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Mark Nyuon
Mark Nyuon

Best Age To Buy Used Car

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Best Age To Buy Used Car

As you start your search for a used car, know that mileage can be extremely misleading. Why? Because not all drivers are equal. Consider a traveling sales representative who spends most of his time on the road compared to a lawyer whose commute is only 15 miles from her home. The mileage on each of these vehicles will be drastically different.

The best age for a used car also depends on your needs. For drivers who have a larger budget and are interested in finding a vehicle with more technology and convenience features, the best used cars are three to five years old. Vehicles within this window are usually from the same generation as the latest model and will offer many of the same connectivity, safety, and driver-assist features. These vehicles are also often available as Certified Pre-Owned models that come with extended factory warranties and support.

Drivers often forget about depreciation and repair costs when shopping for a new or used car. While new cars typically have lower repair costs, they depreciate much faster in the first few years on the road. For example, Kelley Blue Book reports that a new car will lose roughly 20 percent of its value in the first year and around 60 percent of its value after five years. That means that a $30,000 car would be worth $24,000 after a year and just $12,000 after five years.

Buyers have a lot to think about when deciding on a used car. It can be tempting to just go buy the cheapest thing you can find. Sometimes, that can be a mistake; those cars are usually cheap for a reason. They often have problems that are expensive to repair.

To help readers weigh the options, we gathered data on depreciation, problems, and repair costs for cars from one to 10 years old and plotted them to try to find the sweet spot for buying a used car. Repairs are the only cost of owning an older car that rises every year. Other costs, from depreciation to insurance and registration, all fall with every year a car ages. The immediate question is: Where do the curves cross? When you start paying more per year in repairs than your car loses in depreciation?

We also consulted, which gathers reliability data on thousands of used cars, and found that modern cars are extremely reliable, even as they get older. Even 10-year-old cars on average have less than one problem per year that needs repair. Fewer than half of 10-year-old cars have a problem with any powertrain system in a given year, which is where more critical and expensive problems are most likely to crop up.

You can find more advice about choosing between new and used cars in this article. Our new car reviews and used car reviews can help you decide which car is right for you. If you'd like to buy new, use our Best Price Program, which can help you find the dealer in your area with the best price. Our financing deals and lease deals can also save you money on a new car. If you'd like to buy used, check out our used car listings.

Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girls Guide to Cars, is in the market for a used car. "I need to buy something for my daughter, who is sophomore in college," she says. "She is living off campus and she needs a car."

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Production disruptions due to the pandemic have led to a car shortage. That has consumers who were shopping for a new car now looking to get the next-best thing, he says, and the demand is driving up prices: "Unfortunately, everyone is looking for used vehicles because there is no replacement for new cars other than used cars."

If, like Reiss, you've been having trouble finding the vehicle you want for the budget you have, you might be considering going with a used car that's a few years older. Here's how old you should go, according to car experts.

Regardless of how many years o


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