Author Topic: Sweet spot for buying used car.  (Read 1836 times)


  • Bristles
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  • Location: Canada
Sweet spot for buying used car.
« on: December 11, 2016, 12:01:58 PM »
With a 3rd child coming along we need to upgrade my 2003 Corolla for a mini-van. We have a RAV4 but you can't install 3 car seats in it due to overlapping seat belts (how this is legal I have no idea, but it is so frustrating!)

We keep our cars long term and are looking for a reliable minivan for our future use.

Interested in the Toyota Sienna, Honda oddessy or Kia model.

What year/mileage woukd you look for to give the cheapest price, but longest life left? Also best time to get the best deal? Baby is due early June so need it before then.

I'm hoping in about 3-5 years we could drop down to only 1 car, as most things are bikeable in our community, including my work if I can get on long term. Current problem is young kids and meeting the school bus on time while doing daycare pick ups. Maybe in the future we can drop down but that need our 2009 RAV4 (230km) to last another 3-5 years. Fingers crossed!


  • Handlebar Stache
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    • Life is Good - Aceyou's Journal
Re: Sweet spot for buying used car.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 08:52:02 PM »
I'm probably overgeneralizing here, but I think the sweet spot is to buy an approximately 5k car that's known for reliability and sell it when it's about 2k.  Usually this means 6 or 7 years.

- depreciation has been paid for by previous owners who paid 25k for it.
- "end of life" hospice care will be paid for by the person who gives me 2k for it. 
- At 5k I can afford to replace it by writing a check if need be, so I can afford PLPD insurance.

To minimize the maintenance, I checked out a bunch of cars that fit the bill, found one from a rich guy who bought it new and kept meticulous records.  I told him the car looked great and I wanted it at his asking price, provided I could have my mechanic look at it.  Gave my mechanic 40 bucks, he looked it over thoroughly, and said it looked great.  Nothings a sure bet, but this process has worked for me well. 

So, yeah, I'd start shopping craigslist for 5k siennas and oddesy's and do the same thing.  Those seem like really good choices.  Good luck!


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Sweet spot for buying used car.
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2016, 04:26:45 AM »
Am I missing something keeping my C-Max with our second and third on the way? Three car seats seem to fit fine.(Clek Fllo in the middle for three-year-old, Chicco KeyFit 30s on the outside for the imminent twins)

I'm surprised this community accepts the need for minivans with three kids so quickly.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Sweet spot for buying used car.
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2016, 09:30:26 AM »
I don't know if it is the sweet spot but I generally buy used vehicles that cost about a third of the new value and then drive them into the ground.