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What is more important: age or mileage?

Hello all,

I am in the market for a Kia Sorento. I am considering a 2003, with 61,000 miles. When all is said and done (dealer fees, possible extended warranty) I’m looking at about $13K for the vehicle.

My previous car was a 2001 Olds Alero, with 108,000 miles. I’m struggle with the fact that this “new to me” Sorento will be a mere two years younger than my previous vehicle, with a 47,000 mileage difference.

The Sorento looks to be in amazing shape, the leather seats appear to tell that this was a single-person vehicle. But is that low mileage enough to make up for the age of the car? Or should I hold out waiting for a model that is slightly younger (2005-2007).

The most important factor is maintenance.

Don’t buy a used car–particularly one with AWD–unless you can see and analyze its maintenance records.
Otherwise, you could be buying a low-mileage repair nightmare.

Agree with VDC, low mileage means zippo if the oil didn’t get changed and the fluids have never been replaced. An '03 should have had several exchanges of brake fluid (it must have ABS brakes and trac control), coolant replaced twice, transmission, transfer case, front differential, and rear differential a couple of times each.

Forget Carfax reports, mostly they tell you very limited info regarding service. If there are service records in the glove box spend some time reviewing the car’s service history. If you can’t find any history, you are shooting in the dark. A good detailer (which a dealer will use) can make any car look fantastic.

When comparing two cars, if all other factors are about equal, then I would prefer newer over fewer miles.

Ah, yes, I have read this too, that the maintenance is the most important. However, if there are not service records in the glove box, what are my other choices to research the service history of the car? Are there any?

Is the car for sale in the same area as the original selling dealer? Sometimes the original dealer will have service records based on the Vin # of the vehicle. New owners tend to go back for dealer service for the first couple of years of the vehicle service life. Any Kia dealer should be able to see warranty service with a vin # check.

Carfax might have some maintenance history, but not always. Actually I’ve found services competing with CarFax actually have more entries and more complete info on the same vehicle.

A mechanics inspection might be able to see some clues on previous service or lack thereof.

Age is important these days when it comes to safety equipment - I’d prefer a newer model with side airbags over an older, lower miles model without side air bags, for example, assuming good maintenance on both.

Eden, Hold Out ! What’s The Rush ? Take A Deep Breath.

You haven’t explained what’s wrong with the Olds or what the rush is.

Here’s what I’d do. I’d wait until I had enough money saved to buy a car that is young enough and low miles enough to still be covered by part of the factory warranty. Some cars, like GM cars have a 5 year / 100,000 mile drive train warranty (starting with 07s I believe). There are other manufacturer’s cars with good warranty coverage, too.

Then you won’t need an additional warranty or if you feel like one later, you can buy it while the vehicle is still under factory warranty.

I like to buy used cars with factory warranty left. Chances are the seller would have had problems fixed under warranty and if not, you can.

Also, find and buy a car that has a favorable maintenance history. Often dealers can pull up warranty histories on their make of car.

Spending $13,000 on a car that is soon to be (in 3 1/2 months) 8 Model-Years old is not a good move. 61,000 miles is not the way to start out, either.

Wait and you’ll thank me later, I don’t care how nice those leather chairs are. The very fact that you are asking about this means that you have some doubts. You can end them now, and prevent “buyer’s remorse”, later.

Good Day,

Used cars are like commuter buses.
If you miss out on one, another one will come along.

You may have to wait a bit until you can find one that comes with records of good maintenance, but if you exercise patience, you will find one–especially if you buy from an individual, rather than from a dealership.

Patience is a virtue.
So is good maintenance.

If this Kia Sorento has been maintained as meticulously as my wife maintains her 2003 Toyota 4Runner, you probably are looking at a good vehicle. It is maintained by the schedule in the owner’s manual and the interior and exterior look like it just came out of the showroom. Of course, there is no way that she would part with her 4Runner. Maintenance is the important thing.

And, if your wife did decide to part with her 4Runner, I am confident that you would have full maintenance records to show/give to the buyer.

The question, however, is–Can the OP find someone like you or me who can produce evidence of proper maintenance? He/she should wait until that type of situation presents itself.

I can recall a post only a few months ago, from someone who had driven his/her Mazda SUV for something like 22,000 miles before he/she gave a thought to the issue of maintenance. The oil level at that point was dangerously low, and most of us gave very negative projections of that vehicle’s longevity. Unfortunately, that type of vehicle is fairly common on the used car market, and only maintenance records will reveal that type of NON-maintenance.

OP–Trust me–There are LOTS of immoral people out there who would gladly sell you a vehicle that has seen little or no maintenance. If you buy a vehicle like that, you will regret it for the rest of your days.