Author Topic: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying  (Read 3339 times)

Kaplin261

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What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« on: October 05, 2015, 03:52:41 AM »
So what would you prefer if all these scenarios involved a car at the same price: low mileage older car? High Mileage newer car? High Mileage older car but priced drastically lower?



steviesterno

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 05:47:06 AM »
personally it's milage here. when i was looking for an FJ cruiser 3 years ago, I could choose one based produced between 2007 and 2012. There were no real differences between body styles, engines, gas milage, anything in that spread. Ended up with an 07 with 35k on it in much nicer shape than some 2012s for twice the price.

Milage is how much it's used, and age is how long it's around. I would rather have one that sat a whole  while longer but was used less. I have a 1975 oldsmobile that is now 40 years old but only 60k miles in all that time. Add gas and a battery, starts right up.

I'd face punch myself for buying an SUV but didn't know I wanted to FIRE then. And since the truck is discontinued and popular, mine has actually gained value since I bought it.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 05:49:05 AM by steviesterno »

Matt in Akron

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 05:59:18 AM »
For me, the absolute #1 thing I look for in a used vehicle is an owner who has serviced the vehicle regularly and has the records to prove it.  When looking at a car -- I'm looking for the seller who hands me a binder full of repair records.  Bonus if it's the original owner who purchased the car when it was new.  At that point, mileage and age become irrelevant, because I now know the car has been properly maintained.  Obviously this means not buying from a Dealer, and searching for private party sales.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 06:46:44 AM »
It's a tough balancing act.

Realistically it depends on how many miles you do a year.

Generally you could argue that a car is economically good for around 15 years or around 200K miles, depending of course on how it's treated. Anyone with a bit more mechanical knowledge (and is prepared to do a bit of work on it themselves) should be able to get more from it.

Let's use an example. If someone drives about 10,000 miles a year, and they're looking for a car, and there's two main choices for the price, a 2009 with 150,000 miles, and a 2005 with 70,000 miles. The 2005 car would have five years of use left (assuming a 15 year lifespan) and the 2009 would have five years as well (assuming a useful life of 200,000 miles). At that point, it's probably line ball, although the 2009 vehicle is likely to be a generation newer with all of the advancements that brings.

However, if that same person only drives 5,000 miles a year, the equation swings in the favour of the newer, higher mile vehicle. If they drive 25,000 miles a year, then it goes the other way.

In my case, I bought a 2002 late last year with 111000km (69K miles) on it, even though I do about 11000km (7K miles) a year. Whatever, for the price range I was looking at I was eyeing stuff made between 1998 and 2005, with anything up to about 250,000km.

Oh yeah, make sure the thing's been serviced! Skipping scheduled services is likely to shorten the car's lifespan.

KCM5

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 08:23:06 AM »
Depends on the car.

Regarding mileage, the one time I prioritized mileage I got a car that was such a piece of crap the former owners couldn't keep it running long enough to put substantial miles on it! (I'm clearly bad at buying cars.). After that fiasco we decided it was worth it to just pay the extra for a certified pre-owned car and keep it at least a decade.

terran

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 09:16:51 AM »
I would usually prefer a lower mileage older car to a higher mileage newer car, but in the snowbelt age can make a big difference in terms of rust, so that's something to watch out for.

MEJG

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 11:46:36 AM »
Depends on the situation.  In general millage in context of the make.  Hondas and Toyotas can easily get to 300,000 but I wouldn't try it (with my limited experience) with many other makes.  I also think you need to look at the lifespan of the car in your lifestyle. 

We recently had to purchase a car (after a lot of thinking about going down to 1 car we just couldn't make the week work with our family)and purchased a lower millage 38,000 Toyota Sienna that we plan on driving to 300,000+ or until we can downgrade back to a 5 seater - once a couple of the kids are out of the house.  If we weren't looking at such a long time frame for our lifestyle we would have gone higher millage, older car, lower price.

tvan

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 12:04:59 PM »
I remember growing up my grandparents would buy a brand new buick every 3-5 years.  They would drive it (in a small town LCOL) about 5 miles a week before selling it.

^Find cars like that.  In fact I found an Honda Accord a few months back that was 1 owner, 2009, and it only had 30k miles on it.  It was marked down considerably to the point I almost test drove it, even though I don't need a car. 

Retired To Win

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2015, 09:21:44 AM »
So what would you prefer if all these scenarios involved a car at the same price: low mileage older car? High Mileage newer car? High Mileage older car but priced drastically lower?

Whatever the vehicle, I would first take it to a trusted mechanic that could give me information on the condition of the main operating systems of that car.  That would come before I made any comparative decisions.

With that out of the way, my preference based on experience is to go for the (comparatively) low mileage older car.  I believe that mileage is a better proxy than age for vehicle wear and tear.  So I would go for a lower mileage older car.  But lower mileage is also relative.

We had a 1998 Subaru Forester with some 90,000 miles on it that got wrecked.  We opted to replace it with another 1998 Subaru Forester, but that one had "only" 60,000 miles on it.  The mechanic gave it the thumbs up, so we paid a little more for it than what we had received from the insurance company as the market value for the wrecked one.  And we have taken very good care of that second Subaru.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and we still have and drive that second 1998 Subaru Forester -- which has now clocked more than 244,000 miles on its odometer.

Good luck on you car search.

Rural

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2015, 07:54:29 PM »
Price first, in that we decide what the max we want to spend is and don't look at anything over. Then condition (we are both good enough to judge), then miles. Age isn't a factor unless it becomes an issue with getting parts. (We are well outside of the salt belt.)

Exflyboy

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Re: What has priority: Mileage, age or price? Car buying
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 11:59:18 PM »
Well it depends where as well.

In Oregon for example we don't use salt on the roads.. Cars simply don't rust here.. I took my 1997 Dodge Neon shell to the junkyard and there was not a spot of rust on it anywhere.

In that case I'd tend to go for lower mileage but age is less of a factor.

So really it comes down to price.

My current car cost me $350...:) and its gorgeous..