realize how disgusting a used car can be. Other people's fecal matter, mucous and other bodily fluids that can never be completely removed from a used car.
Ever slept in a hotel? Had dinner in a restaurant? Went to a public bathroom? Shaken someone's hands? Good luck fighting back the trauma or accept that we're part of this biological system that will leave traces whatever we do. You can get all hoity toity about buying used cars and good for you that you're rich enough to only buy new. But you've just disqualified everybody with less financial powers than yourself to be uncouth brutes who wallow in other people's mire. I guess it's lonely at the top.

Incidentally: what makes you think your own mucous and fecal matter is anything less filthy than other people's?
 

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I'd disagree with the previous post slightly. An investment is always and only tied to economics. At the end of the day, you're either up or down wrt to dollars and cents. However, a "good buy" is what matters most. And that evaluation would need to factor in many other aspects like, coolness, functionality, reliability, cost, etc. As mentioned buy many others here.

In my opinion, second hand vehicles very rarely end up costing more that new vehicles, if you look at total ownership costs. And for that to happen, you have to significantly over pay and then also buy a lemon. New cars cost a lot of money and depreciate hugely, (the moment you sign the paper work) and that is very hard to gain back in reduced maintenance, especially if you don't keep the vehicle long term. But all that excludes subjective appreciation, new safety features and many other things that may be lacking on an older (second hand) vehicle. And those subjective (and other points) have different non-monetary value to to different people.

So, strictly in terms of dollars and cents, second hand all the way. But.... that's not the only yard stick for buying a car.

OB
 

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I'd disagree with the previous post slightly. An investment is always and only tied to economics. At the end of the day, you're either up or down wrt to dollars and cents. However, a "good buy" is what matters most. And that evaluation would need to factor in many other aspects like, coolness, functionality, reliability, cost, etc. As mentioned buy many others here.
Well we shall agree to disagree as I think your definition of investment is stricter than mine.

In my opinion, second hand vehicles very rarely end up costing more that new vehicles, if you look at total ownership costs. And for that to happen, you have to significantly over pay and then also buy a lemon. New cars cost a lot of money and depreciate hugely, (the moment you sign the paper work) and that is very hard to gain back in reduced maintenance, especially if you don't keep the vehicle long term. But all that excludes subjective appreciation, new safety features and many other things that may be lacking on an older (second hand) vehicle. And those subjective (and other points) have different non-monetary value to to different people.
In the strictest sense, sure. But if you do get stuck with one that's unreliable, as has been my experiences, then the car is spending more time in the garage and less time on the road, it still may be cheaper, $-wise than a new, but you miss out on actually being able to rely on it and enjoy it and the whole reason you likely bought the car to begin with, and if that's part of your livelihood, then it could cost more in the long-run.

But you know...it's all where we're at in our lives and used makes sense for a lot of people as new makes sense for others. For me new has always been technically a little beyond my reach, but I've made it work, because I've had poor experiences with used, and so to me a used is not a good investment, but for others, I'm sure it's a great investment; certainly for best friend from high school, his used purchase has been fantastic investment for him and his family.

So, strictly in terms of dollars and cents, second hand all the way. But.... that's not the only yard stick for buying a car.

OB
Yes. Strictly-speaking yes, I'll agree with you, and as you say it's not the only yard stick. The way life works out is never strict, and you never know what will come your way.
 

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Cars are not investments, other than some collector cars. Investments have a chance to appreciate, cars don’t.
They add appreciation to your lifestyle or work.

To invest is to allocate money in the expectation of some benefit in the future.
Not every investment has to appreciate in and of itself, as long as it provides a benefit. Your lifestyle and/or work can be benefited by owning a reliable car.
 

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This has turned into a very interesting thread. It's great to read about what others evaluate in the vehicle purchase process.

OB
 

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They add appreciation to your lifestyle or work.
Not every investment has to appreciate in and of itself, as long as it provides a benefit. Your lifestyle and/or work can be benefited by owning a reliable car.
Your definition of investment is stunningly broad. What doesn't qualify? Ice cream does.
 

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From Lexico:

"noun
the action or process of investing money for profit or material result: a debate over private investment in road-building | a total investment of $50,000. • a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future: a used car is rarely a good investment. • an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result: the time spent in attending a one-day seminar is an investment in our professional futures."
 

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I guess it depends why you are buying a new or used car? Is it need vs want, and how you choose to spend your money? Depends also on how much money you have to spend on " luxury" items and activities. It comes down to what percentage of your income (and assets) are you using to buy that car. If it is high, then maybe you need to really prioritize your spending to need whether it is cars, vacations, or housing. And worst is to buy on credit for wants that you really can't afford.

Myself, I traded in a Prius C for a Kona EV. There is no way I could ever justify that purchase based on payback (even with free charging) for my expenditure. The Prius had a lot of years left in it, very low maintenance, and very good gas mileage. My Kona EV will probably depreciate more in the 1st two years than I got for my Prius. However, it was 5 years old, and was missing most of the latest driver assist and safety tech of the newer cars. I have had my share of used vehicles in the past, and at this time in my life, feel that I (and my wife) no longer have to deprive ourselves of a few " luxuries". However, we still have our limits, and did not go for a Tesla S or Audi e-Tron.

I read a book a number of years ago called Your Money or Your Life. It was very enlightening to me and how you need to find your own "fulfillment". It was actually written by a stock trader, and emphasized that it is not just about how much money you make, but how you spend it. And of course you need to balance investment (can't take it with you when you die) with quality of life.
 

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Your definition of investment is stunningly broad. What doesn't qualify? Ice cream does.
Yeah, I always get a kick out of how some politicians call spending our tax money an "investment". If that was indeed the case, our taxes should do down, and at some point should be no taxes, and instead the govt should be paying us with their surplus profits.
 

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Spending taxes wisely on almost anything except subsidies for the rich certainly can be an investment that pays off. For example, spending on roads let many industries and jobs flourish (and tax revenue) by providing needed infrastructure that cannot be done with private money. Education obviously. Even money for the poor increases circulating money (the poor don't hoard their benefits) and stimulates the economy.
 

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My first two cars were used. And they gave me a never ending series of problems, breakdowns, repairs, and general unreliable performance. That may have had more to do with the car brand than the fact that they were used. But the experience caused me to focus on reliabilty and value when buying my next car. In 2002 I bought a new Honda Civic. It had no fancy features so the cost to buy was low ($12,000). It got good gas mileage and almost never needed repairs so the cost to own was low. 16 years later I sold it for $2,000. That's a good value.

Now the same considerations (value, reliability, and efficiency) led me to buy a new Ioniq phev. I expect to keep this car for 10-15 years. I can't expect the same ownership cost per year but I think it's the perfect car for me. Another good value.
 

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Spending taxes wisely on almost anything except subsidies for the rich certainly can be an investment that pays off. For example, spending on roads let many industries and jobs flourish (and tax revenue) by providing needed infrastructure that cannot be done with private money. Education obviously. Even money for the poor increases circulating money (the poor don't hoard their benefits) and stimulates the economy.
Govts spending money wisely is an oxymoron. Infrastructure spending and incenting businesses to invest and create jobs and tax revenue is good. But unfortunately, govts are not very good at picking winners and losers, and more often than not, that spending is more political than truly beneficial (increasing GDP). Best is when govt gets out of the way, and lets individuals utilize their best talents to innovate and create wealth for everyone.
 
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