Do used car represent a good value for the consumer?

I buy new. I always wonder about a late model used car…I think to myself “now why IS that car on the lot already?”.

“jt” "I went in the other direction, buying GM cars for the most part "…

I don’t see that we are much different. GM and Toyota have partnered for years in building some of their GM cars in Fremont, Calif. on the Same assembly line as the Corolla.

I have owned two Chevy Novas and a Geo Prism, both I refer to as Corolla clones. I got service when I needed it from both GM and Toyota. For me, the line is blurred so much, I try to look at stickers and buy cars MADE in America by predominate American made parts. Also, I have yet to see a worker in a Toyota or GM dealership who was a Japanese national. All were American citizens earning a living off my American made cars…some of which even had GM logos while others had Japanese brand logos.

“same” I agree. Though I purchase used almost exclusively for myself, as I will accept any cheap color, my wife gets the new cars in her " color me beautiful" prescribed matching color. I don’t question it in any way. If she likes the color, she’ll keep the car until it absolutely dies.

“missleman” I absolutely agree. The Pathfinder, Maxima, Altima and other mainstays have been absolutely bulletproof in my personal experience with friends who have owned them. My son has a Rogue for the exact reason you stated. It was used too. So far, so good.

My used altima suffered from the dreaded computer under water disease caused by the AC unit. It took weeks of a rental car to have it fixed under special warranty for “free”. After 8 years I still do not have a check for the rental. I include 18 days of a cheap rental in the 'Free" warranty repair. Was not worth it to me.

"…I think to myself “now why IS that car on the lot already?”

We had the same thoughts about the low mileage Cobalt we just bought. I mentioned my concerns to my 24 year old daughter and she said that a lot of her friends bought a cheap car when the graduated fro college, and then bought a nicer one 2 years later when they could afford it. That made good sense for this car.

Yes this thread is old, but the topic is always fresh:

There are no absolutes, and you need to factor other things, like warranties into the equation.
VW CPO was (is?) a good deal because it added time onto the remaining warranty, plus you could buy an extended warranty. I bought a 2013 CC for 18K (incl. warranty) in 2015, and sold it for 8K in 2020, with zero additional repair costs. $2K per year definitely beat what I could do buying new.

Overgeneralize much? My credit is just fine, and I bought an off-lease used Lexus. Barring someone ramming into me, it’ll last that long and that many miles and more, just like my last car, an off-lease Acura did.

Sure, I could have paid double for a new one, but being as I’m at least semi-financially responsible I chose not to.

(edit: yes, I now realize I was sucked into an undead thread. Mea culpa)

What the person driving the car wants is as important as anything else. If one of the requirements for your next car is that it is brand new, how can you say that a used one is a better value?

A used Honda may be a better value than a used Chevy, unless the Honda seats aren’t as comfortable as the Chevy. Then the Chevy is a better value, even if the price is more.

I’m 51 years old and have never bought a brand new car. My wife has bought 3 brand new cars over the last 25 years. If it were up to me she would trade in for a brand new one every 5-6 years.

Looking at the price of most low mileage used cars today and assuming good credit, I find it hard to justify the small discount from the new car price. Especially considering the depletion of the manufacturer’s warranty and uncertainty of the prior use/current condition.

On the other hand if your want is a “Prestige” vehicle with all the then cutting edge (bleeding edge) technology and bling, it makes a lot of sense to buy used and let the original buyer suffer the steep first year depreciation.

For I prefer to wait a year or two until the new technology has all the bugs worked out, is incorporated into the rest of the product line and then buy a more reasonably priced car new.

Since this discussion started in 2012, I think I have said in other discussions here that over the long haul, I have hardly noticed a difference in cost per mile of a used versus a new car. I’m talking driving cars for 3-500,000 miles. I hate shopping for cars, especially used, so new is a lot easier and less risky. Other people love to shop around for used cars, so have at it. If you buy a new KIA, you can have more trouble than a used Honda, so really it just all depends on the variables, luck, and skill. As Clint said “do you feel lucky today?”

This is true. I have a neighbor who actively seeks out used cars that nobody wants and picks them up dirt cheap, and drives them until they suffer a major mechanical problem. In his driveway currently sits a 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander, a 2012 Ford Focus (DCT), and a 2002 VW Beetle TDI. He’s also had a Suzuki SX4.

This is an old thread, but I am going to give my advice here anyways. For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, used cars are a terrible value right now. Prices have shot up within the past year, and at the low end have doubled or even tripled. An old car which might have sold for $1500 a year ago is selling for over $3k right now, and an old truck which might have sold for $2k a year ago is selling for $5-6k right now. There are no deals to be had.

Chip shortages and Covid shutdowns are 2 very good reasons why NEW cars are in short supply. Lots of posts right here on this site have been discussing this. If you can’t buy a new car, the next best is a 2-3 year old used one. This means the number of buyers is greater than the cars available… Simple “Economics 101” - supply is down, demand is up, so prices go up.

This puts pressure on used cars all the way from 2 year old off-lease cream puffs down to the $1500 rolling wrecks. So they ALL go up in price and they’ll likely stay that way for the foreseeable future for other reasons.

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Bought out a lease and a used car last year, prices have not shown a significant change in our neck of the woods.

I must be on the other side of what lots of folks post here. I have never purchased a used car. My average length of ownership is 12 years, and I do almost all of the repairs and all of the maintenance. My wife’s cycle time is much shorter and her last 3 cars changed out as the loan ended.

Why would I want a used car? I already own a used car.

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Because they are the least expensive way to own one a car. By buying new and owning for 12 years, you are owning the second least expensive car to own


Good for you. But I don’t buy the cheapest beer, and a burger at McDonalds is not a treat for me. I’m sure you get a bargain, but you miss the new car smell, any new tech, new safety features, and usually the manufacturer’s warranty (not that I have ever needed that in 30 years).

If I was going used, I’d go with a car I might love, not just one that will be reliable. If it breaks you can fix it. If you just hate it, you will always hate it.

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I have bought new, leased and bought used. I don’t buy nor keep cars I don’t like, reliable or not. My Corvette wasn’t reliable but I really liked it. I bought it used and didn’t keep it long so it didn’t cost me much. But you asked the question, it isn’t about me.

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To many options! our 03 windstar, minimal repairs lasted 11 years and cost us $218 a month. Wanted a reliable car as wife was on may 250 mile round trip to see her mom quite often Leased a kia optima for $200 a month. Full warranty, no worry about brakes tires or fluids other than oil changes. Own 2 2017 now, one off lease and one purchased a year ago. I do not think there is an answer set in stone.

I haven’t talked to the wife about it but I have been thinking of buying a used car from myself when the time comes to buy a new one. The last one trade in was so low that I am figuring why should I give it to them and then buy a different used car for me to use? I just don’t know if I can trust the previous owner though. As has been claimed he’s a little “quirky”, but he/she/it/ they does change oil every 5000 miles. I would just prefer something smaller though.