Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Used Cars = Someone else's lemon
Old 03-23-2013, 11:08 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
Snidely Whiplash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 153
Used Cars = Someone else's lemon

In the way of background, my wife's vehicle is getting a bit long in the tooth: near the 100k mile mark and starting to have some problems. Nothing major yet but I get seriously stressed by unreliable vehicles. As is my normal routine I have started considering a new car for her. I usually buy new GM products and keep them for approximately 5 years / 100k miles, although this time for a variety of reasons the brand will probably change.

I see many here buy slightly used vehicles and keep them "til the wheels fall off" and I'm wondering how you are finding reliable used vehicles? The few used cars I have bought in my lifetime have invariably been lemons that the previous owners were happy to unload on someone else so I am very gun-shy about buying used.
__________________

__________________
"Adversity does not build character, it reveals it." - James Lane Allen
Snidely Whiplash is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-23-2013, 11:14 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Live And Learn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Tampa Bay Area
Posts: 1,689
Hi. I purchased a 2010 vechicle last year. As part of the deal I presented the dealer with the amount I was willing to pay and stipulated that I wanted a bumper to bumper warantee to 2020 as part of the price. I have nothing to worry about. If anything goes wrong I pay a $100 deductible and it gets fixed.
__________________

__________________
"For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." ~
Hebrews 12:11

ER'd in June 2015 at age 52. Initial WR 3%. 50/40/10 (Equity/Bond/Short Term) AA.
Live And Learn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 11:39 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 1,878
I bought one from Carmax and have been very pleased with it. No problems in 2 years and the purchase process was very stress free. I took it to a shop for a pre-purchase inspection before completing the purchase.

Check out pre-purchase inspections, I think it's worth it buying used.

https://www.google.com/search?q=vehi...w=1352&bih=719
__________________
rbmrtn is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 38
I've only bought two new cars in 45 years of car ownership. And I've also bought three additional used cars for my kids when they began their Junior year in college. For a primary vehicle I buy about a 3 year old Honda or Toyota. I can't stand enduring the depreciation of a new car. I bought most of the used cars from individuals and never had a lemon. The only used car with more than it's share of trouble was a Ford that I bought from a dealer in the 70's. I think I'm a pretty good judge of people (sellers) and have a good mechanical eye to judge cars. I also try to plan my purchases so I'm not rushed into buying. I take my time and evaluate as many cars as needed until I see the one that I want.
__________________
PatSea is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 01:09 PM   #5
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 43
As much as I hear about used cars supposedly being a better value, I've always been skeptical.

Example (assuming you buy a car that can be driven through 10 total years):
1) New car for $20k and drive it 10 years = 2k/yr
2) Used car (3 yrs old) for $14k = 7 years, again 2k/yr. Then buy another used car and start over.

Either way, total purchase cost over 10 years = 20k. The used car approach over 10 years might even be a bit more because when you replace it after 7 years, the 3-yr old one you buy then is likely more than 14k. Admittedly, with the new car, you also paid higher sales and property taxes. But the used car likely has higher maintenance costs because you're replacing it 3 years sooner than the new one. Sure seems like a wash. Or is it just the psychological lure of having lower payments or shorter terms while paying for it? But isn't that offset by having to start over 3 years earlier?

I suppose the variable I could be missing might be that a new car that could be bought for 20k would cost less than 14k after 3 years? What else am I missing?

My previous [new] car was a '99 Acura. Shortly before our DD (oldest of 2 kids) got her license, I bought a new car for me, even though the Acura was only at about 120k miles. But I wanted both of our kids to have a shared car for HS and I knew that with the 15-17k/yr in miles I drive, that if I kept driving it, it might not make it. Here we are almost 5 years later, each kid enjoyed it for the last 2 years of HS, and now that they're conveniently at the same state U, they continue sharing it. Yeah, it's around 165k miles, but we just put a new transmission in last year because it's otherwise still in great shape. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it can survive another 3 years while our son's in college and will likely only had on 15-20k miles. So we surely feel like, going on 13 years and hoping for 16, we got our money's worth out of this car that we bought new. Had we bought it used, we'd have had to replace it a few years ago - and that's assuming we could've found something that was taken care of at the same level we care for ours and not just someone else's headache.
__________________
Sandman62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 01:33 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,481
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandman62 View Post
As much as I hear about used cars supposedly being a better value, I've always been skeptical.

Example (assuming you buy a car that can be driven through 10 total years):
1) New car for $20k and drive it 10 years = 2k/yr
2) Used car (3 yrs old) for $14k = years, again 2k/yr. Then buy another used car and start over.....
I think the flaw in your logic is that the reduction in the value of a car is straight-line ($2k a year in your example). In reality the reduction in value in the first 3 years is much higher than the reduction in value in years 4-6 or 7-9.

While for me used cars have been a better value that isn't always true.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 01:41 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
heeyy_joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Madeira Beach Fl
Posts: 1,403
Vehicle Owners | Safercar -- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
__________________
_______________________________________________
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
heeyy_joe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Dawg52's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Central MS/Orange Beach, AL
Posts: 7,446
My last 2 have been used. Both had a few months of warranty left so I felt like I had time to get things corrected if I had bought a lemon. My Trailblazer had a water pump problem, had it replaced at n/c. No other problems in the 5 years I have owned it. So overall I have been pleased with my used purchases.

Oh yes, I did get a carfax report on both before buying. Gave me some peace of mind.
__________________
Retired 3/31/2007@52
Full time wuss.......
Dawg52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 589
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandman62 View Post

What else am I missing?
Someone may use it for more than 10 years, which makes the new car scenario gradually much less desirable. I have actually never used a car that I didn't keep for over 10 years. My next car I expect to keep 20-25 years.

E.g. I will get a $16k new car for $10k with 15-30k miles. Over 20 years, the new car would cost me (without other costs) 16/20= $800/yr, and the used car would cost me 10/20 = $500/yr. The first three year warranty is not worth $6000 to me.
__________________
plex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 1,878
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I think the flaw in your logic is that the reduction in the value of a car is straight-line ($2k a year in your example). In reality the reduction in value in the first 3 years is much higher than the reduction in value in years 4-6 or 7-9.
Exactly. Depends on make/model, domestics are the worst. first 3 years depreciation can be significant. A new caddy loses 50% of it's value.

For an econobox, sometimes a new one is cheaper than 1-2 yr old with discounts/rebates.
__________________
rbmrtn is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:01 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Mulligan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 7,384
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawg52
My last 2 have been used. Both had a few months of warranty left so I felt like I had time to get things corrected if I had bought a lemon. My Trailblazer had a water pump problem, had it replaced at n/c. No other problems in the 5 years I have owned it. So overall I have been pleased with my used purchases.

Oh yes, I did get a carfax report on both before buying. Gave me some peace of mind.
I bought a used 2002 trailblazer back in 2003 with 30k on it. It now has over 185k and the only thing I have ever changed is the S belt, battery, tires, wheel bearings, and brakes. Just maintenance stuff. I have never even changed the transmission fluid. I would like to get another Trailblazer when this one expires but they quit making them back with 2009 model so they may be long in tooth before I can replace it. It sure seems to me that "the spread" between buying new and late used has narrowed greatly since I last bought. I have never bought new ever, but may be forced to if I can't find
another Trailblazer.
__________________
Mulligan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandman62 View Post
As much as I hear about used cars supposedly being a better value, I've always been skeptical.

Example (assuming you buy a car that can be driven through 10 total years):
1) New car for $20k and drive it 10 years = 2k/yr
2) Used car (3 yrs old) for $14k = years, again 2k/yr. Then buy another used car and start over.
While others have pointed out that the depreciation is not straight line, I also don't think it's a big deal if you keep the new car 10-12 years. I know others have said that the used car market has driven the prices up and closed the gap on that depreciation issue.

There's also the issue that you get 3 years less warranty coverage, and the car you are driving is always 3 years older - which can put you behind in safety and convenience features. At year 3, you are soon looking at new tires/brakes, so some expenses are brought forward.

It would be nice if we posted some real comparisons with links - we have company today, so I won't have time now, just thought I'd throw it out there.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,906
Most cars have a 3 year / 36,000 warranty or better. Buy one still under warranty and get anything wrong with it fixed for free. You can even buy an extended warranty, if that suits you. You can buy an extended manufacturer's warranty online at a substantial discount - again if that suits you.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:35 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,692
We buy three to four year old low used cars mileage cars.

But we would never consider GM, Chrysler, or Ford products. These tend to be at the bottom of the quality/reliability spectrum. I drove a new one of these every year as a company car...everything from the luxury versions, the SUV's, and the standard sedans. My experience was far too many issues and the dealer service deptartments were much less oriented to service and to quality than their foreign plate cousins-notwithstanding often being manufactured in the same country.

We have had great success buying higher end Toyota and Honda sedans. Usually with a full load. We get them inspected, etc. At four years old, we expect to pay around half of their current price. The last car we bought, a 2006 Accord EXL had 26K miles with full load/leather etc. It has been a great car.

I picked up the recent Consumer Reports New/Used car mag. It is on the stands now. Take a look at their comments and their reliablity records.
__________________
brett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:36 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 241
I've had disapointments from the two cars I bought used, but it was due more to the car's basic flaws than the fact that I bought them with miles. I buy new cars at a reasonable price through a dealer that treats me fairly, and then we drive them a long time- unless they are very unreliable. Five cars currently in our fleet, ages 15, 12, 6, and two are 3 years old.
__________________
MDJO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 02:39 PM   #16
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
While others have pointed out that the depreciation is not straight line, I also don't think it's a big deal if you keep the new car 10-12 years. I know others have said that the used car market has driven the prices up and closed the gap on that depreciation issue.
I didn't make a straight-line depreciation assumption at all.
I simply said that:
Quote:
1) New car for $20k and drive it 10 years = 2k/yr
2) Used car (3 yrs old) for $14k = 7 years, again 2k/yr. Then buy another used car and start over.
Either way, total purchase cost over 10 years = 20k.
So ignoring salvage value (as they'd be the same) and loan interest (as you may have paid cash upfront or had an insignificant loan rate), either car costs $2k/yr due to what you paid and how long you drove; nothing to do with depreciation.

I do agree that for those who keep a car 20 years, it "could be" cheaper because now we're comparing $20k over 20 years = $1k/yr vs. $14k over 17 years = 823/yr. But again, increased maintenance costs could wipe out that savings.

Realistically, I highly doubt most people keep their cars that long.
"The average vehicle on America's roads is almost 11 years old, according to the auto market analysts at Polk."
__________________
Sandman62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #17
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 525
Had a neighbor once that bought a new car every 2 years, drove them about 25,000-30,000 miles but during that time never did one single thing except keep the oil topped off. No oil changes, no filter changes, no tire rotation, nothing that would cost him penny in maintenance. Then just before a trade in on a new car he would change the oil and filter.

Based on that experience I would rather buy new and keep it for 10 years. The depreciation factor is offset by piece of mind knowing exactly what I've got. I suspect many 2-3 year old used cars had owners with the same mindset as my former neighbor.
__________________
***********
My motto is.... "a dollar saved is better than a dollar earned. I don't pay tax on the dollar I saved."
Tom52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 03:48 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom52 View Post
I would rather buy new and keep it for 10 years. The depreciation factor is offset by piece of mind
+1. I tend to go that route as well.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 03:51 PM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
KM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 392
We have been buying used cars and been happy. My last one was a 1996 Toyota Avalon that I bought in 2004. It had low miles and great price. Just got rid of it. God I loved that car. We put very little into over the years....

When I start shopping, I want one that is 3 or more years old. I am suspicious of anything newer than that (ie why are they dumping it so soon). But so many people trade-in in the 3-6 year time frame and the car will last forever.

I also do a lot of research on make, model and year before I buy.

This is one of the sites I like to use for reasearch. All cars will have problems, but it gives you an idea of the "bad years" to avoid "like the plague". You have to realize the more the car sells, the more complaints it will have - but it is helpful to compare years if you have narrowed down a make and model.
CarComplaints.com | Car Problems, Car Complaints, & Repair/Recall Information


I also use an MSN site (example here) and go to the RELIABILITY tab to see the history.
2008 Scion tC Reliability - MSN Autos
__________________
KM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2013, 04:10 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Mulligan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 7,384
Bogleheads have had a thread on this before, and there have been a few that swear by leasing mid value cars as the most cost efficient way to own a vehicle. I would never go that route just because I don't know a lot about the process and they would screw me somehow on it.
__________________

__________________
Mulligan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:40 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.