Reader Question: Skip the First Year?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Scott asks: Would you buy the first year of a new/heavily updated car? I’ve heard that it’s better to wait until the next year – by which time problems with the first year model will be known about and (hopefully) corrected?

My reply: There’s actually a better reason to wait until the second year – though the reason you’ve mentioned is a valid one. There’s always going to be a higher risk of something unexpected happening with a car that’s just been redesigned or which is “all new.” The manufacturers do a lot durability testing, but that doesn’t always screen for problems that end up going into production. Even if you don’t get the bill for this – because the car will be under warranty – it’s still a hassle. It defeats one of the main reasons for buying a new car – which is to not have to deal with a problem car.

And then there’s the other reason to wait a bit.

A new model – or a heavily updated one – is probably going to get a lot of attention from prospective buyers, especially if it’s a model that’s already popular. That makes them easier to sell – which makes it harder to negotiate a good deal. You have a much better chance of driving new car home if it’s a little old. The same car as last year’s car – just one calendar year newer.

If you don’t have to have to be the first on your block to have the latest thing, there’s a very good chance you’ll pay less for it.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. It’s becoming obvious that any modern car is going to have serious issues within 10 years. The over complicated drivelines and numerous electronic devices are failing hard now, on 10 year old vehicles. The latest batch are probably going to be even worse as the downsides of massively turbocharged micro engines, direct injection, 10 speed transmissions, dozens of sensors and variable valve timing become apparent.

    Also, almost all new cars are year specific unique. Year to year changes often make even carryover model parts incompatible with the previous or following year models.

    Can’t imagine why anyone would buy any new car today.

    But I may be odd. My last job interview had a very awkward moment where I was asked if they could contact me via social media. “Sure, if I ever decide to get a social media account”. They did not seem to even understand the comment. I had to clarify that I was serious and did not have anything but email.

    • Sounds like me. I couldn’t be paid enough to do social media. Last job I had dispatched with email. I could handle that except for their discrepancies you’d have to email some other person other than dispatch to find out what was really going on. I don’t mind showing up and waiting….if I’m getting paid. I detest to be working for 25% of the load and be waiting hours for a load or to get unloaded.

      I’ve been known, when being mocked by the workers(Galveston, yankee Teamsters, the most vile people I’ve met)to threaten the boss….physically and make him sign my load papers, then go out and unchain and make very fast circles till it was no longer on my truck. You gotta fuck with me for a long time to get that sort of reaction.

      I called the broker once and caused the entire bunch to stay and keep unloading not only my truck but a lot of others that should have already been unloaded.

  2. As a young man, waiting for the next year model meant something to me. Now I wait 30 years till I know that’s a good vehicle and I can buy a couple others for parts.

    I know all the things a new pickup will do that my 93 won’t. It has electric locks and windows, a great stereo, a large hauling/towing capacity and is a good foot or more closer to the ground. Its 4WD is manual so no button will ever screw me up. A new pickup can do such as not even work after putting a work bed on it and re-installing the back cams in the same area. Ford always has a better idea so I know two guys with new Ford pickups they are still waiting for the first guy to get his to run…..because of the work bed.


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