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Newer car with more miles OR Older car with fewer miles?

What is better for same price?

  1. Newer car with more miles
  2. Older car with less miles

Assuming they are the same price.

ex.
2007 with 115k miles for 13k
vs
2004 with 90k miles for 13k

I usually like brevity, but you gave us too little information to provide useful answers.

But I’ll guess anyway! The mileage is too close if they are the same car, which would make the 2007 the clear choice. Unless the 2007 was thoroughly thrashed. OTOH, if the 2007 is a Yaris and the 2004 is an Echo, they are way overpriced. But if they are both Corvettes, I’d take the Z06, no matter which one it is.

I would go for the 07, the mileage is not as significant as the years in this situation. imhop

The one with all the maintenance records available to you that prove it’s up to date on all maintenance items

In your specific example I’d pick the newer car. There’s not really that great a difference in miles. In some cases, a higher mileage car may be a better deal, there are some maintenance items that almost certainly would have been done by, say, 150,000 whereas an 80,000 mile car may never have had timing belt, brakes, fluids, etc. But many people don’t think that way and run away from a car with over 100,000 miles.

I’m a mechanic and repair and maintain cars myself. Last car I bought was 3 years old and had 114,000 miles. Car lot couldn’t sell it, so I got a 3 year old Lincoln for $10,000.

My dad was like that. He thought that a car approaching 100k miles was beyond hope. The only one that he ever kept with high miles was a 78 Chevy Capric full size station wagon that had been retired as a family vehicle and relegated to making trips to his lake property while ferrying garden supplies and so on.

That car had about 410k miles on it when my mom got rid of it. The motor and transmission had never been touched and the most amazing thing of all to me was that the carburetor had never been overhauled.
A few water pumps, a fuel pump, brakes, and a failed A/C hose is about it.

Ok, let’s adjust the problem:

2007 with 115k miles for 13k
vs
2004 with 70k miles for 13k

I’d take the 2004 in that case; all maintenance roughly equal.

It definitely depends on the cars involved. For instance, if the 2007 car was a 4-cylinder “commuter” car with all those miles on it, I would definitely stay away from that one, because of the accelerated wear-and-tear, you may find yourself paying for a lot of repairs, starting with brakes, tires, timing belt/water pump/tensioner, transmission and clutch, O2 sensors (especially on California Cars, which seem to have a shelf-life of 100-120k miles). If the 2004 car was a 4-cylinder car, $13,000 may be too high a price, despite the fact that the miles appear low (however, I’d still check the CarFAX report on the car to see if the odometer was rolled back at some point in its life).

Aside from luxury cars these days, I would find it a little hard to believe that any 5-year-old car with 115k miles on it would be worth $13k. The same for the older 2004 car with 70, miles.

Test drive each and pick the one you like.

I’m not adverse to high miles on a “newer” car, say 3 model years old. In most cases these high miles were racked up by sales people and were highway miles. I’d like to see documents showing regular oil changes.

I drove nicely equipped company cars about 30K miles per year over 25 years. These cars were always in great shape when they were “turned over” for the next car, usually with about 60K miles.

With good service records I’d consider a newer high miles car. I think the sweet spot is around 55K to 70K miles for a 2 to 3 year old car. The biggest depreciation hit is behind you, and the high miles knock a few grand more off the price.

Once you get up over 90K miles I’d expect more repairs. I’d not be too interested in a car with 115K on it. A car with that kind of miles is likely 5 to 6 years old as well. Perhaps a good buy, but expect and budget for some significant repair bills at this point in car’s life.

2007 with 115k miles for 13k
vs
2004 with 70k miles for 13k

Without knowing specific year, make, model, I’d still take the 2007, especially if service records are available showing mahor maintenance has been done. If you live anywhere where rust is an issue, you’ve also got a 3 year head start against rust issues.

Once you get up over 90K miles I’d expect more repairs. I’d not be too interested in a car with 115K on it. A car with that kind of miles is likely 5 to 6 years old as well. Perhaps a good buy, but expect and budget for some significant repair bills at this point in car’s life

Right, but with older cars they become so cheap that you have a massive buffer for repairs. For example, a 2003 BMW for $8000 and 100k. You are still effectively driving a $35,000 car and have a huge budget for repairs (upwards of $20,000 for repairs)

This question has come up previously. It is not answerable and Mr. Meehan, in my view, has it right. There are too many known and unknown variables including personal preferences. If you can’t decide, then buy new, not someone else’s castoff.

Depends on who has driven the cars and how / where they have been driven (highway vs short town journeys) . assuming there are no safety or fuel economy advances that render the new one a no-brainer.

I can remember having the same Diesel car as all my colleagues (fleet cars)… A colleague borrowed my car to go to lunch as his was blocked in. He came back and asked how I had got a petrol car when the fleeet was diesel.

I ran my car in and insisted on earlier servicing and drive it gently… His sounded like a dumper truck. Both were just over a year old.

Some people are just horrible to cars

Newer car is better and safer to drive, older with fewer miles may give you more reliable long term service…so you have to ask yourself. Do you feel lucky ? I wouldn’t pay $ 13k for a car with at least 90k miles to begin with. Get a compact with fewer miles. Now if you are going to keep adjusting the question, get the 2004 with no miles and no rust. The most important factor may be body condition. So even a 2004 with 70k miles (now) with rust is useless.

And… A Corolla with 115k miles may have more life then a Fiat with 40k miles. Way too many other variables.

I have a similar question. I’m trying to decide if I should buy a 2006 Toyota corolla with 11,200 miles, or 2010 Toyota corolla with about 52,000 miles. Asking price is the exact same, $12,000. As far as looks, the 2010 is a better looking car with more “bells and whistles”. However, the 06 is in EXCELLENT condition and I like that it has VERY few miles on it. Any advice?

@beccaboo527, start a new thread and you will get more responses.

The 2006 is grossly overpriced, even if it is a loaded LE. The 2010 may be priced about right. It depends on the trim level, options, and whether the seller is a dealer or private party.

I felt that the 06 was overpriced too. But then the dealer offered me the Kelly blue book value which stated the car was priced under the retail asking value. I was disappointed because it was only $300 under, so I still felt it was steep, especially when carmax claims to have 0% wiggle room on price negotiation (no hassle , no haggle policy). So yeah, I agree. The price is steep.