Automotive

Purchasing Used Car - More Important? Low KM's Or Recent Model?

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Purchasing Used Car - More Important? Low KM's Or Recent Model?

When you purchase a used car, what do YOU normally look for (and are willing to pay for).

Lower Mileage (on an older vehicle)
or
A newer vehicle, with higher mileage?

A little torn, looking for a used car. Want a little bit of a re-sale value. Just wanted to see what the RFD crowd thought / how they shop.

If anyone is curious, this is probably in the $5,000-$14,000 market.
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I would take a 3 year old car with 100k vs a 8 year old car with 60 k*
Why? The climate in Canada is brutal and I don't want a rust buck

Magic number for me is < = 4
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george__ wrote: I would take a 3 year old car with 100k vs a 8 year old car with 60 k*
Why? The climate in Canada is brutal and I don't want a rust buck

Magic number for me is < = 4
Years of age? No more than 4 years of age? How much do you put out for these cars?

It's very interesting because those numbers you quoted, are pretty much used cars in those price ranges. Maybe not 3 years without being in the high double digits but, around those numbers.
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DaVibe wrote: Years of age? No more than 4 years of age? How much do you put out for these cars?

It's very interesting because those numbers you quoted, are pretty much used cars in those price ranges. Maybe not 3 years without being in the high double digits but, around those numbers.
Yes, generally I want to keep the cars equal to or less than 4 years of age.
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Jan 22, 2017
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GTA
Both are acceptable but I would choose the car which appears to be better taken care of.

Cars are meant to be driven so I wouldn't shy away from one with higher km's. It's often (not always) an indication of more highway km which is preferable.
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Actually none of your criteria is what I truly look for in a used car. I'm sorry to keep beating on this but condition is king for used cars. Low mileage on a old car is no guarantee its going to be good, all it guarantees is the car didn't go very far in its life but that doesn't mention whether it idling a lot which in some cases is worse than high mileage. Then there's new but high mileage, again the only guarantee here is the car has driven relatively far in its life. Only some aspects of wear are accelerated, especially if the car spent a lot of time on highways. Frankly I only use mileage to lower the price and check whether there's a big maintenance item potentially coming. Something like a 90K km car that has a timing belt, I'm suspecting that's a reason the person is selling it. Your pre-purchase inspection is really the only thing that should determine whether you buy that specific car or not, it can tell you what's bad and what's good. You could even get a very good running car in excellent mechanical health, but if your PPI showed it had a cracked frame or serious structural issues you would and should stay away.

Then there's your question about resale. If you're ok with paying a lot initially on a car with high resale but plan to sell relatively early, then you will see the benefits of high resale rate. If however you're driving it to the ground or a long time, seeking resale is pointless because either you'll never reclaim it or by the time you do the car is essentially worthless. The only way to buy a car for resale is essentially to buy what everyone wants to buy, meaning picking the colours they want, the options they want, and sell it at the mileage they want to buy...so you're basically buying like a used car salesman. As a result I'd say only seek resale if you intend to have your time with this used car to be short. That's what I did with my 2004 Impreza, it was meant to be temporary and thus I seeked a high resale car that I enjoyed, meaning I paid a lot initially but when it came time to sell I also got a large portion of that money back. If I kept it until now, I'd probably make half of what I got, making selling it sort of pointless.
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JeganV wrote: Actually none of your criteria is what I truly look for in a used car. I'm sorry to keep beating on this but condition is king for used cars. Low mileage on a old car is no guarantee its going to be good, all it guarantees is the car didn't go very far in its life but that doesn't mention whether it idling a lot which in some cases is worse than high mileage. Then there's new but high mileage, again the only guarantee here is the car has driven relatively far in its life. Only some aspects of wear are accelerated, especially if the car spent a lot of time on highways. Frankly I only use mileage to lower the price and check whether there's a big maintenance item potentially coming. Something like a 90K km car that has a timing belt, I'm suspecting that's a reason the person is selling it. Your pre-purchase inspection is really the only thing that should determine whether you buy that specific car or not, it can tell you what's bad and what's good. You could even get a very good running car in excellent mechanical health, but if your PPI showed it had a cracked frame or serious structural issues you would and should stay away.

Then there's your question about resale. If you're ok with paying a lot initially on a car with high resale but plan to sell relatively early, then you will see the benefits of high resale rate. If however you're driving it to the ground or a long time, seeking resale is pointless because either you'll never reclaim it or by the time you do the car is essentially worthless. The only way to buy a car for resale is essentially to buy what everyone wants to buy, meaning picking the colours they want, the options they want, and sell it at the mileage they want to buy...so you're basically buying like a used car salesman. As a result I'd say only seek resale if you intend to have your time with this used car to be short. That's what I did with my 2004 Impreza, it was meant to be temporary and thus I seeked a high resale car that I enjoyed, meaning I paid a lot initially but when it came time to sell I also got a large portion of that money back. If I kept it until now, I'd probably make half of what I got, making selling it sort of pointless.
I agree with your comments on inspection, I generally get the cars I'm considering inspected by a mechanic, to see the things I can't. So far, it has paid off.
With re-sale, it was just a general comment. My last car I kept for many years (written off) but I realized, it still had some money left in it (which insurance paid me for). If I drove it to the ground (like my car before that), then it was $0 in it, which is making far less sense to me.
However, selling it a few short years (lets say 2) is not likely for me because it's both hard to find a good car, so if you feel like you have one, you want to keep it, but more importantly I become "in debt" to the car, in particular with winter tires.
Tiers and rims that fit only that car (or like models), it's hard to walk away from spending over $1,000 on something, specifically for THAT car. Not to mention, any aftermarket mods.
For me, I can't start flipping cars, it's just not in the cars for how I treat my vehicles (sit on them).

What year did you buy your 2004 Impreza? See, I'm having issues determining the nice little niche to be in ... year wise.
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DaVibe wrote: I agree with your comments on inspection, I generally get the cars I'm considering inspected by a mechanic, to see the things I can't. So far, it has paid off.
With re-sale, it was just a general comment. My last car I kept for many years (written off) but I realized, it still had some money left in it (which insurance paid me for). If I drove it to the ground (like my car before that), then it was $0 in it, which is making far less sense to me.
However, selling it a few short years (lets say 2) is not likely for me because it's both hard to find a good car, so if you feel like you have one, you want to keep it, but more importantly I become "in debt" to the car, in particular with winter tires.
Tiers and rims that fit only that car (or like models), it's hard to walk away from spending over $1,000 on something, specifically for THAT car. Not to mention, any aftermarket mods.
For me, I can't start flipping cars, it's just not in the cars for how I treat my vehicles (sit on them).

What year did you buy your 2004 Impreza? See, I'm having issues determining the nice little niche to be in ... year wise.
Simply get the car you want if you do plan to drive this car a decent amount of time. If you bought something you liked, that's ultimately where the real value is, you wouldn't have wasted any money if you thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Its why I don't consider resale immediately. A lot of people on this forum also like to pigeonhole others into buying specific cars by parroting Corolla or Civic, those cars have their strengths but they also have weak points and I personally couldn't tolerate either which is why I took its thirstier, less common AWD rival.

Bought my Impreza in 2011, sold it in 2014. It was basically a 7 year old car, it was actually a high mileage one too. So I basically sold it at age 10 with 245K km, didn't really pick this number specifically but usually about this time the car's continuous reduction in value makes any potential sale number look ever more depressing. I actually primarily bought it because it was the most normal car I could tolerate indefinitely but should I needed to sell it prematurely, I could without losing too much. That said my Impreza retains high resale rate(really good for a manual car), there are many other cars that are near worthless by the age I sold it at, the Chevrolet Cobalt for example. What you pick can also determine where the sweet spot years are when it comes to used car buying. The faster it depreciates, then the time to take advantage of its best value will be sooner age and mileage-wise. Slower depreciating stuff, it will take longer. I also forgot to mention, luxury cars are notoriously bad for resale rate, even the high resale ones like Lexus and BMW they lose money slowly for their class but compared to mainstream ones they're not good which isn't a surprise because they simply have more value to lose and luxury goods are more prone to being dated relative to newer models.

Don't get the wrong idea though, I'm not a car flipper. I drove my first car for 8 years straight. My current car was bought new and I have no intentions of getting rid of it even in the long run. I have a shockingly small history of car ownership. However I work with fleet cars and have dealt with the remarketing side. There are much better cars to flip than the ones I actually bought.
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Mileage and body ! Rust is the only thing you can't really fix, all mechanical parts can be replaced including the engine and transmission !
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I would take an older model that has had Krown rust proofing done yearly over a newer one that has never been Krowned.
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I'll take a new model with high km over an older model with low km. Do your due diligence, talk to a mechanic, show him the car, take it for a test drive, lift it up and see what sort of rust you got underneath. I got a 2011 Ford Focus that was strictly driven HWY - 200,000 km. Drives like it's right off the assembly line. HWY kms are super easy on a car
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I just recently bought a used car. I normally look for Service History (maintenance being done on time), Carproof, and Rust spots that can be a real pain in the long run. I don't mind buying few year old cars as long as the maintenance schedules are always met, no accidents, and no big rust issues. I was lucky to find a Grand Marquis 2003 LSE with only 215km with only few rust spots which I can fix in the summer. took me a while to find one as I was very particular to what I want.

Good luck.
Good luck!
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General consensus probably is Newer model with higher mileage, so that you can "average" down the mileage.
I find 3-6 years the sweet spot for a used vehicle as it generally will be a single owner, minimal rust, tires/brakes/coolant/etc changed ~100K km and still be fairly maintenance free until 10-12 years.

If you don't mind doing your own maintenance, you can stretch out the sweet spot to trade time for money.
But it really depends on what your requirements are. If it's purely based on ROI, then you should also take insurance, fuel, maintenance, depreciation costs into consideration.
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I always look for off-lease vehicles. These vehicles are typically in tip-top shape as they've been serviced regularly at a dealer and usually have 1-2 owners.
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BengaliPrince wrote: I always look for off-lease vehicles. These vehicles are typically in tip-top shape as they've been serviced regularly at a dealer and usually have 1-2 owners.
That would be true, but mostly from the aesthetics prespective.
Hard to tell if the owner gunned their vehicle at every light because they'll always have a new vehicle every few years.
And rarely will be rust proofed.
Last edited by dantey on Feb 12th, 2018 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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There is one thing...

HIgh mileage and old car is ok... If it was well maintained. I bought a 2001 LExus IS300 with 285,000 km back in 2010... Everyone thought I was a MF'ing idiot... IT kept running till 415,000km and became an RFD legend... The entire history is described in threads.
thread 1 . should i buy an old lexus with high mileage? half the people are hating. It ended up going on for like 10 pages with people wondering how many KM's now. :lol:

The trick is... If you got a cool mechanic in the family or a friend. If you aren't picky on car type... They can see if any of their customers are selling their cars... Since he is their mechanic he can give an opinion if its been well maintained or trashed.

My mechanic does this for me... ITs good to build good rapport.

But in generalizations... Sticking to model/makes with good reputations, low mileage, and late model year helps.
If its 1 owner with history, that gives you an accurate picture on how well its been maintained... Also there are general intervals. For example... My old lexus has squeeky suspension @ 300,000km... so you gotta get those checked or fixed up.
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I buy cars I can afford. That means older, higher mileage cars. I do my research and make sure its in good condition and well taken care of, that's key.

And of course buy a brand that makes sense at that age, i.e. the Japanese vehicles tend to be economically feasible as the car ages, compared to say, a German vehicle.
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I've seen two cars, same age, etx... One driven on highway, one mostly city. One car has 50k KM after 5 years, the other one has 110k KM. The one with 110k is in better shape and since it's never parked on the street, there has never been any water splash on the sriver side. You can see the difference on the brake's rotor.

Shop with the condition and nothing else. Fix a fair price and buy it.
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Would you trust your dealership's mechanics if your doing in a trade in for a Used car? Or still go with your own?
If going with your own mechanic - hows that process work? Call your mechanic say can do you a 'checkup' on this car when i bring it in? Do sellers let you take the car for a couple of hours?

tia
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Many used dealers will let you take the vehicle home for a night, or to your local mechanic to have it inspected. If they don't allow anyone else to look at it, don't do business with them.

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