Looking to buy a car? We’re here to help you understand your options and provide the tools to help you make your decision.

Should I buy a new or used car?

Here are some tips to help you decide whether to buy a new or used car:

  1. Calculate car trade-in value.

  2. Use an auto loan payment calculator.

  3. Estimate the car depreciation.

  4. When to consider buying a new car.

  5. When to consider buying a used car.

Calculate car trade-in value.

Many dealerships will credit you cash (minus the balance of any existing loan) toward a new car purchase if you trade in your old car. However, be aware that the trade-in value is unlikely to be the full value of your old car, as the dealership will need to sell your used car to make a profit.

As an alternative, you could sell your old car yourself and use those funds towards a new car. This will take more time and effort than trading in your old car, but likely will result in you getting a better price.

Either way, you should get an estimate of your car’s value. One way is by talking to a few dealerships directly about the trade-in value they would give you on your car. If you’re a U.S. Bank customer, you can enter your vehicle into our U.S. Bank Vehicle Manager to access free, real-time Kelley Blue Book valuations and much more.

Use an auto loan payment calculator.

How much do you want to spend? An auto loan payment calculator can help you estimate your monthly payments, provided you know how much money you may wish to put down and how much your current car is worth.

This estimate can give you a general idea of your car-shopping price range. Your actual auto loan terms and rates may vary depending on multiple factors including, but not limited to, your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and past credit performance.

Estimate the car depreciation.

Cars lose value over time. This is known as depreciation. How do you calculate depreciation of a car? To estimate depreciation, look at older models similar to the car you want to buy with similar options and trim. How much did the car cost new? What could a used version be purchased for now? This difference gives an estimate of the value a particular model will lose over time. (Note, however, that the recent pandemic and related supply-line disruptions have contributed to volatility in car values that may not reflect historical trends.)

The older a car, the slower its depreciation, so used cars typically lose less value over time than new cars – especially in the first year or two after purchase.

When to consider buying a new car:

  • You are willing to pay more to buy new.

  • You value the latest technology and safety features.

  • You want a factory warranty.

  • You want to reduce the likelihood of hidden maintenance or repair issues.


Visit a U.S. Bank branch to talk about your auto loan options, or begin an online auto loan application.

When to consider buying a used car:

  • You want to avoid the historical depreciation of new cars.

  • You would like to keep your up-front costs at a minimum.

  • You prefer the potentially lower insurance rates and registration costs of a used car.

  • You may be interested in a certified pre-owned car.


We offer competitive rates on used car loans. You may get a same-day credit decision with our online car loan application.

Explore your auto loan options. We’ll help find a car loan that fits.

Car buying tips

How does financing a car work?

When looking for a car loan, plan ahead to find the right choice for you.

Should I buy or lease a car?

Explore the differences between leasing and buying a car to help with your decision.

The auto loan approval process

Ready to purchase a car? Here are tips to help you get started with your financing.

Related resources

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Offers are subject to credit approval. Rates are subject to change. Additional restrictions may apply. Member FDIC.