Used car advice - Miles or Years

I’m considering purchasing a AWD Sienna minivan and am evaluating two choices and wanted to get folks advice on which to pursue. Car1 is a 2005 with 45K miles. Car2 is a 2007 with 88K miles. Otherwise they are basically the same and priced the same.

So … which would be the better choice fewer years (car2) or fewer miles (car1)?

Thanks for the help


Low miles indicate that it may have been driven on short trips and thus the engine wasn’t warmed up properly at times.

I would seriously bargain hard on the 05.

Also keep in mind low miles doesn’t mean squat if the maintenance hasn’t been done.

I wouldn’t consider either of them unless there is at least a reasonably complete maintenance history to look at.

So to answer your question, it just depends on maintenance history and the price. The point is low miles alone isn’t necessarily a significant advantage.

Be sure to have a professional evaluate the one you decide on, before you buy it. Hope that helps.

I generally say younger is better in a situation like this. I’m usually somewhat suspicious of a car with unusually few miles (7.5k per year for the '05)-- usually this means either lots of short trips or long periods of disuse, neither of which are particularly good for a car. This is especially true since people rarely actually follow the time-dependent maintenance schedule on low mileage vehicles.

On the other hand, though, if you do drive a lot of miles and usually wear out a car from miles rather than age (or plan on putting on a lot of miles and then selling) having the 40k fewer miles might be worthwhile.

On the other other hand, having a few extra model years may or may not be better for the usual minivan transmission issues-- this might be worth researching a little on model-specific forums to see if there’s any big differences in transmission failure rates between the years.

My choice would be significantly impacted by maintenance especially oil changes performed.

I’m with Greasy…I like those introspective, convoluted replies. Makes sense to me. :slight_smile:

So … which would be the better choice fewer years (car2) or fewer miles (car1)?


Or how about the car with “less” age on it or “less” mileage.

I asked a friend who owns several insurance companies and buys his cars directly from the auction. He says always buy the newer car if miles are not a huge difference. Newer cars usually have better safety features also.

If you buy a AWD Sienna, beware of the run flat tires. The tires only last 18-20k miles and are very expensive. My wife has an 06 Sienna LE with FWD, it has a spare and 16" tires which are reasonably priced.

The timing belt replacement on a Sienna is 7 years/90k miles whichever comes first. The 3.3 V6 (2004 - 2006) is an interference motor. I believe the 2007 is a 3.5 V6, I’m assuming the replacement interval is the same which means the 07 is due for a timing belt in 2k miles.

Ed B.