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

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

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Discussion

E38Ross

27,513 posts

179 months

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

  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
  • Cars lose half their value every 3 years
3 years is a good time to buy. Save half the money; get 2/3rds of the life!!
10 years and 100,000 miles? Guess my M5 is dead then as it's 11 years old and has done over 160,000.
Yup, my mates 21 year old 535i with 240k on the clock is also dead, despite being in daily use.

matthias73

2,868 posts

117 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
I've got a question regarding mileage.

Would you regard a 10 year old car with 30 thousand miles to be a bit suspect. I'm talking a family saloon or coupe here, so not a sports car.

Would I be better off looking at cars that seemed to do a decent mileage each year, rather than driven to morrisons 4 times a week with no propper time to warm up?

I ask this, because I'l probably need to get a new car or spend money on the current one within this year, and I'd rather not spend money on a car that has been battered so badly on the outside. (before I got staff parking, I had to park in a public carpark)

kambites

61,789 posts

188 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
You just check very different things on a low mileage older car to a high mileage newer one, because different things will have worn. I wouldn't call it "suspect" as such, but I'd be worried about it having been run cold for almost all of those miles so would check for the kinds of faults that that would cause.

sparkyhx

3,750 posts

171 months

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

  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
Your having a laugh right?

If not then - you keep thinking that and we can have all the bargains.

I run 2 cars
Car 1 150k 11 years old - had it three years and changed a bulb
Car 2 100k 16 years old - had it 8 years - 1 x Coil Pack, power steering pipe - This car is modified to give 300bhpish instead of 200 standard, with no engine mods and is systematically abused every time I drive it, either on a 'run out' or on track. Sits in a garage probably 1-2 months at a time without use and still starts every time first time.

fellow Car 2 owner with similar setup but is a daily driver as well has just rolled over 200k






Edited by sparkyhx on Thursday 26th April 19:13

otherman

2,058 posts

132 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
otolith said:
Ozzie Osmond said:
Rough rules of thumb,
  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
rofl
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.
The 100k thing was true of Austin Allegros, but things have moved on a long way. My last three cars have gone to 200k and the last one sold for £1000 with those miles on because everything still worked.
The reason you don't see so many cars over 10 years old is the most people simply don't want them and they get scrapped - even perfectly servicable ones. Back in the 80s this never happened, any running car with an mot was saleable.

Zigster

1,533 posts

111 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
I like the Trigger's Broom analogy. For me, a car will usually last much longer than 10 years/100k but they generally need a lot more maintenance past that age - great if you don't mind tinkering and fixing things; not so good if you haven't got the time or enthusiasm and don't want to pay your local independent garage lots of money each year.

Either get quite a new car with a warranty (especially if it's a premium model where repairs are expensive) or go for a 5 year old car (especially if it's quite a basic car where there isn't all the electronic gadgetry to go tits up).

kambites

61,789 posts

188 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
otherman said:
The 100k thing was true of Austin Allegros, but things have moved on a long way. My last three cars have gone to 200k and the last one sold for £1000 with those miles on because everything still worked.
The reason you don't see so many cars over 10 years old is the most people simply don't want them and they get scrapped - even perfectly servicable ones. Back in the 80s this never happened, any running car with an mot was saleable.
No-one made any comment on why there aren't many older cars on the road. Just that there aren't.

fozzymandeus

832 posts

113 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites said:
otherman said:
The 100k thing was true of Austin Allegros, but things have moved on a long way. My last three cars have gone to 200k and the last one sold for £1000 with those miles on because everything still worked.
The reason you don't see so many cars over 10 years old is the most people simply don't want them and they get scrapped - even perfectly servicable ones. Back in the 80s this never happened, any running car with an mot was saleable.
No-one made any comment on why there aren't many older cars on the road. Just that there aren't.
Availability and social acceptability of car finance and loans.

My dad never once in his life bought a car on the tick. It has become much, much more widespread to do just that in the last 20 years, and now we are at the point where a lot of people consider a car finance repayment as part of their fixed outgoings.

otolith

45,078 posts

171 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
fozzymandeus said:
Availability and social acceptability of car finance and loans.

My dad never once in his life bought a car on the tick. It has become much, much more widespread to do just that in the last 20 years, and now we are at the point where a lot of people consider a car finance repayment as part of their fixed outgoings.
That's not sufficient to explain it though - if people considered the same payment into a savings account part of their fixed outgoings they would have even more money to spend on cars.

fozzymandeus

832 posts

113 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
otolith said:
fozzymandeus said:
Availability and social acceptability of car finance and loans.

My dad never once in his life bought a car on the tick. It has become much, much more widespread to do just that in the last 20 years, and now we are at the point where a lot of people consider a car finance repayment as part of their fixed outgoings.
That's not sufficient to explain it though - if people considered the same payment into a savings account part of their fixed outgoings they would have even more money to spend on cars.
That's a logical point, but the psychology of spending your savings on a new and disposable car every three years doesn't add up. It's easier to spend money from a bank because it doesn't feel like it's your hard graft that's worked to amass the funds.

Think: "I work hard, I deserve a new car."

A) Off to the bank for a shiny new car on a 3 year finance plan.
B) Drive the current car for three years and save.

If route B is followed, you have a chance to view your decision more objectively and you'll probably ask yourself: "Why do I need a new car? Mine works OK, I'll wait another year or three", and it becomes a 6 year gap and you spend three years driving an older car. Aggregate this type of thinking across a nation and you have a nation of older cars (and all kinds of other secondary impacts on the used car market as a result).

Ari

Original Poster:

16,631 posts

182 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
fozzymandeus said:
Availability and social acceptability of car finance and loans.

My dad never once in his life bought a car on the tick. It has become much, much more widespread to do just that in the last 20 years, and now we are at the point where a lot of people consider a car finance repayment as part of their fixed outgoings.
Agree with that. There's a growing band of people that effectively just hire cars on a permanent basis, they never ever own them.

Alfanatic

9,276 posts

186 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
kambites 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?
13 years sounds about right for my locale. Mk3 golfs are starting to become quite rare here now, mk4s still relatively common, and that would be roughly straddling the 13 year mark.

And yes, at 130k many cars from the last ten years may still be reliable, but many will start needing minor bits replacing by then. Coil packs, senders, brittle hoses, all that kind of stuff. Enough to make someone without a bit of grease under their fingernails want to get rid, and the car will be worthless, so it's scrap. It's only the interesting cars, more likely to be found in the hands of PHers, that will get past this number and still be considered worth keeping. A 130k Mk 3 golf that has just a minor breakdown or reliability wobble once every six months is probably going to run out of friends awfully quickly.

Certainly my 16v wasn't interesting enough to keep me on its side as soon as its reliability stopped being absolutely flawless.

Vince70

1,930 posts

161 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
My a4 is 17 years old and still runs well, my father has an 18 year old a6 which still drives like new, it does seem criminal
How people just throw away decent motors. My theory is if an old reliable car costs me less than £500 to get through a ticket I keep it as better the devil you know.

Ozzie Osmond

21,189 posts

213 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
E38Ross said:
nonuts said:
Ozzie Osmond said:
Rough rules of thumb,

  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
  • Cars lose half their value every 3 years
3 years is a good time to buy. Save half the money; get 2/3rds of the life!!
10 years and 100,000 miles? Guess my M5 is dead then as it's 11 years old and has done over 160,000.
Yup, my mates 21 year old 535i with 240k on the clock is also dead, despite being in daily use.
My word there's some stupid people in this thread.....

Ozzie Osmond

21,189 posts

213 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
.... which bit of "rough rules of thumb" are you finding hard to understand?

are you saying cars don't lose half their value in the first 3 years?

are you saying all cars run trouble-free to 100,000 and beyond with nothing but fluids?

E38Ross

27,513 posts

179 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Ozzie Osmond said:
.... which bit of "rough rules of thumb" are you finding hard to understand?

are you saying all cars run trouble-free to 100,000 and beyond with nothing but fluids?
i'm saying cars with under 100k can be more trouble-some than cars with well over 100k miles.

most cars these days well maintained will go well past 100k; to suggest they generally only last 10yrs/100k is crap.

i see LOADS of cars pre "02-plate" cars every day.

sparkyhx

3,750 posts

171 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
otolith said:
So if I read that correctly
- 28% of cars all cars on the road are 10 years and older on the road
- there are more 10 year old cars (2001) still on the road than there are 2011 2010 and 2009 cars

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.
Thats a bit more than 1 in 50

Edited by sparkyhx on Thursday 26th April 21:34

Mouse1903

821 posts

120 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
I always thought it was 12 years / 120k miles for the average car. A magazine I read last year seemed to think just over 13 years was the average age before a car is scrapped

Tunku

7,700 posts

195 months

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

  • Cars last 10 years and 100,000 miles
You've just described a recently run in Volvo there!

nonuts

15,855 posts

196 months

Thursday 26th April 2012
quotequote all
Ozzie Osmond said:
My word there's some stupid people in this thread.....
bowtie

Ozzie Osmond said:
.... which bit of "rough rules of thumb" are you finding hard to understand?

are you saying cars don't lose half their value in the first 3 years?

are you saying all cars run trouble-free to 100,000 and beyond with nothing but fluids?
People's experiences differ, for me, the newest lowest mileage car was the one that to date has been the most trouble so my views about all of this are tinted.