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Old 10-18-2016, 09:02 AM   #21
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^ vanbortel subaru in upstate NY can usually beat most prices
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:15 AM   #22
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Since I just went through this calculus for my family, I figured I will share. We live in St. Louis and I just bought a 2013 CR-V with 22k miles and mid-level trim for what I think to be 25% off of the new price. We've bought or replaced three cars in three years and this was the best spread between new and gently used that I have seen. At other times, the spread has not been much and we bought new.

I think you have to spend a lot of time researching and looking, but for me, a 25% discount was worth buying used (especially since the car is very clean).
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:12 PM   #23
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Since I just went through this calculus for my family, I figured I will share. We live in St. Louis and I just bought a 2013 CR-V with 22k miles and mid-level trim for what I think to be 25% off of the new price. We've bought or replaced three cars in three years and this was the best spread between new and gently used that I have seen. At other times, the spread has not been much and we bought new.

I think you have to spend a lot of time researching and looking, but for me, a 25% discount was worth buying used (especially since the car is very clean).
I feel like that's a good trade off for many of the early retired posters that are no longer putting a lot of miles on their cars (like me). Take 25% off the top and you still have basically a brand new car that you can drive for another 10-12 years without too much worry about reliability or major repairs. We're only putting several thousand miles on the car per year except when we take road trips (which will equal maybe 4,000 miles this year but probably under 2,000 next year). Worst case we're at 60-80k extra miles after a decade of ownership.
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:17 PM   #24
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If I have the money, I will never buy a used car (again). If you buy a used car privately, you run lots of risks. If you buy it from a dealer, the dealer has to make a profit and your benefits of buying a used car gets cut.

On the other hand, I would keep my car until it dies.
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:46 PM   #25
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If I have the money, I will never buy a used car (again). If you buy a used car privately, you run lots of risks. If you buy it from a dealer, the dealer has to make a profit and your benefits of buying a used car gets cut.
While I agree there is a risk buying used from a private owner, I disagree you must take a "cut" if you take buy from a dealer. While a dealer certainly has to make a profit, in some cases he can still do that while you also see a nice savings over buying new, and get a warranty equal to or even better than a new car.

A few months ago our local Toyota dealers bought dozens of 2016 model Camrys at auction. These were rental cars, less than a year old, with mileage ranging from 8,000 to 20,000. They were the mid-level trim model, and were sold as certified vehicles, which added a year to the remaining two+ years left on the original bumper-to-bumper factory warranty, an extended power train warranty, plus free maintenance for two years. My son-in-law purchased one with 16K miles for 40% less than the sticker price for a new one just like it, same model year.

I know the dealer made a profit and my s-i-l knows he got a real deal.
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:57 PM   #26
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If I have the money, I will never buy a used car (again). If you buy a used car privately, you run lots of risks. If you buy it from a dealer, the dealer has to make a profit and your benefits of buying a used car gets cut.

On the other hand, I would keep my car until it dies.
There is definitely a risk, which is why I wouldn't have bought used without a decent discount. This is our fourth Honda, so we pretty much know exactly what we are getting in terms of manufacture quality. (I'll update my post if it turns out the car is a lemon.)

One of the reasons we decided to buy used was it focuses us on our long term plan to FIRE. A financial adviser we met with a few years ago told us that an upper middle class couple could expect to spend as much on their last car as they paid for their first house. I laughed in her face. However, in 2006 I paid about $30k for our Honda Pilot with all the bells and whistles. If I wanted a new Pilot with that level of trim today, I would have to pay $45k. At that rate of inflation, the advisor would be correct! In another 25 or 30 years, I could expect to pay over $100k for a Honda Pilot.

So the used CR-V is my way of stickin' it to the man.
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:35 PM   #27
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As others have point out, the "math" is highly dependent on what you are buying. I personally have never bought a new car and likely never will. I aim to buy 1-3 year old one owners with good maint. history. My wife and I both drive VW CC's, mine a '12 and hers a '13 and we goth both 2+ years old for just slightly above HALF of MSRP. But if you can get one of the "common" models new for within a grand or so of a 1-2 year old one, I'd do it to.
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:46 PM   #28
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last two cars I bought were used - bought the first one in 2013, 2009 XT limited for 18K, which was half of msrp and the driving factor (no pun intended)

last one I bought this summer (1995) for about 25% of msrp, but it's a rare mulletmusclecar

thankfully the 2009 was under factory warranty with the engine spun a rod bearing in 2014 - you guys who are trying to save a few bucks buying a 2-4 year old used car need to be aware of the pitfalls of having to replace the bottom end (and turbo) on your own dime in case the prior owner didn't maintain the vehicle properly
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Old 10-18-2016, 04:33 PM   #29
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I have primarily bought new cars, with the only exception being the 10 year old 1985 350SL I bought when I turned 40. Hey, it was my midlife crisis, and a whole lot cheaper than the divorces I have seen. DW was supportive, and we enjoyed it for 10 years.

Back to new cars, I have always bought new off the lot. Last years model, or this years low advertised special. No bells or whistles. Dealers usually have an advertised low priced "loss leader" to get you in. This is what I but. Last 3 have been Nissan Altima's, and I could not be happier with the value, performance and quality.

I still have not paid $20k for a new car!
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Old 10-18-2016, 04:56 PM   #30
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thankfully the 2009 was under factory warranty with the engine spun a rod bearing in 2014 - you guys who are trying to save a few bucks buying a 2-4 year old used car need to be aware of the pitfalls of having to replace the bottom end (and turbo) on your own dime in case the prior owner didn't maintain the vehicle properly
A few words on turbochargers and oil changes, since I am very familiar with them from several performance cars I have been associated with.

They (turbochargers) are a "new thing" to the average car buyer. Many of the newer 4 cylinder high MPG cars have them to enhance torque, as that's what makes the car "go" (not horsepower) and those cars are complete slugs without boost enhancement. Car salesmen typically know squat about them. Since they spin a turbine wheel off the exhaust manifold or electrically at upwards of 200,000 (yes) RPM, they REQUIRE only the best full synthetic oil to keep the turbine shaft lubricated so it doesn't disintegrate.

If you are not careful, and use the wrong oil for an oil change, say "Dino" oil (non-synthetic), soon afterwards, you will be buying a new turbocharger for $3,000 - $5,000. And there may be more expensive parts to buy if the turbo debris gets into and past the intercooler.

Now, think about the dealer oil change process and the typical "wash jockey" that changes your oil...is he astute enough to make sure your turbocharged car is fed the good stuff?.....or the normal "10W 30 Dino oil off the pull down hose" connected to the 500 gallon bulk tank? (The real mechanics are usually too busy doing higher profitability jobs to mess with oil changes.)

Oh, and the computer-generated receipt you get will have the correct synthetic oil part numbers shown as that is in the "system" even though incorrect bulk oil was put in. (I've seen this scenario in person).

This is just some food for thought as cars get more complex and typical owners don't follow the technology or understand it. Also, stay very clear of "quickie" oil change places if you value your high tech engine.

Speaking of high tech, stay tuned for the EPA assault on gasoline engine particulates as that is a couple of years away. Not only with you have a turbocharger, your car will have a exhaust particulate trap system and fancy monitoring, just like the diesel vehicles. Failure of a particulate filter system is not cheap and once you get past 80K miles, the federal missions warranty is off the car.
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:02 PM   #31
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+1 on the oil - DW uses full scoob synthetic on hers and I use eneos 5-30 on mine
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:16 PM   #32
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you guys who are trying to save a few bucks buying a 2-4 year old used car need to be aware of the pitfalls of having to replace the bottom end (and turbo) on your own dime in case the prior owner didn't maintain the vehicle properly
That's one reason the one-year old turbo Buick Regal I bought last year was purchased as a certified vehicle from a Buick dealership. It still had three years to go on the four year new-car warranty, and the certification added another year of full coverage.

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If you are not careful, and use the wrong oil for an oil change, say "Dino" oil (non-synthetic), soon afterwards, you will be buying a new turbocharger for $3,000 - $5,000. And there may be more expensive parts to buy if the turbo debris gets into and past the intercooler.
The car came with two years of free oil changes and your warning makes me believe I should pay the extra cost to continue taking it to the dealer when the freebies run out. Hard for them to deny warranty coverage for a blown turbo due to using the wrong oil if they did every oil change.
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:20 PM   #33
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The car came with two years of free oil changes and your warning makes me believe I should pay the extra cost to continue taking it to the dealer when the freebies run out. Hard for them to deny warranty coverage for a blown turbo due to using the wrong oil if they did every oil change.
Good idea, during the warranty coverage it makes sense to let them continue to do the oil changes.
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Old 10-18-2016, 05:23 PM   #34
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Great thread. Here's the summary I've picked out so far:

Buy used
  • Highly optioned cars - Options tend to depreciate almost immediately
  • Brands with a reputation for low quality - Whether deserved or not, such as US domestic vehicles. These tend to command lower resale values.
  • Luxury cars - Image conscious consumers purchase new cars more often. Demand is lower for out-of-warranty luxury and performance vehicles due to perceived high maintenance costs.
  • If you're not picky - The more options you give yourself the more likely you are to find a great deal
  • Older vehicles - If you're comfortable with a 5-10 year old car, or higher mileage, there are great deals to be had. 100k miles isn't a lot for a reliable car.
  • If you do your own maintenance - A large part of the maintenance cost of owning an older car is paying someone else to turn the wrench.
  • If you don't drive a lot - As long as the car is in good shape it will probably stay in good shape since it spend most of its time sitting in your garage

Buy new
  • Base trim levels - These stripped down models are priced low to get you in the door. If you can resist the temptation of options you can get a brand new car for the price of a lightly used model with more options
  • Brands with a reputation for reliability - They command a high premium on the used market as they're perceived as having longer usable life left. The difference to new may be small. Japanese brands such as Honda, Toyota and Subaru fall into this category.
  • When comparing against 1-3 year old vehicles - Traditional "always buy used" wisdom has driven up the price of reliable lightly used cars. They may be "good as new", but they're priced like it.
  • Specific, uncommon, configurations - The lower selection on the used market will make deals less likely.
  • If you won't do you own maintenance - A new car will come with new tires, new brakes, new fluids and a known maintenance history.
  • If you plan to keep the vehicle a very long time - The initial depreciation is only a small part of the cost of the vehicle if you own it for 10-15 years.
  • If you commute - You'll make use of included maintenance and warranties.
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:18 PM   #35
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A few words on turbochargers and oil changes, since I am very familiar with them from several performance cars I have been associated with. ...

If you are not careful, and use the wrong oil for an oil change, say "Dino" oil (non-synthetic), soon afterwards, you will be buying a new turbocharger for $3,000 - $5,000. ...
I would always refer the to the owner's manual. From a quick search, not all turbo cars require synthetic (mine doesn't, not even recommended - and I've had 16 trouble free years from it). If your manual requires it, make sure you get it.

The tricky part is many manuals will 'recommend' synthetic, as it might have been used to squeak out 0.1 mpg in their EPA certification, which adds up for the manufacturer, and they aren't paying for a lifetime of oil changes. But it may not be required to prevent wear, and it might not be cost effective to the owner.

-ERD50
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:30 PM   #36
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I would always refer the to the owner's manual. From a quick search, not all turbo cars require synthetic (mine doesn't, not even recommended - and I've had 16 trouble free years from it). If your manual requires it, make sure you get it.

The tricky part is many manuals will 'recommend' synthetic, as it might have been used to squeak out 0.1 mpg in their EPA certification, which adds up for the manufacturer, and they aren't paying for a lifetime of oil changes. But it may not be required to prevent wear, and it might not be cost effective to the owner.

-ERD50
What car do you have that has a 16 year old turbocharger?
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:06 PM   #37
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Note that GM dealers at least give big discounts on vehicles that sit around their lot to long (I got 14% off a malibu in this case). Just have to watch the adds and scan the dealers websites for details. It was a 2 lt which was discontinued for 2017. I suspect other car dealers may do the same, and it does cut the cost of a new car somewhat.
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:25 PM   #38
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What car do you have that has a 16 year old turbocharger?
A 16 year old car. 2000 Volvo S40.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_S40#Engines



Mine's red.

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Old 10-18-2016, 07:40 PM   #39
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Since I just went through this calculus for my family, I figured I will share. We live in St. Louis and I just bought a 2013 CR-V with 22k miles and mid-level trim for what I think to be 25% off of the new price. We've bought or replaced three cars in three years and this was the best spread between new and gently used that I have seen. At other times, the spread has not been much and we bought new.
Was it a private sale with a very motivated seller? Hard for me to see a Honda selling for that much of a discount otherwise.
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:54 PM   #40
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Cool car.

One of the first with a turbo in the U.S was Volvo. I saw a 1980's sedan in Ca when I lived there. Even the MB's were not until the late 70's or so. VW as late as mid 90's. Those older turbo's were not driven as hard and not as electronically controlled as the modern ones, therefore, they did well at lower spin RPM's and on petroleum based oils. They also were "wastegate" type turbos that relieved excessive boost conditions instead of today's variable vane type turbos that control boost (and turbo load) electronically in conjunction with vacuum and pressure relief valves.

However, those older engines were not too demanding on HP/torque as today's higher revving 4 cylinders or the dual turbo BMW V6's monsters. Many of today's 4 cylinder turbocharged cars require premium fuel because of the high compression ratio. My stepdaughter's 2007 Mazda CX-5 is one of those.

Once you leave the early 2000's, which maybe you haven't, things get very complicated from an automotive engineering standpoint.

I should have referenced my discussion on modern day engines and excluded the older ones like on the early Volvo's, MB's and a few others.

On today's cars, most manufacturers with high efficiency or high performance engines specify oils that meet their spec only. As an example, a late model VW turbocharged diesel will specify VAG Spec 507 only oil. earlier models may specify VAG 505.01. Hard to find some of these oils in the U.S., but they can be located or ordered. MB has their own spec oils also as do most other foreign brand autos.
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