Automotive

What is a used cars "Sweet Spot" for age? Is 2 years old still to new?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 2nd, 2019 11:16 am
[OP]
Banned
Aug 3, 2005
1235 posts
1166 upvotes

What is a used cars "Sweet Spot" for age? Is 2 years old still to new?

Thinking of pulling a trigger on a 2018 Honda Accord Sport....or a 2018 Camry SE.

Is buying a used 2018 model year of these cars a smart decision?

I see on auto trader they prices for these are only like 3-4k less than new MSRP in some cases...

Should I be looking at 2017 models instead?

I plan to purchase with cash if used.
27 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jul 30, 2007
28593 posts
13998 upvotes
Toronto
2.5 yrs or so, IMO. still have a bit of orig. factory warranty and if you can find one that has low mileage and no issues, then it would be a good find.
[OP]
Banned
Aug 3, 2005
1235 posts
1166 upvotes
booblehead wrote: 2.5 yrs or so, IMO. still have a bit of orig. factory warranty and if you can find one that has low mileage and no issues, then it would be a good find.
So would that mean buying a 2018 Accord or Camry in early 2020? (for it to be 2.5-3 years old) Or having to wait until 2021?

I never get how these Model Years work.
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1367 upvotes
10-12-year old "granny driven" is probably the sweet spot.

You can probably find a good minimal or no-rust 2008-2010 Honda Accord for $7-$10k with maybe 100k on it if you shop around...

Nobody really knows how well the new turbo'ed Hondas will stand up.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jul 30, 2007
28593 posts
13998 upvotes
Toronto
You can take the VIN # and call up Honda or Toyota Head office to see if they can tell you the in service date of the car in question. In this way, you would be certain the leftover factory warranty the car has.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 6, 2017
983 posts
517 upvotes
Manitoba
Anything between 2-5 years would be my sweet spot.
one more deal and I'm out * involuntary tick*.... :twisted:
Jr. Member
Mar 3, 2019
147 posts
126 upvotes
I'd say 3.5 years to 4 years. Toyota/Honda are usually good places to start for reliable used cars.
The Accord/Camry were redesigned in 2018 so in 2.5 years their replacements will be here making the "old" models depreciate even more.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15682 posts
16836 upvotes
Oakville
ekcivichb wrote: Thinking of pulling a trigger on a 2018 Honda Accord Sport....or a 2018 Camry SE.

Is buying a used 2018 model year of these cars a smart decision?

I see on auto trader they prices for these are only like 3-4k less than new MSRP in some cases...

Should I be looking at 2017 models instead?

I plan to purchase with cash if used.
If someone is selling you a 2 year old car for only $3k off MSRP then that's only $3k/24mo=$124/month in depreciation (even less if they bought under MSRP). May as well just buy a new one where you can likely get under MSRP for close to the used price.
Deal Expert
Jun 30, 2006
18653 posts
6709 upvotes
Toronto
Depends on the car. I would say 3-7 years is fine.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 16, 2004
9512 posts
1817 upvotes
Toronto
I figure 7 to 8 years old.
Also depends on if you're buying private or dealership.
Dealership prices are always above average as you noticed with those 2 and 3 year old cars being close to MSRP.
Private, you may have more room for negotiations resulting in a lower price for a newer, lower mileage car etc.
Also some brands depreciate faster than others.
Japanese vs Domestics for instance.
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2004
3424 posts
852 upvotes
I would say 3 years old, then sell it in 3 years.
Deal Addict
Jan 7, 2014
2477 posts
478 upvotes
burnt69 wrote: 10-12-year old "granny driven" is probably the sweet spot.

You can probably find a good minimal or no-rust 2008-2010 Honda Accord for $7-$10k with maybe 100k on it if you shop around...

Nobody really knows how well the new turbo'ed Hondas will stand up.
First hand experience with Honda accords .. make sure the model year when their engines stopped burning oil. I think it was post 2010..
Burning oil is not bad if you are aware of it.. Their engines are solid and runs for half million kms easily even burning oil. Its just that you need to be aware that a particular engine burns oil so that within six months of purchase you dont ruin the engine by not topping it up...
Even if you dont ruin engine completely, the timing chain can easily be effected if you run the oil too low
Member
Jan 14, 2008
450 posts
250 upvotes
Toronto
Also keep in mind if your financing, the cost of borrowing is often less on a new car with manufacturer promos and lower borrowing rates (of course depends on vehicle) compared to say used car/bank financing.
Jr. Member
Mar 28, 2007
157 posts
91 upvotes
I find by the 4th year a car will have depreciated about 50% in price from new. Usually you'll still have some factory warranty left as well.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
6130 posts
4741 upvotes
2 year old, 20,000km is the perfect used car.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 2, 2006
5995 posts
671 upvotes
Stouffville, ON
I'm usually in the 3 to 5 year range just so the bulk of the depreciation hits the car yet there is still some chance of a factory warranty left. It's a tough sweet spot but every so often, you'll find a gem that was a trade at another brand dealership and you can pounce on it.

You still have to do the diligence, but that is really the best value in my opinion.
--
Jr. Member
May 26, 2013
122 posts
145 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA
m4gician wrote: I'm usually in the 3 to 5 year range just so the bulk of the depreciation hits the car yet there is still some chance of a factory warranty left. It's a tough sweet spot but every so often, you'll find a gem that was a trade at another brand dealership and you can pounce on it.

You still have to do the diligence, but that is really the best value in my opinion.
Bingo.

I'd be willing to go 4 years for a moderately uses Lexus or Acura too.
Sr. Member
User avatar
May 21, 2018
585 posts
555 upvotes
10 year old car with 200,000kms WITH full maintenance history.
Don't forget to goo your attic!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 30, 2010
2966 posts
325 upvotes
AtticGoo wrote: 10 year old car with 200,000kms WITH full maintenance history.
+1

I tend to stick around this range. You get the vehicle for super cheap (usually under $4K) and get to put an easy 100,000 kms on it before having to worry about problems. If it's a Toyota or Honda (most models), you literally don't even worry as 200,000 kms is only half life.

Get an engine with a timing chain and an automatic transmission (unless you like standard, then you'll have to change the clutch) and it will last you a long time.

I bought my current 2010 Suzuki SX4 with 190,000 kms and it should hit 300,000 kms, then it's on borrowed time (in my mind, though it may last longer), at which point I'll be looking for another vehicle with 200,000 kms.

I don't worry too much about maintenance history since I know my way around a car, but it still helps. I mostly assume that people don't do maintenance, so I do all the important stuff right away (all fluids, check suspension, brakes, etc.).
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 2, 2006
5995 posts
671 upvotes
Stouffville, ON
LeisureSuitL wrote: +1

I tend to stick around this range. You get the vehicle for super cheap (usually under $4K) and get to put an easy 100,000 kms on it before having to worry about problems. If it's a Toyota or Honda (most models), you literally don't even worry as 200,000 kms is only half life.

Get an engine with a timing chain and an automatic transmission (unless you like standard, then you'll have to change the clutch) and it will last you a long time.

I bought my current 2010 Suzuki SX4 with 190,000 kms and it should hit 300,000 kms, then it's on borrowed time (in my mind, though it may last longer), at which point I'll be looking for another vehicle with 200,000 kms.

I don't worry too much about maintenance history since I know my way around a car, but it still helps. I mostly assume that people don't do maintenance, so I do all the important stuff right away (all fluids, check suspension, brakes, etc.).
I used to think that way but with 200k+ or 10+ years you run into a lot of common problems related to:

- Rubber or plastic cracking/breaking/tearing
- Rust, Corrosion, and seized up parts
- Electrical problems and sensors/gaskets/o-rings that need to be replaced.

The control arm bushings and sway bar links usually will be shot or need replacement. Same with the tie rods inner and outter. Obviously brakes and tires need to be done, with calipers probably needing a full refurbishment like new hardware, boots, pins, and check for leaks.

Then you have to replace all of the fluids and possibly the pumps and belts. Followed by any re-worked or updated parts for things like seals, or gaskets or broken clips and stuff.

You may also have potential exhaust and manifold problems as per the rust and what not so check that out. Also your bearings possibly.

All of that is manageable but it comes at a cost for sure. Depending on if you have the time, tools or mechanic, you could be looking at several hundreds maybe thousands of dollars to refurbish the car to make it last a long time.

Having said that, that usually comes with buying a car 5-7 years old and having enough time with it to know the quirks and issues.
--

Top