When buying a used vehicle...

ctc

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Given the choice... Would you buy a 2 year old with 80K miles on it or would you buy a 4 year old with 80K miles on it? Assume similar features and price within $4K of each other.
 
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With equal mileage, you might as well go for the younger car. The 4-year-old car has been exposed to twice as much of the elements unless there were special circumstances, such as a garage at home and a garage at the workplace. Check the condition of all the fluids that you can, and judge which one has the least sun fade, paint hazing, hardening weatherstrip, etc. Without seeing either car, I'd bet on the 2-year-old being more desirable.
 
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Easily the 2 year old, that's 40k per year and most certainly more highway. I assume $4k is of little consequence from the tone of your post, but if the 2005 is $3k and the 2007 $7k, I'd get the '05. We need to know orders of magnitude for a fully informed opinion.
 

JHZR2

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I'd want to verify the maintenance records and money spent on both. This would be a major determining factor. In theory the one used more on the highway (younger one) would be the better bet, but if care wasnt taken on it, that may be moot.
 

PT1

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I would have both evaluated by my indy mechanic and that would be the deciding factor. I would also want to see the maintenance records. But if both were equally maintained, I would go for the 2 year old due to age related wear on safety systems such as air bags, emmission systems like cat converter and various rubber parts that waste away with age.
 

ctc

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Yeah the 4K difference isn't a big deal. It is really more of a hypothetical scenario. I'd like to get the more reliable of the two hypothetical vehicles. My thinking was similar in that the high miles on the newer vehicle would indicate a lot of highway use. I'm just looking for general thoughts and opinions. Thanks!
 
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my choice would be the 2 years old with 80k. Mostly highway miles I presume. Also, maybe less problems because the first generation usually its recalls after recalls. Most of the bugs are gone.
 
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I would go with the two year old car. I don't drive much, so I would pick that one. the two year old car would be heavily discounted and you can negotiate more off because most folks won't touch a vehicle with 80k/2yrs on it.
 
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 Originally Posted By: PT1
I would have both evaluated by my indy mechanic and that would be the deciding factor. I would also want to see the maintenance records. But if both were equally maintained, I would go for the 2 year old due to age related wear on safety systems such as air bags, emmission systems like cat converter and various rubber parts that waste away with age.
+1
 
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If everything elso was equal (maintenance records, etc) I would pick the 4 year old car. 4k difference is a lot, when buying a new car some people will fight tooth and nail for a $500 discount, so how come 4k is not a lot all of the sudden? In this case both cars will require similar services performed due to mileage (breakes, coolant, ATF) and in my opinion the 4k would cover all of that and you would have plenty left for gas. Of course this only makes sense from a financial point of view, you may want the 2 year old model for other reasons, such as refreshed body work, extra features, extra safety equipment, so factoring these in, the 4k difference may not be a lot after all.
 

ctc

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$20K vs 16K Well ok, it isn't completely hypothetical because the 2 cars do exist. I'm just not ready to buy yet so the 2 vehicles in question won't be around when I am purchasing. I wanted to keep this as generic as possible to avoid bias. A few more features on the newer vehicle and new body style. Same engine. Better transmission (6 spd vs 4)on the newer model.
 
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I'd get the older vehicle with the same mileage. 4k cheaper, less miles driven per year, meaning possibly less highway mileage but could be all highway just short distance. The newer car with that many miles could have been beaten on for that many miles on the highway. Its a 50/50 either way, go with the one you like more and if 4k is a difference go with the cheaper of the two.
 
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The question is; how important are these features to you? To me the 6sp over 4sp (auto?) would be a big plus. Also, if the 2 year old had all the required services for 80k already performed, break pads have plenty of thickness left and tires look good vs the 4 year old still required some of the services, tires, brakes, then the 2 year old would be a good choice since you would not have to worry about maintenance for apprx. 40k miles. On the other hand if you can perform all the maintenance by yourself and could live with the 4spd auto, pocketing 4k difference can't hurt. For the life expectancy, I think, both vehicles would be about the same and any difference at trade in would be negligible.
 
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I'd bargain with the owner of the older car, saying cars depreciate at least 33% a year, so it should be more like $9000 for the 4 year old car, and give the asking price of the 2 year old one. 20,000 miles a year is way more than average, too, so it should depreciate faster. Used car prices seem quite out of line with the recession these days, too. I've looked online lately, and you see the occasional 2001 Saturn SL asking for $5000.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ctc
Given the choice... Would you buy a 2 year old with 80K miles on it or would you buy a 4 year old with 80K miles on it? Assume similar features and price within $4K of each other.
Totally depends on maintenance and who drove it. I will generally pay up to 30% more for a well maintained (with documentation) car over one with unknown maintenance, assuming I intend to keep the car for a long time. Also if a kid drove it versus adult or sedate driver that makes a major difference to me.
 
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I'd gladly take 4k in my pocket and spring for the older vehicle. I bought my 2001 Frontier in 2006 with less than 50k, which is far below average annual mileage. Today it has 120k and I've spent a whopping 75$ on a power window regulator which I replaced myself. Other than that is has been routine maintenance every step of the way. So I don't buy the older vehicle equals greater maintenance costs "myth" unless you live in the northern salt belt, where age can destroy a vehicle long before wear.
 
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