There are plenty of questions involved in the process of buying an automobile, but the first, most straightforward one is probably the most important: Should you purchase new or used? To help you choose, we’ve laid out the advantages of both below. Keep in mind that although there are more edges listed on the new side, the professionals in the column that are used are ones that are huge and in many cases can be more to your edge.

EDGES OF BUYING NEW

Chances are, you can spec a new car only the way you need it, or possess the dealer search for one with the proper mix of interior and exterior colors and options.

It’s Not Used — Well, duh. A fresh car hasn’t been in any injuries, has not been mistreated by unknown evildoers, does not smell funny, has seen no wear or tear, and comes with a clean history that comprises just being driven off the line, onto a transporter, and around the dealer’s lot.

Guarantee — Like the rest of it, the new car’s warranty is untouched. You can purchase guaranteed for used cars or go the certified pre-owned course, but the best guarantee you can get–without paying additional–will be the one that includes a brand new car from the maker.

Multimedia and navigation interfaces are constantly evolving and improving when you need to have the latest in gadgets (and don’t desire to add them yourself post-factory) the selection will be better in the new-car showroom.

Security — As vehicle safety laws become ever more stringent, automakers are made to alter the way vehicles are built as well as the safety systems with which they are equipped. Some form of tire pressure monitoring is now required on all vehicles sold in the U.S., and by 2012, stability control will be, too. Other technologies which are not mandated, like blind-spot monitoring systems, side curtain airbags, adaptive cruise control, and brake assist are becoming more common on more affordable vehicles as their associated costs come down.

Higher Fuel Efficiency and Reduced Emissions — Again, partly thanks to Big Brother, autos are mainly getting more fuel efficient, even while simultaneously getting more strong. The newest crop of diesel is cleaner than in the past, if that is your thing, and alternatives in the hybrid segment are growing, too.

Financing — Banks offer lower funding rates on new vehicles since the vehicles are inherently worth more and haven’t already been hit by depreciation. Keep in mind that, when a greater amount is still applied to by the lower APR, total cost or your payments may still be greater. But if you plan to finance, assess your deals prior to purchasing. The auto that is more affordable might not turn out to be the better deal in the long term.

Maintenance — Some new automobiles, mostly those from luxury marques, contain free scheduled maintenance for some amount of mileage or time. This built-in cost economy ought to be considered in the final price evaluation if applicable.

Legwork — Once you have picked the brand, or, at least, a vehicle you are interested in, a lot of the new-auto search may be offloaded on the salesperson, who can locate the car you ask for. The exact same search in the kingdom that is used requires a lot more legwork on your part– driving from used lot to used lot, visiting multiple private sellers, and hunting on the net.

ADVANTAGES OF PURCHASING USED

Cost — Comparing apples to apples, a secondhand car is going to be less costly. The relative benefit of the used car price can also allow a buyer to step up to a nicer version.

Depreciation — Automobiles lose value with the mile and each passing month, but the steepest fall happens right away; some models can lose more of their value or 40 percent in the very first year. With a used car, there’s no depreciation hit the second.

Like lending, insurance rates will likely be impacted by the age of a car, but in this case, the used vehicle tends to be less expensive.

Alternative — Although you obviously can’t build a car that is used to order, perhaps you need a model, choice bundle, or even wheel design that is no longer made. This wider assortment can increase the length of the search, but satisfaction and perfection infrequently come readily.