Buying a used car with 106k miles

My transmission went on my minivan. I saw a cadillac srx with 106k on in for 10,500 on it. I travel 7500 miles per year. Should I buy a car with over 100k?

The SRX has a pretty poor reliability record on Consumer Reports (most years are ‘much worse than average’), so it’s hard for me to recommend it. But buying a car with over 100k is OK if you get one in good shape, and have it inspected BEFORE you buy.

+1 to Texases comments.

I’d suggest picking up a Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers’ Guide at the local bookstore. It’s reliability ratings provide valuable data. But any used car should be checked over by your trusted mechanic before buying.

Well said. IF you are retired and can budget for $2000 per year in maintenance and repairs, and IF the car checks out well with a mechanic, and you REALLY like it, buy it.

Otherwise, run away; this vehicle will likely tax you patience and I would not recommend it for a long vacation trip.

Another vote for good reading material…CR.

My Opinion, I Wouldn’t Put Too Much Stock In Car Survey Ratings. The Difference Between Much Above Average Reliabilty Vehicles And Vehicles That Rate Below Average Is Very Slight. The Magazines Are Designed To Magnify The Differences To Sell Magazines.

The usefulness of the surveys becomes even more meaningless for used cars, especially ones that have been driven for a hundred thousand miles. Specific vehicle condition is the most important factor.

I would have any used car checked out by a competent mechanic if you don’t trust yourself.
Research the particular make/model/model-year/engine for know weak spots. I have even checked with technicians who have experience working on that particular car.

I have purchsed many new cars, slighty used cars, and many cars with over 100,000 miles (American cars) and have never bought a bad one, even when popular magazines have rated them as below par, but I do my homework.


You are having trouble deciding to spend 10k on a car with probable trouble or 2k for a trans rebuild that should last a few years. Granted you will probably have other repairs, but that hold true for either car. I think if you are happy with the van do the trans rebuild for now, pending what van is it?

OTOH, Identifix says that unless it is a 2008 (I seriously doublt it), there are no seriouls problems with the SRX. The 2008 has an occasional timing chain failure.

What year is it, what trim level, and what options? Without that information, it is difficult to provide a decent optinion. If the price is reasonable, you still need to get it inspected by a trusted mechanic to see if there are any problems. This car is old enough (about 2006) that the way it was maintained is more important than anything else. It very well might have many years left in it. Even if you keep it 10 more years, it will barely break 180,000 miles.

There are a lot of good used cars for $10,500, but an SRX with 106,000 miles is not one of them. Look for a Hyundai Sonata or something similar.

Car surveys are just that and nothing more. When derived from real drivers and utilizing thousands of samples over years of comparison, and most importantly, done by non profits who accept no advertising, they have validity. Everything is obviously taken in context and these surveys by CR should be view no differently.

The alternative of disregarding them is filled with potential pitfalls. A few individual opinions, no matter how well intended is too small a sample size and those derived from profit maker support is way too bias. The argument against surveys for cars is an argument against surveys in general. Surveys have a valid place when done scientifically and with minimal bias in forming opinions necessary to make the second biggest purchase you may ever make.

Those who disregard legitimate surveys, do so at greater risk of making a poor purchase. With regard to CR, the criticism will always be there when one buys a product not recommended by CR and still maintains their purchase was good for them. And that’s fine. They just happen to be among the fewer winners at a gambling table which a genuine survey says will happen.

Soecifically @CSA
When you say the differences are small as a chance that something might go wrong in one particular year from one model to another, you are absolutely right. But, what we have to remember is that the accumulative differences that something might happen in one year OR another, is the SUM of those small differences. As each year passes, the chance that you will have at least one failure in one area adds up significantly. That is where the surveys become meaningful. Collectively, the dot chart as explained by CR, is in general agreement with their opinions of cars over time and the manufacturers who make them. That makes the survey more useful and valid over time and how the single dot at the bottom of each each year is evaluated as a sum of probabilities in each category comparing one car to another. Their differences there, are significant.

I think that CR reports their findings honestly. I have a problem with their labels. Over time they have compressed the results. The difference from top to bottom is just 5%. That is, if at least 5% of the population reports a problem in one of CRs categories, it is rated lowest (significantly worse than average). But that still means up to 95% of the remaining owners don’t have that problem. I understand that they would have to stop publication if they said that 95% success is excellent. It doesn’t seem right that this type of reporting leads to the extremely high Toyota and Honda used car prices. While I do look at CR ratings, I also use others to gauge a car’s reliability.

The OP didn’t give the year and miles on the mini van. And also didn’t give the year of the SRX with 106K miles. So, not much info to give a good answer. 106K miles doesn’t scare me if the car is about 4 years old. That makes it a high mileage car likely driven mostly on highways which are relatively easy miles.

Buying any car with 106K miles means more breakdowns, problems, and maintenance than a new car. Often people buy a used car and seem to expect it to be as trouble free as a new car. A car purchased with 106K miles could need some major stuff before it gets to 200K miles. At 7,500 miles a year 200K miles is still about 10 years away. I’d go for it if the price is right and the car passes a mechanical pre-sale inspection by a mechanic of the buyer’s choice.

@jtsanders “5% of the population reports a problem” could be several thousand people, depending on how many of the cars were sold.

If you’re one of the 5%, it’s not going to make you feel better to know that the other 95% are happy.

As far as Toyota and Honda use car prices . . .

Good if you’re selling.

Bad if you’re buying.

“could be several thousand people”

It doesn’t matter. If 95% don’t exhibit the problem, the model is still a very good bet to perform well. The difference between much worse than average and much better than average is 4% (95% --> 99% no problem).

That 5% number may apply to individual problems, but not to the total problems for a car. MUCH more than 5% for all cars, with Honda/Toyota at about half the others:

Jt, I Agree. That’s Why I Don’t Take The Reliability Ratings By Survey Takers To Be Worth Anything, Much. It Is An Ingenious Way To Get Attention And Subscribers (And Ask For Postage And Donations To Cover It !).

Many People Look At The Surveys And Think It Really Points Out Reliable Cars And Problematic Cars. Unfortunately, It Probably Causes Some Folks To Pass Up Some Of The Best Cars Available And Possibly To Buy Cars That Uncomfortable, Noisy, Etcetera.

Talk is cheap, but I’ve bought too many cars during the last half century to name. After having looked at the surveys and compared them to my own cars I generally find no correlation. Therefore, how is the information useful to me ?

Like you, I use multiple sources for doing some investigation before purchase. It has never failed me.

Here’s another thing. If some of these cars that have high ratings are so reliable then why do they not come with a good warranty ? (The answer isn’t that one isn’t needed.) The cars I purchase often have nearly twice the warranty coverage as some leading sellers. I may never need it, but it’s good to know I’ve got it, helps with used car purchases, and enhances resale in some instances.

I do like the actual hands-on evaluations of new cars. They sometimes point out issues concerning shoulder/leg room, control features or trunk access, etcetera, that one should take a look at.

I prefer to use information on household products that are actually tested. I’ve found it useful over the years.

My favorite part of the publication is actually the page inside the back cover of each issue. That’s where I turn first when a new issue arrives.


“That 5% number may apply to individual problems”

@Texases, that is the correct context. I don’t buy used cars often; normally they are new. As a new car, everything is on the list since I’m buying family or compact sedans (no Minis, Jauars, or Rovers). I bought a Regal in 1998, a Silhouette in 2003, and a Cobalt in 2009 and haven’t come close to paying the price differential in repairs when compared to comparable Honda or Toyota models. Oh, and my 2005 Accord is superb in reliability, too.