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Old 09-05-2013, 01:44 PM
24 posts, read 90,628 times
Reputation: 18


To the idea that the cheapest way of owning a car is to buy a new or a few years-old small car rather than 10-year or more old car, what are your thoughts?

I was thinking just because a car is 10+ years old doesn't mean it needs a ton of fixing, and even with the fixing it might be cheaper than owning a new car or few year old used car.

I've heard that you should always buy a used car instead of a new car..

But new cars are very expensive so buy a few years old car. Would buying a few years old small car (financed) be the best way or would buying a really old small car be the best way to save money on car?

How much can you expect to pay for car insurance when you buy a 90s used car?

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Old 09-05-2013, 02:08 PM
Location: NY
9,105 posts, read 15,477,743 times
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There is no one set answer. The cost to own a car includes the initial investment (purchase price), operating costs (gas, insurance, tires, etc), repair and maintenance costs, etc.

Theoretically, if the operating and repair costs are equal, then the less you need to spend to buy the car, the cheaper it is overall.

Of course, you could factor in resale too. If you plan to sell the car in a certain amount of time, it's projected future value can also really impact costs.

Chances are, a great condition 90's car would be cheaper overall than a fairly recent car. That said, any used car can be a risk for hidden or unknown problems, and an older car even with lower miles could be developing less than obvious problems.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:11 PM
Location: Ft. Myers
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The answer to that question is "How much mechanical work can you do yourself ? " If you have an older car and rely on a shop to do everything, it might not be such a good value for you, but if you can do at least minor repairs yourself, you probably will come out better than owning a new car.

My Sons have the philosophy that a car is going to cost you so much a year to own, regardless of if it is new or used, so they buy new cars and don't mind the payments. Me, I HATE car payments, so I drive older cars but ,since I am pretty good mechanically, I can keep them alive myself. I haven't had a car payment since about 1986 and don't ever want one again.

The other upside to an older car is that you don't need to carry as much or any insurance on the car itself, just on the other guy. That saves some money, but you are gambling that if it is totaled or wrecked that you might have to pay for it yourself.

Just last night at the auction a beautiful 95 Olds 88 went through and it only had 70 some thousand miles on it. It sold for $ 1400, and even with a dealer making $600 profit it will still end up being around $ 2000. That car will probably last another 10 years with care, and save the owner a lot of money in that time.

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Old 09-05-2013, 02:21 PM
Location: Prosper
6,257 posts, read 13,327,315 times
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Depends on the car. A lot of old cars from the 90's, I wouldn't bother with. But, I find that if you're shopping for some higher end cars, used ones can be an exceptional value for the money.

Most of the people who buy these types of cars new don't put very many miles on them, they aren't the primary car in the family, and they are taken care of very well. You can find some great deals on luxury and sports cars that are just a few years old.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:52 PM
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When you write "cheap", you're only referring to money now, right? Why, because there are other costs such as your health, reliable transportation, utility.

I wouldn't buy a ten year old car. Newer heavier cars are generally safer with newer safety technologies.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:18 PM
Location: MD's Eastern Shore
2,354 posts, read 3,134,585 times
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Monetary wise, an older car should be cheaper then a newer one. However, how much is reliability worth? True, you can get an older car that does not need any work and has thousands of reliable miles left on it, but there are many that may need some work, especially cheap ones. Though not major work, a dead battery this week, a starter going up next month, perhaps the coil a month later and then needing a major tune up. Those are all things that are not that much if you do them yourself but did it cost you getting to work a day or 2? Perhaps not being able to take that trip you were planning? Those are the reasons I bought new, you can't beat the reliability of a newer car. However, you will pay more for it.

Years ago, I was constantly driving some kind of beater. I made some long drives but occasionally still broke down. I remember my first car when still in high school. A 77 jeep cherokee. My morning routine before school and in the afternoon going to work would be to get in the truck and start it. If it started I'd drive, unless it stalled at the corner intersection in which I'd push it back in front of the house and walk to school/work. Following cars were better but still needed a lot of maintenance. Yes, they were all cheaper to own then something newer but the headaches made it a pain. I couldn't imagine having that as my only driver in this stage in life where schedules and work need to be made so I can pay my mortgage.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:26 PM
Location: Ft. Myers
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That is a very important point. As cars age, regardless of the mileage, dependability does tend to decline somewhat.......parts just wear out from time and use. If it is your only means of transportation that might create a problem, bosses hate to hear "My car broke down again !" It also makes you think twice about long trips because the car might break down 500 miles from home, stranding you and leaving you at the mercy of some shop in that area.

But for limited mileage and if you can fall back on a second car, a good used car can be a great value.

Funny story. I knew a guy in the 50's and 60's who would call up the local auto wrecking yard and ask what decent cars they had on hand that day. ( That was when people would scrap a good running car just because they got tired of it.) The wrecking yard would tow some car to his house and he would buy it, and they would take back the one he had bought from them before because it had died. He kept up this cycle for as long as I knew him. He would sometimes ride to the yard in the wrecker that picked up his dead one and would drive home in a new one.

Times were much more simple back then.

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Old 09-05-2013, 03:31 PM
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If you really want to stretch your dollar, 90's Camry's and Accords are the way to go. The Hispanic gardener of my condo was telling me that they're the most popular vehicles among working class Latinos in SoCal because they're cheap, reliable & easy to fix. In fact they're so in-demand that in certain ghetto barrios you actually have to disable the battery & put on an old-fashioned Club to prevent ppl from stealing your car at night.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:09 PM
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Early to late 90s made in Japan cars, hands down. Camrys, Civics, Maximas, Altimas. Not Accords, those were not so good. Mitsubishes.
Trick is to find low mileage one.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:02 PM
Location: Here
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Speaking for someone that can do all work on the car, it is cheaper to own and daily drive an older car.

Making older cars your hobby can be expensive though
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