Author Topic: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many (Read 136475 times)

CBnCO

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Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« on: September 09, 2013, 03:39:19 PM »
If it matters..looking for a used mid-sized SUV (need to haul dogs and gear and live in CO where it snows so 4WD is handy) and am curious what you think about buying a higher mileage car. Obviously, the price will be better; but, is it really a good buy...

For frame of reference, I've been looking at vehicles around 100K miles and in a perfect world I could take one of these and drive it to 200-250K. What do you think?

daverobev

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 04:02:05 PM »
100k is nothing.

I had our Civic at the mechanic; it has 225,000 km which is just under 150k miles. He said it was roughly half-way done.

200k miles is where value falls off a cliff, I guess, and you'll have to start replacing things. 300k, where it's probably cheaper to scrap and get something else. Maybe a bit sooner. Obviously massively depending on how well it's maintained, luck, driving conditions, etc, etc.
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chasesfish

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 05:22:13 PM »
It all depends on maintenance and brant from the prior owner at that age.

A 1 owner, garage kept CRV is not the same as a car bought at auction that's been through multiple owners and a repossession.

I'm an odd duck on this forum, I buy new and run them til they are no longer useful. First was a GM that was done at 150k, now on a Honda that's at 126k and I plan on getting 250,000 out of.
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AlexK

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2013, 05:34:04 PM »
The time to get rid of a vehicle is when the expected cost of maintenance + depreciation approaches the cost of maintenance + depreciation of a newer vehicle. An older vehicle will have low depreciation but higher maintenance costs. A new vehicle will have low maintenance cost but high depreciation.

If you work on your own vehicles, maintenance costs will be much lower, probably 75% lower, so it makes sense to keep a vehicle longer than if you pay a mechanic.

You should also factor in how much you need to have a reliable vehicle, for example if you use a bike 50% of the time, having a vehicle out of service for a week isn't a big deal. I solve this problem by having two old vehicles, a high mpg car (Geo Metro) and big truck for getting work done (F250). Either one will work for transportation in a pinch. My vehicles don't go to a mechanic and they both have 200k+ miles and I'm OK with that.

apennysaved

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 09:09:40 PM »
My husband has a 1999 Toyota 4Runner with 280Kmiles on it. He is the original owner. I have a 2002 Acura MDX with 200K miles. I am the second owner and got it when it had 40K miles on it. I think it is important to find a used car where the owner has "pride of ownership" because if it has been well maintained, then the car will last a long time. Many people don't realize our cars are as old as they are because my husband has done a great job on maintaining them. We are actually selling the 4Runner to get a car that gets better gas mileage as we are working on our stash and it gets really poor gas mileage. Although, I am really curious how far that car would make it before dying as it has been incredibly reliable. My car is next on the chopping block to get something more fuel efficient as we really don't need SUVs in Houston.

It sounds like you are taking your time and I am sure you will make sure the car is in great shape even if it has 100K miles on it. So, I wouldn't worry too much about higher mileage.

Jamesqf

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2013, 09:22:20 PM »
Hondas and Toyotas generally aren't properly broken in until they pass 100K miles. My 2000 Honda Insight is currently something over 170K (though I did have to buy some new tires the other day), the '88 Toyota pickup is over 230K.

Mega

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 06:37:04 AM »
As others have said, it depends on mostly on good maintenance. It is not unheard of for transport trucks to roll over 1 million miles.

However, as a general rule of thumb, diesels engines last long than gasoline engines as the fuel acts as a lubricating agent.

However, depending on climate, your car will likely rust out LONG before the engine dies. Ask for evidence of yearly oil spray application (esp. Krown).

Other than that, make sure the title is clean (no flood damage, ins write offs, etc)

One thing to watch for is the periodic expensive maintenance. For example, VW diesels have expensive maintenance every 160 000 km. When I was looking at used, there were a lot of cars for sale at 160k, 320k and 480k km. They either didn't want to spend the money on the repairs, OR their mechanic found a lot of repairs needed during that service.

I don't know about expensive maintenance for other cars though.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2013, 09:13:55 AM »
If you have dogs, the Honda Element is a great car for that... don't be afraid to get one with over 100k. There are AWD versions too.

Our Ody has 129k and my Civic has 138k, but run great.

hybrid

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2013, 11:01:55 AM »
My rule of thumb is about 150K. I feel like I should be able to find a good ride with less miles than that with a little homework. If it has more than 150K, then I want the price to reflect it.
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Jack

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 12:28:10 PM »
You should also factor in how much you need to have a reliable vehicle, for example if you use a bike 50% of the time, having a vehicle out of service for a week isn't a big deal. I solve this problem by having two old vehicles, a high mpg car (Geo Metro) and big truck for getting work done (F250). Either one will work for transportation in a pinch. My vehicles don't go to a mechanic and they both have 200k+ miles and I'm OK with that.

I subscribe to the same idea, which is why I have a 1998 VW Beetle TDI (210K miles) and a 1996 Ford Ranger 2.3L 4x4 (190K miles). Since I live in a 2-person household, I'm planning on getting a third vehicle (probably a 100K+ miles Miata in the $3000-$5000 range) for the purpose of redundancy (and autocrossing...).

dragoncar

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 12:43:28 PM »
It all depends on maintenance and brant from the prior owner at that age.

A 1 owner, garage kept CRV is not the same as a car bought at auction that's been through multiple owners and a repossession.

I'm an odd duck on this forum, I buy new and run them til they are no longer useful. First was a GM that was done at 150k, now on a Honda that's at 126k and I plan on getting 250,000 out of.

I'm not sure how odd of a duck you are. I haven't been alive long enough to say I have an MO for car buying, but my one car fits this description. There are good arguments that used cars are likely to be more trouble than they are worth:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Market_for_Lemons

Rural

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 04:11:59 PM »
I become fairly hesitant to buy anything with more than 200,000 miles on it. I commonly have bought vehicles with 150 to 170,000 miles on them. I don't think I've ever gotten rid of a car with less than 250, so it's worked out pretty well for me. Once across the 150,000 mile mark, the price drops tremendously.

mrpress

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 05:44:14 PM »
You guys are calming my fears about just buying a well maintained 2008 car with 116k mi. We hope to only drive it on long trips and in bad weather to prolong its live as much as possible.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 08:42:13 AM »
116k is nothing - go for it.

AJDZee

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2013, 12:58:03 PM »
General rule of thumb, don't buy a car that has been driven more than 15,000 miles per year before you buy it. There's no need to - there should be enough selection of cars, all else being equal, that you can stay below 15k / year.

MMM posted a good little article that will answer your question in a logical way - all you need to do is figure out how many miles a year you drive on average. HERE...

http://adm-karpinsk.ru/2011/11/28/new-cars-and-auto-financing-stupid-or-sensible/

There is a table if you scroll down that will give you great guidance as to how old of a car you should buy. Keep in mind the article was written in 2011, so the year in the table is relative to that year. So if you drive 15,000 miles per year, you shouldn't buy a 2006 car, what MMM means is you should buy a car that's 5 years old. (*suggestion to MMM, to update this table to say 'x years old' rather than 2006, 2005, etc.*)

With this logic it will ensure you are optimizing the right car in it's lifecycle for your needs/driving habits.

Another suggestion to MMM, this table is a great resource for anyone about to buy a new used car and I think it should be put in his article titled 'How to come out way ahead when buying a car'... just my 2 cents :)

ketchup

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 01:47:43 PM »
"Low miles" is always desirable, but well-maintained miles matter far more. I bought my 1996 Volvo 850 wagon in July (for $2k) with 155k on the clock (158k now), and it looks like the seats have never been sat in. It was very well taken care of, and is in phenomenal shape. I see no reason why it shouldn't get me to well past 200k without any major issues.

I've also dealt with a 1995 Geo Metro with only 107k on it that was leaking *everything* and a gigantic headache and looked like trash. And my parents had a 2003 Saturn that had transmission issues at 50k.

There's a lot more to the story than how many miles are on the car. It is but one variable. What matters more is getting something that was put together well in the first place, AND taken care of properly by the previous owner(s). Also, more expensive cars (when new) tend to be taken care of better than the cheaper ones. Most Geo Metros are trash not because they were bad cars but just because they were cheap cars and treated as such. My Volvo probably was triple the cost of that Geo when new, and it was treated perfectly. Of course this doesn't always apply, but it's a trend I have noticed.

prodarwin

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2013, 02:23:27 PM »
General rule of thumb, don't buy a car that has been driven more than 15,000 miles per year before you buy it.

IMO, buying a car that has been driven well over this amount is not a bad idea at all. Some of the best deals to be had are cars that are relatively new but with crazy high miles. I.E. a 2006 car with 250k miles. Many of these cars will be in excellent operating condition, just with high mileage.

Sitting still often is not good for a car at all. For most vehicles, I'd recommend an '04 car with 250k over a '94 with 125k.

Jack

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Re: Buying A Used Vehicle..How Many Miles Is Too Many
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2013, 05:47:39 PM »
General rule of thumb, don't buy a car that has been driven more than 15,000 miles per year before you buy it.

IMO, buying a car that has been driven well over this amount is not a bad idea at all. Some of the best deals to be had are cars that are relatively new but with crazy high miles. I.E. a 2006 car with 250k miles. Many of these cars will be in excellent operating condition, just with high mileage.

Sitting still often is not good for a car at all. For most vehicles, I'd recommend an '04 car with 250k over a '94 with 125k.

Not to mention, if the car has crazy high miles then they almost have to be highway miles, which cause way less wear-and-tear than short-trip/city miles.