Used cars - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Used cars

I've been thinking about maybe getting a used car for commuting since I may get a job in the next city over (25 mile each way commute). I don't know if I want to put all those miles on my truck. I see a lot of cara under $3k and even some under $1k that are state inspected. My question is, when a car has 175k plus miles on it, how much reasonable life does that car have? I just saw a decent looking car with over $200k miles that's state safety inspected for $700. It just seems like most people don't have cars with a ton of miles like that - do you think it's because the car is replaced just because or because its died and needed to be replaced?
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 03:08 PM
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It depends on so many factors, primarily the make/model of the car and how it's been maintained by the previous owner(s).

We had a 1975 Mercedes diesel. It was built like a tank. It was also my mom's baby. She changed her oil every 3000 miles, reviewed the maintenance check-list every so often to make sure she did everything they told her to do. After 300000 miles, we put a new engine in it and it kept purring along for another 200k or so before she sold it. That was a combination of a great-built car with superior ownership.
If that same car had been owner by someone who never changed the oil or washed road-salt off, it probably would have been lucky to make it to 100k.

Some cars are just lemons, and you're lucky to get them past warranty life of 50k, no matter how you maintain them. Some cars can go on and on if cared for. Poor maintenance can destroy any car.

My husband and I take good care of our cars. I have always had Subarus. He's a Chevy-man. Both are respectable car manufacturers. We've both found that at around 100k, little things start to fail: Oxygen sensors, window-motors, dashboard lights. Around 150-200k, bigger things start to fail, like transmissions, head gaskets, computers, etc. The components just plain wear out.

That state inspection doesn't guarantee you that the transmission isn't about to fall out of the car. It just guarantees you that it's working at the moment. It gives you a glimpse in time. It tells you that it should be safe to drive it off the lot right now. And I think it tells you that it's not stolen. That's all.

Be sure to do your homework and look up the reliability, safety, and consumer and test reviews for the exact car you're buying so you don't get a lemon.

When I buy used, I prefer to buy from an owner instead of a dealer. That way, I get the history of the car, and I get a feel for whether or not it's someone who's taken care of it. I usually ask to see their maintenance records as well. If it's a care with good ratings and it's been well-maintained, it may very well have more life in it. Just expect littl things to keep popping up with that kind of mileage, and don't be too disappointed if something major happens as well.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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I'm okay with little things, especially if I can or can learn to do it myself. There's always a risk with care (just like with horses!) so I know the safety inspection is the equivalent of a PPE. I was more curious if anyone was able to successfully keep a car on the road for an extended amount of mileage because you rarely see anyone do. I don't want to blow all my money stash on a commuter car either. Sometimes I really wish I could look under a hood and see what's what - is just go buy a car at auction!
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 03:55 PM
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I think if you do a google-search, you'll find that some cars do indeed stay on the road for that amount of mileage.

Some of the ones that come to mind are Toyota, Subaru (I drove mine to 250k), and some Hondas, Some VWs and most Mercedes (many aren't that expensive with high miles). I've seen Volvos go for several hundred thousand miles, especially the older models. Those are just some that come to mind. I'm sure you can find more.

Oddly, my brother has a Ford Pinto with almost 400k on it. He calls it his "power-pinto". The fascinating thing isn't that the thing actually still runs, but that anyone would actually want to keep driving a Pinto...
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 04:11 PM
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Check out the high-mileage club for some ideas.

The High-Mileage Club
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 11:20 PM
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Most modern cars will do 200k without to much trouble with reasonable maintenance. The closer you get to 200k the more you need to take on the idea you'll run it 'till she dies then scrap her so pay accordingly.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-20-2013, 11:50 PM
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We pride ourselves on getting high mileage from our cars.

Youngest had a Toyota truck that made almost 500k when we gave it to a friend. She was the fourth or fifth teen to own it. I had a Pontiac wagon with more than 400K when it could go no more. Currently we have two vehicles with more than 300K and one with over 200K.

But... our cars get mostly highway miles. At least two lane highways, with almost no braking.

I get a kick out of driving a car a really long time. Youngest needs a "new" one. Her '93 is being recalled! We're already dreaming about what will last the longest.

freia - I'm going to check out that link.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-21-2013, 07:33 AM
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I've only ever had used cars but I personally wouldn't buy a car with more than 150,000km on it. For me it is because it's a fair bit of wear and you have no idea how well it's been cared for. Yeah, some cars last ages but they're usually well cared for, serviced, good kms - but with such cheap cars you usually don't know the history or what you're going to get.
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