My advice when buying a car is to go for one of the following strategies:
- Buy something that is new enough to have a warranty (either the original factory warranty, or the manufacturer’s Certified Pre-Owned warranty) and has low enough miles that no maintenance was needed other than oil changes. This, of course, specifically excludes any third-party “extended warranty” or “service plan” or similar pseudo-insurance backed by any entity other than the manufacturer itself. Anything this recent, and with such low miles is going to be expensive, and will necessitate a monthly loan payment for most people.
- Buy an inexpensive older car, which obviously won’t have a warranty, but it also won’t have a monthly loan payment either.
Personally, I prefer strategy #2. I live in southern Arizona, so cars don’t rust. Therefore, a 15-20 year old car for $1500-2500 is a good buy, and even with maintenance and repairs is a bargain compared to a monthly payment and full-coverage insurance on a financed vehicle.
However, buying this 8 year old Hyundai with 78,000 miles doesn’t conform to either of these strategies. It’s too old to have any manufacturer’s warranty (remember that the 10-year 100,000 powertrain warranty is available only to the original owner) and it’s way to expensive to be considered a disposable car if major repairs are needed. If you’re comfortable spending $6k, then I’d spend 2-3k more and get a newer car with much less miles. Conversely, if you’re comfortable buying something with 78,000 miles, I’d get a much older and cheaper car.