Don’t rule out a new car without crunching numbers – sometimes the overall cost is comparable or more favorable than a used car

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While most of the time buying a used car will save thousands over a new one, occasionally a specific car or situation will buck that trend. A new hybrid, for example, may be worth a few extra thousand dollars in upfront cost if it means saving thousands (in gas costs) over the life of the vehicle. Similarly, a used car is often more likely to break down, have a warranty about to run out, or be less efficient because of normal wear-and-tear. Consider your needs and price out a variety of hits to your budget (car payment, maintenance, warranty, insurance) in order to fairly compare whether buying a new or used car is best.

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