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Why I Opted to Buy a Used Car: Thoughts of a First-time Car Owner

'It took me years … before I eventually decided that a secondhand car is the best option for me.'

By: Jason Rondero | March 15, 2017
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It was a long-term goal for me to get my own car. But before I even get into the details of why I made such a purchase, and my choice of getting a secondhand car, let’s first put things in context. I believe this would help give a better understanding about my choice and even help you in your own decision-making.

I am more inclined to commute and get into public transportation. I never got to learn to drive before I actually got my own ride and was content and got used-to commuting. However, with the changes in climate and the growth in population in and out of the metro adding to the woes of commuting, public transportation has started to lose much of its charisma to me. I decided to save for my own car back in 2005.

It was only mid-2016 that I finally achieved that goal.

why choose a secondhand car

“I still commute from time to time and I’d say I won’t ever get used to encountering this many people.”

Why did I want to have my own means of transpo? First, for emergency purposes. No explanation needed. Second, I wanted to own one so that I can, in essence, leave and travel at my own pace (to some extent). Meaning, I won’t rely on the unreliable trains, nor be at the mercy of buses that stop and go on a whim.

Lastly, is for leisure. On nights that I want to enjoy time with family or friends, I don’t have to worry on how I and my companions are supposed to go home especially when taxis are picky at places where jeepneys are not that safe an option.

why choose a secondhand

“On nights that I want to enjoy time with family or friends, I don’t have to worry on how I and my companions are supposed to go home.”

Now that’s out of the way, here’s why I opted to buy this pre-owned Honda City Type Z model 2002 instead of getting a brand new model.

First, secondhand cars are cheaper. I think that goes without saying. We know that the price ranges from something around PhP300,000 to more than a million pesos depending on the year it was released, the model, brand, and the type of car. But as we also know, and this is common knowledge among seasoned drivers and car dealers, the value of a car unit automatically goes down the moment it steps out of the place you bought it from. So it’s unthinkable for me to spend so much on a brand new car when a well-maintained, secondhand car can do just as much. Remember though, one essential word is well-maintained. Will get back to it later.

Others may argue that car dealers nowadays have somehow given people an easier option in acquiring a car. What immediately comes to mind are zero down payment plans. It’s much better than how it was before when you need to provide a down payment before you could even think of getting your car.

However, I didn’t want the hassle of minding the monthly payment for a car when I could do it for an even bigger purchase, like my own house. So, I saved up as much as I can and used it to get a car that is equal to whatever amount I had on hand. I’m not saying paying via an installment plan is outright a poor choice. What I’m saying is that, I’d much rather worry about something else on a monthly basis.

why choose a secondhand car

“It took me years and a lot of things to consider before I eventually decided that a secondhand car is the best option for me at the time.”

Going back to the subject of car maintenance, knowing which car is well-maintained or not is a real tough one. Rule of thumb, don’t get allured by looks—or by first impressions—most especially when it comes to cars.

I think this much we all know but at the same time neglect. You may be captivated by the awesome paint job on that car you’ve been scouting; or you probably think that the sound system is really out-of-this-world; while in the others you find the interior clean and the fine leather seats tempting and classy. Don’t get swayed into buying just because of the same reasons stated that are related to looks.

Find the best secondhand cars for you by checking our list of used cars or browse our ShoppersGuide Directory for specific brands.

But as a would-be first time owner, how would you know that the car is well-maintained and still runs well? Unless of course you’re an experienced mechanic. And that’s it, when inspecting secondhand cars, bring a trustworthy mechanic with you.

Ask that friend of yours, the one who has been driving for years, or the one who had the privilege of owning several units. Ask them who checks and maintain their car/s. Ask them whom they trust when it comes to keeping their ride in top form or at least in reliable condition. Bring your knowledgeable friend or the mechanic with you and ask them to scrutinize for you the unit you’re eyeing.

Another rule of thumb comes to mind: Ask for expert opinion. When I got my first (and only) car I did just that. You’d be surprised at what kinds of problems are hidden from our untrained eyes.

why choose a secondhand car

“If it weren’t for my friends and experts’ advice, I wouldn’t have bought a pre-owned car. It never hurts to heed the advice of experts.”

As I’ve learned from my friends, and most especially from the mechanics I’ve talked to, as long as the car runs fine, and it doesn’t bail out on you on the road, then by all means get the secondhand car. As long as I can depend on the car to bring me from point A to point B without causing a problem, then it’s as good as any brand new car. Then again, with less money spent.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve only learned how to drive the moment I started practicing on my newly purchased secondhand car. But unlike me, you may already be an experienced driver even before you got your own car. Even so, and indulge me a bit on this, driving your own car is different when driving someone else’s. If you think the way I do, or at least agree with my train of thought, you won’t contest me if I say that, no matter how careful you are in driving your own car, you won’t be as careful with it as you are you driving someone else’s. Why?

Imagine if you scrape or even chip the paint of your friend’s car? What about if you miscalculated and hit the break a little late but just enough so as not to cause a wreck? How about if while parking you, if only for a moment, forgot to look at the right side mirror and you hit that lamp post and grazed the car? You get the drift? This is going to be on your account.

Every dent or scratch you put on your friend’s car or whose car it is will have to be paid by you. That’s pretty much a given unless of course you and the car owner have a different arrangement which for the sake of this discussion will not be factored in. Hence we’ll go back to the scenario of you paying whatever damage you have inflicted on that car that is not yours in the first place.

why choose a secondhand car

“One thing friends keep on reminding me is to prioritize safety when driving.”

Now if it were your car you were driving, the dents, scratches, fender benders, and whatnot, are not that much of a worry. No one’s going to pressure you to pay for repairs immediately.

With that said, consider driving your brand new car. I’m sure the car will be in and out of the repair shop more often than any of us could admit. Yes, the insurance is there to cover for the expenses but just how much is the limit? Needless to say, I’m in the boat that says “since it’s my first car, I’d rather have a pre-owned one since I’m going get it damaged anyway.”

All in all, I’m not imposing my thoughts on anyone. I’m just giving an honest recap and evaluation of what went through my mind when I bought that car I have now, and maybe you can pick up a thing or two here before you purchase your own car. By the way, it has only been 8 months with me.
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About Jason Rondero
Jason plays bass for Silent Sanctuary and Brisom. A League of Legends and anime/cartoons junkie, he hates not finishing one's food and sleeps most comfortably with a blanket even when it's hot. He also just recently mended his lost ties with desserts and the beach. His personal blog is:
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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