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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: ultros1234 on June 03, 2013, 01:01:15 AM

Title: Should we buy this used car?
Post by: ultros1234 on June 03, 2013, 01:01:15 AM
Hi mustachians --

My wife and I own two cars: a '99 Honda Civic with about 130,000 miles and a '99 Honda Accord with 223,000 miles. We'd really like to get rid of the Accord, as it's a bit of a gas guzzler. It's a 6 cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. We're unfortunately not in a position to become a one-car family yet, so we've been thinking about getting a small, manual transmission, fuel-efficient hatchback.

Our friends just happen to be selling this 2007 Mazda s3 with 88k miles that's almost exactly what we're looking for:
We'd definitely feel better buying from friends than from strangers and would probably wind up with a slightly better deal that way, but it's just a little newer and lower mileage than we'd been thinking about.

We currently pay $410 per 6 months for almost minimum insurance coverage on the Accord and Civic. I would want to add collision and comprehensive coverage to this newer car, and we've got a quote for Civic/Mazda at $465 with the higher coverages. (We live in a high theft area.) My wife is currently putting at least 10k miles per year on the Accord. Resale value on the Accord is around $2500, maybe more if we're lucky. According to, Mazda gets 22mpg city/30mpg highway versus 18 city/26 highway for the Accord.

One alternative is that my wife drives the Civic and I drive the Accord (which we're gonna start doing this week anyway). I only drive to work 2-3 days a week, about 8 miles each way. Figure 3,000 - 4,000 annual miles, if we're good about using the Civic whenever we can choose. Civic gets gas mileage comparable to the Mazda, and we could use it for wife's commute and most other driving. Then we only would drive the Accord until it dies, I guess... but that might not be too long from now.

What do you think, mustachians? To buy, or not to buy?
Title: Re: Should we buy this used car?
Post by: urover on June 04, 2013, 09:30:56 AM
Your idea of swapping cars sounds like the best deal to me, if there are no major issues currently plaguing either of the cars. The 8750$ + extra insurance you save by not buying the Mazda will more than compensate for the slightly lower efficiency of the Accord even if your wife continues to drive it. Also, thieves would go for the newer models parked in your street before going for your old beaters. Finally, even if one of the cars decides to die on you, spending even a quarter of the 8750$ (which would be earning interest in savings) could potentially revive the vehicle for several thousand miles.
Title: Re: Should we buy this used car?
Post by: ultros1234 on June 04, 2013, 09:53:06 AM
Thanks vsanjay,

I think you're absolutely right. I threw some numbers in a spreadsheet yesterday, and I found that even if we got the Mazda for free, if we shifted all but about 3000 miles/year to the Civic, then the gas savings on replacing the Accord doesn't even cover the increased insurance cost.

I think we've identified the sort of car we want when one of these Hondas dies, but for now we're just swapping cars. Thanks for your input!