Depending on your needs
if you care about price or fuel efficiency, then get a used car to save money.
if you care about costs over the life of the car (which includes depreciation, maintenance and fuel), buy new.
the choice to buy one over the other is often determined by economics behavior; in general people make poorer decisions when they are paying with their own money (tasks like rationally investing capital) than when they are largely not responsible for cost (like eating dinner at home). that said, if you really want an old car, research to find out what else is available – all cars will eventually need repair and gas seems expensive these days too.
what is the best age to buy a used car?
expected life of a used car
the best age to buy a used car is when the vehicle is between five and seven years old with fewer than 160,000 miles.
this is close enough in range that it's hard to specify any one particular year, but cars definitely start depreciating in value after four or so years and you'll want to be able to get out of your new-to-you car at least two months before it becomes too old for registration in most states. it's also prudent not to buy anything older than 10 years (although, if you're mechanically skilled or handy, they can often end up turning into “treasures”).
so what does depreciation really mean? that means
is it a good time to buy a car 2021?
yes, if you're able to afford the car and anticipate that your personal and economic situation will be about the same or better than it is now. if not, then no. it's more important for people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck to focus on getting out of debt and building assets rather than buying a depreciating asset like a car. this is where the compound interest calculator can help – it shows how many years ago (or today), an extra $1 of after-tax income would've been worth in terms of purchasing power.
what used cars not to buy?
luckily, it's possible to find a reliable and affordable car and still get style. put some thought into the things you want in your car and do your research before buying. but don't take this question too seriously–if you can afford it, just buy what makes you happy!
noah vishnezky (owner of an affordable european automobile)