buying What Is the Best Age and Mileage for a Used Car?

20:50  16 may  2017
20:50  16 may  2017 Source:   U.S. News & World Report - Health

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Our new car reviews and used car reviews can help you decide which car is right for you. If you'd like to buy new, use our Best Price Program, which can help you find the dealer in your area with the best price.

autos. You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience. What Is the Best Age and Mileage If you’re considering a used car , it’s hard to know which is worse: paying for unexpected repairs or losing thousands of dollars per year to depreciation.

Buyers have a lot to think about when deciding on a used car. It can be tempting to just go buy the cheapest thing you can find. Sometimes, that can be a mistake; those cars are usually cheap for a reason. They often have problems that are expensive to repair.

Research

Research

On the other hand, new cars are extremely reliable. Perhaps more importantly, they carry warranties, so manufacturers pay for any problems that arise for several years. The downside is that they depreciate far out of proportion to older cars, and depreciation costs are so high that they can dwarf repair and maintenance costs for years.

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According to Samarins.com, a good mileage figure for a used car is 155,000 or less. While low mileage is desirable in a used car , it is not a guarantee that a vehicle is in reasonably good shape for its age .

Is it better to buy an old used car with low mileage or a newer used car with high mileage ? What other considerations besides mileage are there when buying a used car ? What is the optimal age / mileage for a used car ?

Depreciation vs. Repairs

If you’re considering a used car, it’s hard to know which is worse: paying for unexpected repairs or losing thousands of dollars per year to depreciation.

To help readers weigh the options, we gathered data on depreciation, problems, and repair costs for cars from one to 10 years old and plotted them to try to find the sweet spot for buying a used car. Repairs are the only cost of owning an older car that rises every year. Other costs, from depreciation to insurance and registration, all fall with every year a car ages. The immediate question is: Where do the curves cross? When you start paying more per year in repairs than your car loses in depreciation?

We gathered data on depreciation from KBB.com; on average annual repair costs from RepairPal.com, and repair frequency data from TrueDelta.com on models from one to 10 years old. We plotted them on a graph to see when rising repair costs surpassed falling depreciation. In our analysis, even 10-year old cars cost more in depreciation than they absorbed in repair bills. Once you add in lower insurance and registration costs, older cars are even cheaper.

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The optimal age for a used car is right at the knee of the depreciation curve generally in the 3-5 year range. A modern car of that age will have relatively low mileage and be quite reliable if you shop carefully; it's usually thought to the best value given that the original owner would have taken the

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Depreciation, Depreciation, Depreciation

KBB.com provided us with depreciation data on cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans from model years 2007 to 2016. On average, these cars lost one-third of their value in the first year and more than half their value by year four. On an average new car that sells for $34,500, that amounts to a loss of more than $11,000 in the first year and more than $17,000 in the first four years. Only the most mistreated exotic cars will rack up that amount in repairs in such a short time. They will also lose a lot more to depreciation.

It can be tempting to try to balance the new warranty, low maintenance costs, and low repair costs of a new car with the lower depreciation of a used car by buying a certified pre-owned vehicle two or three years old that’s beyond the steepest part of its depreciation curve and still has a warranty to keep repair bills down. In our analysis, though, depreciation at that age still dwarfs repair costs. And certified pre-owned cars cost as much as $3,000 more than similar, non-certified cars. CPO programs can give you peace of mind, but other used cars are much cheaper to buy and own.

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What is the best car under ,000 that can seat 4 comfortably, has good MPG, isn't a total bore to First of all no matter what you buy, due to the mileage you put on your car the resale value is going to suffer. Of course if you did want to get a really inexpensive used car to beat up on long commutes.

Even if you buy an eight-year-old used car, you’ll lose more than $1,000 a year just on depreciation. By then, you could run into a repair that costs you more than $1,000, but it still isn’t common.

Average Repair Costs Tend to Be Low

While depreciation removes almost half of the value of a vehicle after five years, repairs and maintenance only add up to about 3 percent of the original cost of a vehicle after five years, and on average, they creep up slowly. According to data from repairpal.com, the average five-year-old car costs its owner about $350 in repairs. By the time it’s 10 years old, average repairs cost just under $600 a year.

Repair Costs for European Luxury Cars Are High

If you love cars and welcome this news as license to get your spouse to let you bring home a 10-year-old BMW, don’t get too excited. While most cars have low repair costs even after 10 years, European luxury cars are an exception. We asked RepairPal to break down repair costs by automaker as well as by year. While the average 10-year-old car may cost $600 a year to repair, the average Mercedes-Benz costs more than $1,500 a year to keep running at that age, and the average BMW about $1,300. Even older Minis ring up more than $1,000 a year in repairs on average.

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Mileage isn't the most important thing to look for in a used car . The overall condition of the car and the maintenance history will be the key to finding a good used car . How well the previous owner took care of the car is way more important than how many miles he drove it.

In a general sense. What is the optimal age / mileage for a used car ? Which is the best way to check the used car mileage ? Is it better to buy an old used car with low mileage or a newer used car with high mileage ?

Cheapest Buys

According to this analysis, the way to find the cheapest used car to own is just to buy the oldest modern car that you can still find running and in good condition, and that isn’t from an expensive European luxury brand. Repair and maintenance costs may surpass depreciation by the time a car is 12 or 15 years old, but at that point, repairs on the old car are still going to be cheaper than the depreciation that a newer car will suffer. We didn’t examine cars that are more than 10 years old, but by then, good examples that haven’t been neglected, in accidents, or rusted out begin to get harder to find.

The Convenience Factor

Often, though, the decision it isn’t just about money. Often, people start shopping for new cars, not to eliminate repair bills, but to reduce the chances they won’t make it to work or daycare on time.

We also consulted TrueDelta.com, which gathers reliability data on thousands of used cars, and found that modern cars are extremely reliable, even as they get older. Even 10-year-old cars on average have less than one problem per year that needs repair. Fewer than half of 10-year-old cars have a problem with any powertrain system in a given year, which is where more critical and expensive problems are most likely to crop up.

New cars are so reliable that, on average, one could be expected to remain trouble free for years at a time. A five-year-old car may encounter a problem every three years. Even 10-year-old cars would only be expected to have a problem every 18 to 20 months on average.

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But is that low mileage enough to make up for the age of the car ? Or should I hold out waiting for a model that is slightly younger (2005-2007). A good detailer (which a dealer will use ) can make any car look fantastic.

What used car is the best to buy with miles over 200,000? What's a good mileage for a used car I'll use for 5-7 years? When You Type Like This. Cringy! When I was your age … Fam/Squad/Lit Crew. Can I go to the bathroom?

Newer Is Safer

While old cars can be great bargains, they often lack the safety systems that modern cars have. Ten years ago, the most important life-saving safety features – electronic stability control and side-curtain air bags – were commonly available, but not widespread. If you’re looking for a 10-year-old used car, you should focus on models that offered those features and make sure the example you’re considering has them.

If you want the widest selection of cars with the most important safety features, consider cars starting from the 2012 model year. That year, electronic stability control was mandated for all cars, and side curtain airbags came in almost everything except convertibles. Backup cameras are readily available on 2012 models. Blind-spot monitoring is not hard to find. Repairs average a low $350 a year, and depreciation runs about $2,000 a year. That can be a reasonable cost to get these modern safety features.

If you insist on cutting-edge safety equipment, such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance, you’ll have to spend more for a luxury car or a fully loaded, high-end older model, or buy something newer. These features were common on European cars with high repair bills, but they were also available from more mainstream brands such as Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, and Lexus, with good reliability and low repair costs.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the ideal used car bargain, buy as old a car as you’re comfortable driving that’s in good condition and reflects diligent care from the former owner. You can’t beat that bargain by buying new or even nearly new. However, keep in mind that modern safety features won't be available in many older models. If the latest safety features are a priority, look for 2012 models or newer.

More Buying Tools From U.S. News & World Report

You can find more advice about choosing between new and used cars in this article. Our new car reviews and used car reviews can help you decide which car is right for you. If you'd like to buy new, use our Best Price Program, which can help you find the dealer in your area with the best price. Our financing deals and lease deals can also save you money on a new car. If you'd like to buy used, check out our used car listings.

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