What's the "sweet spot" age/mileage for a used car purchase?

What's the "sweet spot" age/mileage for a used car purchase?

Author
Discussion

BigTom85

1,908 posts

139 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
I agree, any car will last 10yrs/100k on nothing but fuel and neglect. A well cared for modern car will last as long as you want it too...

Sod mileage, condition is what matters. I've had cars close to 200k that I've got rid of because I was bored, not because they were worn out...

Ari

Original Poster:

16,686 posts

183 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
longblackcoat said:
There's no absolutes - depends how many miles you do, how wedded you are to a warranty, how often you change your cars etc.

For me, however, a 70,000 mile ex-fleet car which is two years old is ideal. It's got lots of miles, all of which will have been motorway, it'll have probably only ever had one person in it, the servicing will have been done on time (the lease company will give you a printout), and it still has some warranty. The high mileage will have driven the price down, but there'll be no rust or anything like that. Buy it, run it for three years and 40k, and you'll still get a fair amount back for it so long as you buy something sensible to start with. High-mileage diesel Mondeo/Passat estates shift very easily; a Micra with the same mileage will not.
There's a lot of logic in that.

8Ace

2,580 posts

166 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
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Ozzie Osmond said:
Rough rules of thumb,

  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
Do they fk.

Actually, if this is true it means I'm in a zombie car.

I quite like the idea of that. It's already green.


chris182

3,980 posts

121 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Ozzie Osmond said:
Rough rules of thumb,

  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
Well I have a car with which is 24 years old with 120k on the clock and everything on it still works perfectly, so I beg to differ.

Some sensible points raised, there is no universal 'sweet spot', it very much depends on what you're buying and what your priorities are.

kambites

61,817 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Do half of PH really not understand what a "rule of thumb" is?

hairykrishna

11,386 posts

171 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
Do half of PH really not understand what a "rule of thumb" is?
Rule of thumb suggests that it's generally applicable. I suggest the rule that a car is more or less buggered after 100k hasn't been generally applicable for a long time.

Johnboy Mac

2,666 posts

146 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
Do half of PH really not understand what a "rule of thumb" is?
They sure don't or 'rough rule of thumb' for that matter. And, not a bad rule either, especially when there's actually no rules.

Willy Nilly

12,511 posts

135 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
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kambites said:
Do half of PH really not understand what a "rule of thumb" is?
it appears not.

I don't buy cars often enough to give a decent answer, but for me....

Pay a premium from a main dealer for a 3-4 year old car with 20-30k. The biggest hit of depreciation has happened, but the car is pretty much as new. Maintain well, run into the ground and repeat. I'm getting toward the repeat part of the cycle.

kambites

61,817 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
hairykrishna said:
kambites said:
Do half of PH really not understand what a "rule of thumb" is?
Rule of thumb suggests that it's generally applicable. I suggest the rule that a car is more or less buggered after 100k hasn't been generally applicable for a long time.
Next time you're out driving, count what proportion of cars you see are on the old numberplate system. That's about 10 years old now which equates to roughly 100k miles for the average car. 'round here, it's 1/50, if that.

Jw Vw

4,681 posts

131 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
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BigTom85 said:
Sod mileage, condition is what matters
This.

Always buy a car on condition, good service history, mileage is not as important to me as this.

otolith

45,100 posts

172 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
Out of interest, what do you think the average life expectancy of a new car bought today is, in both mileage and age terms? I'd have said under ten years, looking at the average age of cars on the road around here.
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/veh0211...

According to the DFT statistics, in 2011 the average age of a car in the UK was 7.5 years and a little over 21% of the cars on the road were ten or more years old. The number of cars first registered in 2001 declined by 20.9% by 2011 - 79.1% of 2001 cars were still on the road.

Of course, there will be regional variations, I suspect that if you live in a more prosperous part of the country you will see a disproportionate representation of newer cars.

(link corrected)




Edited by otolith on Thursday 26th April 18:17

hairykrishna

11,386 posts

171 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
Next time you're out driving, count what proportion of cars you see are on the old numberplate system. That's about 10 years old now which equates to roughly 100k miles for the average car. 'round here, it's 1/50, if that.
I think your 1/50 is probably off by a factor of ten for here (Birmingham). I will count next time I'm out for a drive though.

kambites

61,817 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
hairykrishna said:
kambites said:
Next time you're out driving, count what proportion of cars you see are on the old numberplate system. That's about 10 years old now which equates to roughly 100k miles for the average car. 'round here, it's 1/50, if that.
I think your 1/50 is probably off by a factor of ten for here (Birmingham). I will count next time I'm out for a drive though.
Admittedly I do live in a very middle class suburb, so it's probably not very representative of the country as a whole. There are more cars on the numberplate system before last (LLL NNN L), than the last one (L NNN LLL).

kambites

61,817 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
otolith said:
Interesting, so from a brief glance it looks like it's actually at about 13 years old that they really tail off. Average age is about seven or eight years.

I'm genuinely surprised about that. Obviously this area is even more skewed towards newer cars than I'd appreciated.


So lets amend that rule of thumb to 13 years and 130k miles?

Tonsko

6,299 posts

183 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
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Why is it that 100K is still a sticking point in people's minds?

slipstream 1985

8,844 posts

147 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Johnboy Mac said:
kambites said:
Do half of PH really not understand what a "rule of thumb" is?
They sure don't or 'rough rule of thumb' for that matter. And, not a bad rule either, especially when there's actually no rules.
a the old make a rough general statement that someone counters with 1 set of circumstances totaly outside the parameters as their argument as to why you are wrong. it only happens online and and im yet to find a term for it....

kambites

61,817 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Tonsko said:
Why is it that 100K is still a sticking point in people's minds?
I wonder what the number is in countries that work in km?

bestinshow

462 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
I used to buy at 3 years old and sell at 5 years old ( approx 30k miles to 55-60 thousand miles ) as for a time that seemed to be the best way to drive something half decent whilst not suffering too badly on depreciation. Maybe it's me, but I think about 5 years ago it all changed, and the 3 year old cars were still strong money but the 5 year old with 60k wasn't worth that much. Maybe I was buying the wrong stuff ( last one was an A4 Avant )

I therefore changed strategy and bought at 1 year old, 10k miles, and I'll run it to 8 years, 100k, which hopefully will end up as cheap motoring. Having said that, I don't think there are hard and fast rules here.

otolith

45,100 posts

172 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
So lets amend that rule of thumb to 13 years and 130k miles?
I think there is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on there, in that cars get scrapped when they are beyond economic repair, which depends on how much they are worth, which depends on how long they are perceived to last. If we all thought that the lifespan of a car was 20 years and 250k, that's likely what it would be!

kambites

61,817 posts

189 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Of course. Cars could keep going forever if you were willing to spend enough money on them, although you would end up with something of a Trigger's broom. I tend to jut keep cars until I think it's cheaper for me to replace it than keep it on the road, but that itself is of course dependent on second hand values which are purely a matter of supply and demand.