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What car – new or used?
Undoubtedly, at first sight it seems that a brand new car is a better idea than a used one. However, according to statistics, mere 40% of car owners in Latvia prefer new cars, while 60 % prefer pre-owned cars.
Upon purchase of a used car, there is clash between two conflicting interests: the seller is interested in selling at a higher price, while the buyer wants to purchase at a lower price. The objective in making the right choice should be to avoid the risk that the car may need expensive repairs.
How to find balance between the quality and price? Attention should be paid not only to the age and mileage, but also to various technical issues. As the prospective buyer lacks technical expertise, car purchase is often a lottery. To avoid loss, the car should be thoroughly checked at, preferably, experienced auto centres with a good reputation.
Lately, the market has become much more flexible as, in case of buying a car from an individual, you can take the car to an auto repair shop and have it checked before the purchase. Some auto centres also offer warranty (ranging from 100 days to 2 years) on cars, which are up to 5 years old, however that means visiting a repair shop that offers to buy such a service.
What you should know when choosing a car
As recommended by the Road Traffic Safety Directorate (RTSD) experts, one should pay more attention to the car’s technical condition, rather than the age. In this case, all depends on how the previous owner took care of their car. Also, if the dashboard shows a suspiciously small odometer reading, it does not necessarily mean that the car is indeed nearly new (e.g. it has been used rarely).
According to the RTSD statistics, an average of 83.3 % used automobiles aged from 3 to 5 years, pass the roadworthiness test at the first attempt (see the table: Used Car Roadworthiness Testing Statistics). This is a direct proof of the technical condition, operating safety, and price on the secondary market. It is of particular importance for customers, who have decided to take out a lease on the car.
Used Car Roadworthiness Testing Statistics
|Age of the Car||Cars that pass roadworthiness test at the first attempt|
|3 – 5 years||average of 83,3 %|
|80 % līdz 90 %*||HONDA, SAAB, AUDI, MAZDA, BMW, TOYOTA, NISSAN, SUBARU, VOLVO, MERCEDES, FORD, SUZUKI, VW|
|70 % to 80 %*||MITSUBISHI, CHRYSLER, RENAULT, OPEL, CITROEN, ŠKODA, FIAT, PEUGEOT, HYUNDAI, VAZ|
|6 – 9 years||vidēji 71,8 %|
|70 % to 80 %*||TOYOTA, SUBARU, HONDA, BMW, MAZDA, AUDI, MERCEDES, NISSAN, SAAB|
|50 % to 70 %*||OPEL, VW, VOLVO, SUZUKI, FORD, RENAULT, CHRYSLER, HYUNDAI, PEUGEOT, VAZ, ŠKODA, FIAT, CITROEN|
|10 – 15 years||vidēji 58,6 %|
|50 % to 65 %*||SUBARU, MERCEDES, TOYOTA, HONDA, AUDI, BMW, MAZDA, MITSUBISHI, SUZUKI, OPEL, VW, NISSAN, HYUNDAI|
|35 % to 50 %*||CHRYSLER, SEAT, SAAB, FORD, VOLVO, RENAULT, GAZ, PEUGEOT, VAZ, CITROEN, ŠKODA, FIAT, MOSKVICH, ZAZ|
|More than 15 years||average of 45.1 %|
|45 % to 50 %*||SUBARU, MERCEDES, AUDI, TOYOTA, GAZ|
|27 % to 44 %*||VAZ, MAZDA, SAAB, HONDA, VW, MITSUBISHI, BMW, ZAZ, VOLVO, FORD, OPEL, SUZUKI, NISSAN, PEUGEOT, RENAULT, FIAT, MOSKVICH, CITROEN|
* Percentage of instances when vehicles in the said age group are successfully tested for roadworthiness at the first attempt.
Best type of leasing
There are two leasing options to choose from depending on the purposes and objectives behind the car purchase – operating lease or finance lease.
For used cars, only finance lease is available. When you are leasing a used car to buy it, the car’s value is distributed over a certain period of time, which is agreed depending on the age of the car of your choice. Consequently, each month you cover a small portion of the purchase price of the car and after the last payment the car is fully owned by you. Plus, used cars can be bought either from dealerships or from individuals (in the latter case the transaction is exempted from VAT). For further information about the terms of finance lease, see here.
Those, who wish to buy a new car, will often find operating lease, which is more comparable to long-term renting, more suitable. Namely, the car is made available for your use for a limited period of time. During such time you pay for the car’s wear-and-tear value and, when the contract runs out, you will have a chance to decide whether you wish to buy the car by paying the residual value, return the car to the person, who will redeem it (the person is indicated at the time of entering into the lease contract), or to assign the redemption right to a third party. If you opt not to redeem the car, you can enter into a new lease contract and pick out other, a later car model at the dealership. For further information about the terms of operating lease, see here.
How to reduce expenses on car?
The principles of cost-efficient driving are explained by Arturs Priednieks, Training Director at the School of Safe Driving.
- If you wish to save, you’ll need to change your driving habits and style. Further details are available on our website at www.dbs.lv
- Choice of car matters. If the car is not serving as a sign of prestige and you don’t need a big car on day-to-day basis, I’d recommend going for a small-sized vehicle. To take a fridge or sofa to your cottage once a year, you can as well rent a trailer or a minivan.
- On the technical side, a great deal of attention should be paid to the moment of starting to drive. It’s not worth to use the 1st gear too much – it is meant only to set the car into motion for the first 4 – 8 meters. Where possible, engine revolutions should be reduced. One should avoid situations when the car needs to get in motion from zero. It is important to avoid having to brake unless really necessary, ensuring a smooth running, because it takes a lot of energy to set one-and-a-half tons (weight of the car) into motion. As a result, fuel consumption goes up.
- Car’s technical condition should be followed because even depressurising tyres won’t help save fuel. Unless necessary, one should not have the roof rack on as it creates a considerable windage (air resistance).
- And, of course, the biggest fuel economy will be achieved by walking, instead of driving, to the nearest store. It’s cheaper and healthier.