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Old 09-13-2015, 10:48 PM   #41
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I'm quite surprised by how many buy new here. I thought I would be an outlier in that regard and most would be buying used.
That's the common wisdom, but when I started looking at this (because I'll soon need a new car!), here's my back of the envelope calculation: say you get a $20K car and keep it for 10 years. Or, equivalently, get a 3 year old car and keep it 7 years. If you want a reliable brand, and you aren't willing to risk buying the car from a private party, I found that you might save about 1/3 by buying the 3 year old car. That's about $2K/yr for the new car and $1.9K/yr for the used car. I realize it's more complicated (time value of the higher money outlay for the new car, higher insurance for new car, offset by higher up front maintenance costs for the used car, peace of mind in knowing the history of the new car etc. etc.) but I figure that my guess is close enough. And the bottom line is that it's only marginally more expensive to get a new car if you keep it for awhile.
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:24 PM   #42
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I buy when they die (or go without for awhile). Most of my cars cost $1-3K and last maybe 3-4 years.

My last car was nicer - a $10K 2001 Ford Explorer right after I retired in 2008. It still runs fine.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:43 AM   #43
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And the bottom line is that it's only marginally more expensive to get a new car if you keep it for awhile.
That's especially true with cars that don't depreciate a lot at first (e.g. Honda, Toyota, etc). A two year old car often isn't a much cheaper than a new one, and if you plan to keep it for 10+ years (not hard to do with these cars) then the cost difference is minor.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:14 AM   #44
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When I was younger (say up to 40) all I could afford were old bangers. Left on the side of the road many times. Now that I am retired and can afford it, I buy new, sporty cars (often quite expensive). Switch out after about 6 years or when get tired of a vehicle. Generally drive sporty sedans but also have, convertible in Arizona and SUV's. None of our cars would get to 50,000 miles.

I enjoy driving, so quality and sportiness are important to me. I understand this would not be a universal attitude, and that many people just want to get from A to B.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:18 AM   #45
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That's especially true with cars that don't depreciate a lot at first (e.g. Honda, Toyota, etc). A two year old car often isn't a much cheaper than a new one, and if you plan to keep it for 10+ years (not hard to do with these cars) then the cost difference is minor.
That's what I'm finding, too. In the market for an SUV to replace a 96 Accord and the gently used Rav4s and CR-Vs are priced just $2,000 or so less than new models. The ones that are a lot cheaper are much older and have much higher mileage. It just doesn't seem like the price difference is worth it considering the new car still has warranty and will likely last 3+ years or longer. Better safety features, too.

Maybe if I were in the market for a BMW or Lexus, it would be different.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:27 AM   #46
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I've had four cars. A 2001 Mustang with 60k miles I traded in within 6 months for a 1999 Jeep Wrangler with 98k miles. Traded that one in after 6 months for a 2002 diesel Beetle with 90k miles. I kept that one for a year, made it to almost 100,000 miles.

When I got the Beetle, I also got a brand new motorcycle. That one disintegrated in a hit and run. A week later bought a brand new Kawasaki cruiser. When the Beetle was sold, I kept the Kawasaki for 5 years and put 23,000 miles on it. Sold that one and bought a brand new Triumph. I also bought a Civic new. As far as I'm concerned, those are the last two vehicles I plan on buying until they fall apart on me. I've seen Triumphs with over 200,000 miles on them, and Hondas with well over that, so I think I'm good for at least a couple decades now.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:36 AM   #47
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That's what I'm finding, too. In the market for an SUV to replace a 96 Accord and the gently used Rav4s and CR-Vs are priced just $2,000 or so less than new models. The ones that are a lot cheaper are much older and have much higher mileage. It just doesn't seem like the price difference is worth it considering the new car still has warranty and will likely last 3+ years or longer. Better safety features, too.

Maybe if I were in the market for a BMW or Lexus, it would be different.
Unfortunately, that has been my finding also. I've been monitoring the market in hopes of getting a 1-3 year old small SUV for my wife to replace her 10 year old minivan but I'm finding that the pricing of more trendy vehicles aren't showing much depreciation in the early years......much less than I have found in the past. Seriously considering shopping for new, first time since 1989!!
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:15 AM   #48
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My complete 'car' history from 1979:
* First year VW Rabbit that was given to me by my Dad (gee...thanks Dad )
*New: 1985 Toyota SR5 4x4 pickup (used to haul my dirtbike to ride), fantastic truck that got stolen in 1995 at work!
*New: 1995 Toyota SR5 4x4 pickup v6 (a gutless wonder that was a sinkhole of repair costs, that I donated to the local non-profit jazz station)
*Used: 2005 Chevy Colorado pickup that I'll keep for as long as I get 'value' out of it.

Gotta have my truck to haul stuff!
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:44 AM   #49
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We are low mileage users but like the convenience of a car. So we bought a 3yo high mileage Escape and turned it into a low mileage vehicle in 6 years. Will not sell until it gives us trouble.

Have done the same thing in Mexico.
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How often do you trade cars or trucks?
Old 09-14-2015, 11:06 AM   #50
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How often do you trade cars or trucks?

We purchase new cars and maintain them extremely well. Typically hold onto them for around 10-12 years.
We did buy a used BMW 325i convertible with 65k miles. It is our summer fun car and only driven on sunny days.


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Old 09-14-2015, 11:09 AM   #51
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Last 3 vehicles were bought new and used for 13, 16, and 14 years. We still have the last one and use it in California on summer and Christmas vacations. Oh, and we also bought a used Volvo from a friend for the kids to learn to drive in. Boy was the interior of that car a mess after three teens got finished with it!

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Old 09-14-2015, 11:18 AM   #52
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Newer cars do have better safety features, and that's worth considering, but I just don't put enough time behind the wheel to make the safety issue quite as important as when I drove more.
Plus, since you're getting older you're probably causing other younger drivers to use their safety features, as opposed to needing them yourself.

We've got a 2002 TDI Beetle (105K) and a 2004 Toyota Highlander (168K). I keep thinking of getting something new to replace the Highlander, but it still runs and looks great. Also we can't decide between a diesel pickup or a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee or another Highlander. We need space to carry the dogs/kennels (inside the vehicle), and towing capacity to tow the VW on the snowbird trips between FL and MD. I might wait until VW comes out with their diesel/electric hybrid SUV, see what it can do.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:22 AM   #53
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We buy new and keep until it starts breaking down frequently. We do no maintenance (except oil changes) unless something fails. Current car is Honda Pilot 12 years old 170,000 miles (and still runs like new).
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:06 PM   #54
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My SUV (4Runner) is 12 yo with 93K miles, will keep it until it starts to give me frequent problems. I red somewhere that money wise purchase vs lease scale goes strongly toward first one when you keep a car / truck for 8 years or longer.
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:15 PM   #55
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As mentioned elsewhere recently, I get a new car about every 5 years or so. That's about 150,000 miles for me, which is as long as I'm comfortable keeping a vehicle.

It's the mileage that matters for me, not the years.
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:00 PM   #56
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Buy new, maintain and don't get rid of them until they get to the nickel and dime stage, usually 100K+ milage wise. I hate spending the money for a new car or for that matter anything more than oil/filter/tires.

Motorcycles, always buy used and maintain myself.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:34 PM   #57
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Plus, since you're getting older you're probably causing other younger drivers to use their safety features, as opposed to needing them yourself.
Hey, it gets better the older my jalopy gets. Nobody contests the right-of-way with you when you've got a 15 year old car that looks like the driver probably doesn't have insurance.
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:16 AM   #58
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I found this site called the Long-Term Quality Index for reliability of used vehicles. It's interesting comparing data from the site to this thread.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:34 PM   #59
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My current car is a Honda civic I bought in 2008. It has over 102,000 miles on it now and it had 35,000 miles when I got it. It runs great. I just had the oil changed today for it. I hate car payments so I plan on keeping this one as long as I can. When I got rid of the car payment a few years back it really helped me add to my savings. A car payment can really be a drag.
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How often do you trade cars or trucks?
Old 09-17-2015, 06:24 PM   #60
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How often do you trade cars or trucks?

I'm surprised by the amount of buy new cars here too. I figured the vast majority 95% would be buy 2-3 years old and keep forever. I always thought that how long your car lasts is based on how well you took care of it in the first few years, break-in, etc. if you bought used, you have no idea how the car was treated those first crucial years. Unless you have an outlier who keeps a detailed diary and receipts of their oil changes, fill ups, mileage, etc.

You may have bought the one that Jerry Seinfeld got the extra insurance for when he rented it at the airport 😁.

I buy new keep till the repair expense and time to get fixed aren't worth it anymore. I am currently seeing that with a 2002 Toyota suv with 213k on it.

I am not sure the first few years are as important anymore with today's modern cars but I plan on following utrechts car retirement schedule 👍


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