How much does peace of mind cost?
While there is no specific answer, many people use the “peace of mind” reasoning to justify purchasing a new car instead of a used one. There are simply fewer unknown factors when buying new. There are no previous owners, no potential hidden damage, no abuse and no chance the car was previously totalled. Plus, the warranty on new cars gives buyers the ability to sleep easy at night, knowing they are covered for at least a few years in the event of a catastrophic failure.
Buying used offers none of those guarantees. Even late-model used cars can suffer tremendous breakdowns and cost thousands of dollars to repair. No one knows this better than my brother, the once-proud owner of a 2007 GMC Acadia.
The Acadia was a new model from GM for the 2007 model year, replacing the aged-out GMC Envoy. After researching many used cars, my brother bought his Acadia 11 months ago. At the time of purchase, he also bought an extended-warranty insurance plan through his credit union, a decision that has saved him about $10,000 in repairs.
In the short amount of time my brother has owned his Acadia, there have been no fewer than 10 breakdowns that rendered the vehicle undriveable. The latest came on a road trip last week from Washington state to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Acadia’s transmission failed near Butte, Montana, and it has remained at a GMC dealer ever since. At last word, the vehicle will be ready on Thursday of this week. While the cost of repairs and towing are covered by that warranty, the cost of a rental car for the past week has come out of his back pocket.
Needless to say, my brother is not happy with his GMC experience and has expressed his desire to write a strongly worded letter to GM executives demanding they buy back his car. While that’s an unlikely result considering he bought the car used, his story is a strong reminder of the power of peace of mind. (While I’ve heard of similar problems with other ’07 GM trucks, it should be noted that quality has vastly improved in recent years.)
When buying used, it’s always a good idea to consider adding an extended warranty if you have the option. Most dealers offer such programs on used cars, but as with everything, be sure to shop around. Sometimes banks or credit unions can offer similar products at a reduced price.
Have you ever bought a used car that turned out to be a lemon?