Do you buy used cars like a Boglehead actually should?

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lightheir
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Do you buy used cars like a Boglehead actually should?

Post by lightheir »

Have been reading the Boglehead book and noted the section about preferring to purchase used cars to avoid depreciation.

I agree with this idea for the most part, however, I still have been uncomfortable with buying used cars from individuals. I was in the market for a new car last year after my well-used 11 year old vehicle was crushed in a hit-n-run, and I was surprised to see how closely the used vehicles were priced relative to new ones if you went to a used-car dealer.

In fact, I didn't feel that any of them gave much of a discount at all, once you factored in mileage, historic brand reliability, and features.

I am a (new) physician, so I am used to living quite frugally, but I also have come to the point where my time is very precious, as I work enough hours as is. Should I still be considering used cars as per Boglehead advice, and am I going about finding them incorrectly?

(I have little interest/need for cars as status or features. I prize reliability and gas efficiency, and little else, so long as it's not an eyesore that would attract undue attention from neighbors.)
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Post by tim1999 »

Especially with the current used car market conditions (1-3 year old cars priced not much less than new ones), my personal advice is to buy a new car that meets your needs and drive it for 10+ years. Your per-year cost will be low, and you will know the car's entire history from day one.
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prudent
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Post by prudent »

In today's market, used cars are priced very high compared to new. It wasn't always like that. It certainly makes one lean towards buying new.

My last car purchase was 5 years ago. I bought a year-old large sedan with 18K miles, "certified", for 30% less than new. From what I see being advertised today, I don't see deals like that any more. In fact, the other day I saw a used car priced higher than the same car brand new, at the same dealer, in two different ads. The new car had a bunch of incentives.
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Post by fundseeker »

What they said. We looked very hard for used cars for our last two purchases this past year and there was no way, if you negotiate well with the new car dealer, that there would be any advantage to buying used. Plus, you will get to pick the color and options, and have peace of mind from knowing it is new. You won't have to worry about things like, I wonder if it was wrecked and the repair shop did not replace those airbags, etc.. Just my two cents based on recent experience.
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Post by nisiprius »

We buy our cars at issue and hold them to maturity, and I don't think the price fluctuation in between matters much.

Seriously, I don't think buying used is automatically a big win. Those first couple of years of ownership when everything is clean and everything works and you don't need to keep sticking a penny into the tire tread to see how it's doing are lovely. Buying used is a good way to manage cash flow, and in my curmudgeonly opinion it is far better to buy a used car for cash than to finance a new car. And you do pay something for those initial couple of nice years, but I don't think it's a whole lot--not if you don't trade it in after three years.
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Post by john94549 »

I have always driven cars inherited from others. Once, I recall, I actually "bought" a car (a Toyota Tercel, no radio, no A/C, no nuthin).

My wife, on the other hand, loves to buy cars. She's a "zoom, zoom, zoom" kinda person. I'm more in the "put, put, gasp" column.
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Post by beareconomy »

Being a physician myself, I bought a new car when my car with 300,000 miles needed about 5k of work. And over 3 years, not one problem with the new car. It gets me to the hospital just fine.

Trust me, for the extra couple of dollars, especially being a physician with a six figure income, it is not a big deal to buy a new car. And you can actually get 0% financing for 5 years, so it is not a big chunk of your monthly salary. Also, toyota gives you 2 years of free service, just another incentive for new versus used debate.
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Post by tadamsmar »

Another issue is that, at this point in time, new cars tend to be significantly safer because of the ongoing introduction of electronic stability control (and, to a lessor extent, other safety features).

Here's a blog entry about how to find a used car with ESC:

http://epicurusgarden.blogspot.com/2011 ... h-esc.html
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Post by Toons »

Given you employment status I would go New,Honda,Toyota or even Nissan,and Not top of the line model either :D :D :D :D :D
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Post by Rodc »

In decades past I bought cars a couple of years old and saved.

But used prices on cars I would like to drive have been increasing for years.

It is now very hard to buy a newish used car that is a significant bargain or even a bargain at all. At least for in demand cars.

My last car was new (2009 Forester). I looked briefly at cars in that class and saw nothing that looked like a clear winner. I not only got just the car I wanted (only option was a remote starter) in the color I wanted, but with some emails I got three dealers bidding against each other, picked on, walked in a 30 minutes later I was done. Even if I could have found a bargain it likely would have taken weeks of driving dealer to dealer. My spare time is very valuable.

But it is not impossible. My daughter last year bought a one year old, 10,000 mile Toyota Yaris for about 30% off the actual selling price new (as reported on web sites that track these things), and much less than people were paying used for similar year old Yarises). But it did take a lot of effort to find.
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Re: Do you buy used cars like a Boglehead actually should?

Post by Wagnerjb »

lightheir wrote:I am a (new) physician, so I am used to living quite frugally, but I also have come to the point where my time is very precious, as I work enough hours as is. Should I still be considering used cars as per Boglehead advice, and am I going about finding them incorrectly?
I disagree that a "Boglehead" has to live frugally. Just live within your means, save an appropriate amount, invest wisely...and enjoy the rest. If you can afford a brand new Porsche, go for it. Don't let some book dictate how you spend your money.

Best wishes.
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Post by marylandcrab »

We used to only buy used.

8 years ago I bought my first new car - an acura mdx. I put 200k miles on it and just handed it over to my son when he got his license.

Dh just bought his first new car last year. We used to joke about how our employees who made a fraction of what we did, all drove nicer cars than him.

Our manager used to tell him what an embarrassment he was showing up in his pos.

I don't know if I really believe if it's cheaper to buy used given us keeping our new cars 8+ years. Plus our used purchases have usually needed more work over time than our new cars ever did.

That being said I buy white vans for my drivers, and never ever buy them new. Lots of people give them up after 2 years - either on a lease I guess or because they've gone out of business or changed jobs.
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Post by KyleAAA »

If you're going to drive your car 10 years, it doesn't make much of a difference whether you buy new or used. If you're going to buy something new every 4 or 5 years like most people, it makes a very big difference.
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Post by bungalow10 »

I think there are pros and cons to each.

When buying used, I would buy from an individual, and get a 1-owner car. They tend to be priced well and well taken care of.

Buy new if you plan to keep it for a long time and are looking for something that isn't readily available in the used market, or is priced at a premium.

My examples - we bought a 2005 Impala used from an individual in 2007 (it was 2 year old). It was high miles (89,000) but only two years old. It had new tires, and only cost us $7,050. DH still drives it, and it has about 140,000 miles on it today. I figure it has depreciated about $1,000/year each of the last four years.

My car was bought new. A 2009 Honda Fit. We wanted the new body style (slightly roomier - we have two kids) and high MPG. We paid $17,000, and got $4500 for our clunker. I think it is still worth $14,000 today, even though it has 40,000 miles on it.
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Post by Rob5TCP »

I have bought used for most of my cars. Living in the city, I only put on 3-4,000 miles per year so a good used car lasts a long time. The last 2-3 years there has been an anomaly. Because of the low number of new sales, used cars 2-3 years old are commanding higher percentage of new car prices than usual. In some cases the difference can be a couple of thousand dollars or less (depending on the model).

As for my purchase. It was a two year old Ford Escort (1998) with 19,000 miles for $5,900. Today it has 45,000 miles on it and the resale is about $2,500 (excellent condition). The depreciation has been about $350 per year. Maintenance has been fairly low as well.

I will, in the next 2-3 years, replace it with a newer car, primarily for newer safety features. This car also will be used (also 2-3 years old).
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Post by daytona084 »

bungalow10 wrote: My examples - we bought a 2005 Impala used from an individual in 2007 (it was 2 year old). It was high miles (89,000) but only two years old. It had new tires, and only cost us $7,050. DH still drives it, and it has about 140,000 miles on it today. I figure it has depreciated about $1,000/year each of the last four years.
Quite a coincidence... I just bought a 2007 Impala with 80,000 miles for $7,000. Very nice car, looks and runs like new. Used Impalas are a best-kept secret. They are cheap and plentiful, as they are a very popular fleet car. I have a friend that has two of them.
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Post by Noobvestor »

I tend to look for newish cars discounted for one reason or another (last year's model, showroom floor model, etc...), and agree that buying from someone unknown who has owned a car for years is a risk (and not one I'd prefer to take). I looked at a VW golf once and everything seemed fine until I spotted some rust ... at which point they casually mentioned it had sat in a flooded garage for two weeks once. Oh, they assured me, but it's totally fine! ;)
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Post by hicabob »

wjwhitney wrote:
bungalow10 wrote: My examples - we bought a 2005 Impala used from an individual in 2007 (it was 2 year old). It was high miles (89,000) but only two years old. It had new tires, and only cost us $7,050. DH still drives it, and it has about 140,000 miles on it today. I figure it has depreciated about $1,000/year each of the last four years.
Quite a coincidence... I just bought a 2007 Impala with 80,000 miles for $7,000. Very nice car, looks and runs like new. Used Impalas are a best-kept secret. They are cheap and plentiful, as they are a very popular fleet car. I have a friend that has two of them.
But then you'd have to , GASP, drive a chevy Impala!
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Post by bogglehead »

Rodc wrote: My daughter last year bought a one year old, 10,000 mile Toyota Yaris for about 30% off the actual selling price new (as reported on web sites that track these things), and much less than people were paying used for similar year old Yarises). But it did take a lot of effort to find.
That's funny. I bought at two-year old Yaris with 20,000 miles on it last year and it's great. It did take a lot of work to find though, I spent a while stalking Craigslist and negotiating with private parties. In the end, I got a great deal but it took some doing. I'm planning to drive it for several more years and then sell it to buy a pickup truck (what I really want). I'm willing to wait until I knock out a chunk of my student loans though.
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Post by maxinout »

Not everybody drives old beaters.

We actually lease. I don't mind paying for the convenience of always having a new car and never having to deal with repairs. Comfortable and reliable transportation is important to me. To my wife and I, anything 5 years or older just doesn't feel comfortable or reliable. I also think buying a used car is a PITA. As is dealing with repair shops.

Not including insurance, we spend $3,000 per year for transportation. We look to lease fuel-efficient cars that include "free" maintenance.
Last edited by maxinout on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by bottlecap »

There's nothing wrong with buying a new car, especially in the current used car market, as long as you drive them into the ground.

I have bought new and used - although its a been nearly twelve years since I bought new (still driving it). I bought used largely because I knew the person I bought the car from and knew they take good care of them. If not for that, I may very well have bought new again.

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Post by lightheir »

Glad to hear all the reasonable input about buying new cars, especially in today's market and that I wasn't missing something particularly obvious.

As a used car anomaly, my 2010 Toyota Prius was briefly worth MORE in 2011 due to the Japan nuclear meltdown leading to production shortages. I think the underpowered but uber-efficient Geo Metros are still selling at a premium to their value.
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Post by daytona084 »

hicabob wrote:
wjwhitney wrote:
bungalow10 wrote: My examples - we bought a 2005 Impala used from an individual in 2007 (it was 2 year old). It was high miles (89,000) but only two years old. It had new tires, and only cost us $7,050. DH still drives it, and it has about 140,000 miles on it today. I figure it has depreciated about $1,000/year each of the last four years.
Quite a coincidence... I just bought a 2007 Impala with 80,000 miles for $7,000. Very nice car, looks and runs like new. Used Impalas are a best-kept secret. They are cheap and plentiful, as they are a very popular fleet car. I have a friend that has two of them.
But then you'd have to , GASP, drive a chevy Impala!
Oh, I do! Myself and millions of others dating back to 1958. Should I have a problem with that? 8-)
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Post by Sam I Am »

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Post by NateH »

Just bought a new vehicle last week, to replace a new vehicle that we bought 10 years ago. The used ones with <30k miles were priced the same as the new.

It seems the sweet-spot for used vehicles is much higher miles than it used to be...somewhere 50k-75k miles the prices finally start to go down., but now that might be a 4 year old vehicle which is not ideal since the technology changes so fast.

I don't feel bad buying new, even if its anti-bogleish. I get good value since i only buy once a decade.
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Post by wander »

I prefer to buy new cars and drive 15+ years.
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Post by cheese_breath »

wander wrote:I prefer to buy new cars and drive 15+ years.
Eons ago when I was growing up I learned buying a used car was just buying someone elses problem. That was a long time ago, and used cars are a lot better now than they were then. But that always stuck with me. So I always buy new cars and keep them until 'they don't go no more'. I bought a new one in 2009 to replace my 1993 Oldsmobile, and I hope to keep it for at least 16 years too. I retired from an auto company and get a company discount so my buying experience is probably less stressful than some. Granted, a good bargainer could probably work as good a discount out of some dealers, but I'm not a good bargainer and don't like that kind of hassle.
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Post by FrugalInvestor »

I purchase new cars, maintain the well and usually keep them for about 7 years and 140,000 miles. I like knowing that my vehicle is and will remain reliable.
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Post by greg24 »

I dislike the car buying experience. So buying new cars should result in less car purchases in my lifetime. We spent a grand total of about 3 hrs at a dealer buying a new car last summer. Your time costs something.
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Post by FireProof »

Yeah, I picked one up for $4,000. The nice thing is that it had the features of a (10 year old) $40,000 car, while if I'd bought new, I'd probably have a pretty basic model. Cars last a long time nowadays (especially Toyotas and Hondas), so as long as you get it inspected and buy it from someone respectable. I actually tend to trust private parties a bit more than most dealers. But I don't drive a lot, so a new car would never make sense - I simply wouldn't be able to use enough miles, even if the value per mile is theoretically decent.
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Post by john94549 »

This thread has certainly brought back some memories.

Until my Dad retired, in 1980, he drove a "company car" (usually one of the uber-large Buicks or Oldsmobiles). After three years, he'd buy the car, give it to my Mom to drive, then I'd "inherit" hers. Somewhere along the line in that perfectly-rational food chain, my Mom decided she wanted a Chevy Corvair. Folks over the age of 60 will remember them. Engine in the rear, A/C mounted over the engine (rendering service almost impossible), itty-bitty tires, imagine just about every design flaw possible (remember "Unsafe at any Speed" by Ralph Nader?)

Yup, I inherited the Corvair. Drove it back and forth to my ship while in the Navy (circa 1972). We lived in New Jersey (the ship was in Perth Amboy; hard to believe Raritan Bay once had a Navy!) and those itty-bitty tires didn't fare well in snow and ice. I spent one evening in the ditch, in the dead of Winter, on the Garden State. The Trooper who pulled me out was a veteran, so he cut me some slack. My goodness, did I just type "cut me some slack"? I guess that dates me as a Navy veteran.

I do remember the ignition broke on the car and I had to jump-start it by joining two wires together. I think it was the gentleman who lived in the upstairs apartment who showed me how to do it. He worked for the FBI (seriously; a G-Man taught me how to jump-start my car).

We left the car in New Jersey when we came back to California for law school. That Corvair was a truly weird car.
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Post by Sunny Sarkar »

I have bought 2 new and 2 used cars. Both used cars were 4-5 year old and about half the price of new.

Based on my experience, I think buying 4-5 year old used cars is the way to go.

99 Mazda Miata - bought new $25k - owned 8 yrs - sold $5k = ($2.5k/yr)
98 Toyota Camry - bought used 5y.o $9k - own 8 yrs - hoping to sell $2k = ($0.8k/yr)
07 Honda Accord - bought new $24k - own 4 yrs - valued $14k = ($2.5k/yr)
07 Lexus ES350 - bought used 4y.o. $22k - new price $38k = ($4k/yr saved)
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Post by scouter »

wander wrote:I prefer to buy new cars and drive 15+ years.
+1 ("What he said")
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Post by lightheir »

Here's a related question:

Assuming that it's actually true that right now, the gap between a lightly used car and a new car has grown much smaller, wouldn't the penalty for buying cars every 3-5 years also shrink a lot?

I am aware that there is always a 'new car tax', but for some, if that penalty has shrunk from $5-7000 to $1-2000, that strongly decreases the argument to buy and drive your car into the ground, and might even strengthen the argument to actually swap your car to a new one before the significant repair years start coming up (I dunno, about 7 years out?)

Just wondering.
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Post by john94549 »

scouter wrote:
wander wrote:I prefer to buy new cars and drive 15+ years.
+1 ("What he said")
I prefer to get cars for free and then drive them for 15+ years. Currently putt-puttting around in a 1994 Buick.
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Post by bertilak »

wjwhitney wrote:Oh, I do! Myself and millions of others dating back to 1958. Should I have a problem with that? 8-)
My father had a '59 Impala. It was a BIG car with even bigger fins! Ten years ago when I wanted to buy a new car with lots of room I looked at the Impalas and was surprised to see they'd been downsized! Bought a Chevy minivan instead. Still have it, but it is getting to the point where it isn't worth any major repairs. New car coming in 2012, I suspect.
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Post by thirdman »

I would buy a new car. One with low repairs. Personally I like the Mazda 3, for its sharp handling. I would choose a dealer near me, that has rental or loaner cars. For service, I would drop my car off in the morning, get the rental, and be off. You can write off the cost of the rental.

Safety is important, and I would only drive a car with all of the latest safety features, such as stability control and head air bags. Size may be important in a crash, and the Mazda 3 is a small car. I rented one recently for several months, and really enjoyed driving it. It does have road noise.

When I buy a car, I research the dealer's cost, the easiest way is from Consumers Reports. Then I call all the dealers in the area, speak with the internet salesman, or fleet sales, get a price. Then I call the dealer I want to deal with and ask if they will meet the lowest price. That will usually be the case, unless the car is rare. Then I ask the salesman to fax me the invoice, with the sales prices on it, signed by him, and the new car sales manager, or dealership general manager. When negotiating, ask about any fees that are on the sales agreement, have them included in the sales price. When negotiating, include all of the equipment you want, such as floormats. Have the salesman fax a sales agreement to you.

Have them agree to have it all prepped before you go to pick it up, e.g. window tinting etc. Go over the car, and drive it before you sit down to hand over money. Be prepared to spend a few hours, hopefully less. Bring a sweater and an bottle of water. If there is any funny business, the salesman has to talk with the sales manager to settle a point, or problems, tell them when the problems are solved you will return. If you have a trade in, go to the dealer before picking up your car, and get a trade in price. Let them go over the car. Do not give them the keys to your trade in before finishing the deal on your new car. Hand over you keys at the conclusion of buying your new car.

An example. When I went to pick up my current car, after making all of the arrangements, the salesman told me he was very sorry, but due to an oversight, they had put on paint sealant, and fabric protectant. I said, "fine, take it off." He said that was impossible, and that they would have to charge me for it. I said, "fine, take it off." He said he would talk with his sales manager, and see what he could do. Fifteen minutes later he came back and sorrowfully informed me there was nothing they could do, since it was already on the car. I said fine, and got up to leave. He said, "is this a deal breaker?" I just looked at him. He said, "what if we just throw it in?" I said fine.

If you are financing the car, you will speak with the finance man, or "closer" in the trade. He or she will try to sell you insurance, and will probably include paint and fabric protectant and other extras, even if you do not know you are paying for them. Figure out your monthly payment in advance, and ask to see the whole print out, and how he figured out the amount to be financed. Or finance the car through your credit union.

Probably the only car I would buy used is the BMW 3 series. I have owned one of them, and they are great to drive, but maintenance is a headache and expensive, once out of the free period. I would only buy a certified used BMW.
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Post by john94549 »

My wife loves her Mazda Miata. To me, however, it is a tad cramped (as a passenger). Not having a back seat is weird.
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Post by maxinout »

lightheir wrote:Here's a related question:

Assuming that it's actually true that right now, the gap between a lightly used car and a new car has grown much smaller, wouldn't the penalty for buying cars every 3-5 years also shrink a lot?

I am aware that there is always a 'new car tax', but for some, if that penalty has shrunk from $5-7000 to $1-2000, that strongly decreases the argument to buy and drive your car into the ground, and might even strengthen the argument to actually swap your car to a new one before the significant repair years start coming up (I dunno, about 7 years out?)

Just wondering.
It's definitely more favorable than it used to be. You don't take such a big depreciation hit anymore. However, if you're getting a new car every 3-5 years, it's generally going to be cheaper to lease.

Here's an example - Our Toyota, with all taxes & fees, would've cost about $27,000 to purchase brand new cash. After 5 years of average use, it would be worth about $12,500. So you're looking at nearly $3,000 per year to use the car as an owner.

To lease the same exact car, all taxes & fees, is the same $3,000 per year. However, you're going to get a new car after 3 years, always be under warranty and never have to pay for maintenance.

Owning the car for 6-7 years or more is where buying ends up coming out ahead. People that always want a newer car shouldn't be purchasing them.
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Post by prudent »

lightheir wrote:Here's a related question:

Assuming that it's actually true that right now, the gap between a lightly used car and a new car has grown much smaller, wouldn't the penalty for buying cars every 3-5 years also shrink a lot?

I am aware that there is always a 'new car tax', but for some, if that penalty has shrunk from $5-7000 to $1-2000, that strongly decreases the argument to buy and drive your car into the ground, and might even strengthen the argument to actually swap your car to a new one before the significant repair years start coming up (I dunno, about 7 years out?)

Just wondering.
That would be true as long as the gap doesn't widen again. Hard to know what it might be like in 3, 5 or 7 years.
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Post by TRC »

We have our financial house in order, so I like to have nice cars. We buy new and pay cash for them.
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Post by interplanetjanet »

I make a good income, my time per hour is worth a nice amount, but I can't wrap my mind around buying new cars. I tend to buy used, 5-10 year old vehicles that are good deals - I just bought an 8 year old minivan for my family that had been dealer maintained since new. The binder with all service records in chronological order, annotated and indexed was the deal-maker, owners like that give me faith that things were well maintained.

It helps that I have a good amount of mechanical skill, my father, uncle and grandfather were all auto mechanics at one point or another and I absorbed a lot growing up. This helps me to weed out poorly maintained vehicles and do maintenance when needed - I have teenagers who like learning about cars so it's not just wasted time working on them, it's a group learning experience. I figure it this way - I pay 15% or so of what a new vehicle would cost and I expect to get 80-100k miles of use with reasonable maintenance costs, what's not to like?

I do look specifically for vehicles known for low maintenance costs, all of mine have timing chains rather than belts, for example.

-janet
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cheese_breath
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Post by cheese_breath »

TRC wrote:We have our financial house in order, so I like to have nice cars. We buy new and pay cash for them.
I like the idea of paying cash. I do the same, and then make monthly payments to myself so I will have enough to pay cash for the next car.
edge
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Post by edge »

No. I do not buy used cars. If I had money problems I might consider taking the risk.

However, the used car market is a 'lemon' market. Due to information asymmetry (the seller knows more than the buyer) buyers assume the worst about the used car. This causes selling prices to be depressed. As a result of this, sellers with used cars in good condition do not put their car on the market.
FireProof
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Post by FireProof »

edge wrote:No. I do not buy used cars. If I had money problems I might consider taking the risk.

However, the used car market is a 'lemon' market. Due to information asymmetry (the seller knows more than the buyer) buyers assume the worst about the used car. This causes selling prices to be depressed. As a result of this, sellers with used cars in good condition do not put their car on the market.
It's a scary theory, but fortunately we are saved by all the status-chasing, financially witless people who are desperate to get a new car whenever they can "afford" one, so they'll sell the old regardless of condition. Also, condition is reasonably verifiable by a mechanic's inspection and service records, so the asymmetry isn't that terrible.
TheEternalVortex
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Post by TheEternalVortex »

edge wrote:However, the used car market is a 'lemon' market. Due to information asymmetry (the seller knows more than the buyer) buyers assume the worst about the used car. This causes selling prices to be depressed. As a result of this, sellers with used cars in good condition do not put their car on the market.
In practice this isn't really true.
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lightheir
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Post by lightheir »

TheEternalVortex wrote:
edge wrote:However, the used car market is a 'lemon' market. Due to information asymmetry (the seller knows more than the buyer) buyers assume the worst about the used car. This causes selling prices to be depressed. As a result of this, sellers with used cars in good condition do not put their car on the market.
In practice this isn't really true.
I agree. I shopped around for a used car very diligently last year after my 11 year old Honda Civic was totaled in a hit and run and even in car-crazy LA, there was nary a deal to be had.

Used car lots sold for maximum $1000 off list for a $30k car after 1 year. That's a far, far cry from the "20% instant depreciation" that you hear about when you drive a car off the lot. Craigslist cars weren't any better - since the dealers were charging so much, they were charging similar amounts. I was so unimpressed with the whole scene that I concluded it was a better deal to buy a new Prius and drive it as long as possible.

I do wonder this area is one in which the recession economy might be temporarily changing the rules of the game a bit. (Same with money market funds, which now essential yield 0% from the good ol' days of 1-5% - different rules for those too.)
letsgobobby
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Post by letsgobobby »

since used is not much cheaper than new for good quality vehicles that retain their resale value, our next vehicle and our last were both new.

Prior to that I owned a 13 year old 1977 Toyota Corolla driven til the car collapsed on its rusted front springs; a 7 year old 1983 Toyota Corolla driven til it was totaled by a delivery truck; a 4 year old 1993 Honda Accord driven til it had 200k+ miles and the water pump broke and we needed a bigger car for a baby.

Those values don't seem to exist any more, and it is certainly less hassle buying new. If you value your time like most docs, buy new and drive it for many years.

Cheapest of all is to hold on to your old reliable vehicle til it really can't be fixed.
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White Coat Investor
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Post by White Coat Investor »

I buy mine used. But I buy them WELL-USED. The last two cars I drove (as an attending) cost $1850 and $5000. Both perfectly reliable, purchased for cash from individuals. The first I sold 3 1/2 years later for $1500 and the second still blue-books for more than I paid.

Buying a new car and driving it for 10+ years isn't a bad way to buy a car in expensively. But IMHO, it isn't the best way to do it. Many cars are quite reliable for 250K miles and if you buy the right model will give great gas mileage for a long time. Personally, I find buying cars with 100K miles on them to be a good deal. You get 60% of the life out of the car, but only pay 15% of the price.

I doubt most people agree with me though. I do like driving new and newer more than beaters. But I prefer to work less, vacation more, retire earlier and drive a beater instead. My dad drove beaters too. But he raised 6 kids on a single engineer salary, owned an airplane, and retired early. You are not what you drive.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
Yipee-Ki-O
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Post by Yipee-Ki-O »

No. I like to buy new and drive them til they die. I like to know my vehicle hasn't been abused or smoked in. And I like that first few years of nearly repair-free ownership.
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