When my sister was in college, she drove a little worn out Datsun station wagon. It was a hand me down from our step dad to our older sister to her. It had about 200,000 miles on it and the clutch was just about to give out when she first inherited it. To tell you how bad it was, she always drove in the right lane on four lane roads so that when the clutch was slipping and she couldn’t get it to work or it broke down it was easier to pull over to the side and get out of the road. When she took it to get the state inspection, she had to flirt with the attendant to get him to mark it safe enough to pass.
There was a slight incline at one stoplight on her route from her part-time job to her apartment. She always tried to watch the light and plan ahead so she could make it to the light when it was green. One evening, she was forced to stop at the light. This sent terrors through her because if a car stopped too close behind her, and the clutch was slipping, she would roll backwards. Sure enough the clutch was slipping and she almost rolled into the car behind her, all the while he was blowing the horn thinking she didn’t know how to drive. She got to her apartment in tears and called our Mom to tell her about it.
Fortunately, my sister was close to graduation, so that weekend, our parents took her to get a new car which they agreed to make the payment on until she graduated.
Sis swore she would not have another used car so she chose a Volkswagen Beetle. She and my parents went to the Volkswagen dealer purchased a shiny new yellow bug. With this car, she didn’t have to worry about maintenance except putting gas in it and taking it to the dealership for its scheduled maintenance which included the oil changes, tire rotations, etc.
Purchasing used cars are certainly less expensive, however, you never know whose mess you may be getting. New cars depreciate as soon as you drive them off the lot and they become used, however, they come with a warranty. If affordable, my choice would always be a new car.