need advice on buying a temporary car

lokivoglokivog Member Posts: 2

I am temporarily moving to Rhode Island for a 3 month contract job. Rather than renting a car the entire time, I'm thinking if I bought a used car, drove it for 3 months, and then sold it back after 3 months, the re-sale loss would be cheaper than renting a car then entire time. I would like to keep the purchase below $7,000. My questions are:
1. What used cars hold their value better in this type of situation?
2. What would be the recommended place to purchase a used car with an intent to sell it back after a few months? Carmax? Dealer? Autotrader?
3. Would it be better to buy from one place and sell to another?

I know this is a very general question, a lot of factors come into play and there is not a clear cut answer but any advice to set my down the right track is greatly appreciated. Thanks. Mike


  • lokivoglokivog Member Posts: 2

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I'll be purchasing the vehicle through my small business.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    I'm not so sure your calculations are correct. Let's say a 3 month rental cost you $2000. If you buy a $7000 car, first off you have at least $600-$700 in sales tax and registration. Then you have to presume that nothing will go wrong with a 10 year old used car---not likely. Then you have to presume that you can sell the used car for what you paid for it. Also not likely.

    Also with a rental you can pick the car with the highest MPG. And if you don't like the car, you can trade it back for another brand. And it's new, clean and has lots of new gadgets.

  • philip17philip17 Member Posts: 25

    I agree that it's not the depreciation so much as it is the sales tax and registration that makes a short term purchase a losing proposition. Two other thoughts: you might look at getting a short term lease through Also, supposedly offers incredibly low lease deals.

    Good luck,

    Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

    Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor

  • clachnitclachnit Member Posts: 35

    If you're getting the car through your business, it might be worth looking into taking over someone else's lease, via Swapalease or LeaseTrader.

    I haven't done this, by the way. Just a suggestion that might help you avoid the depreciation/old car issues Mr. Shift pointed out. And there may be tax advantages to leasing that you wouldn't realize through purchase or car rental. Worth exploring with your accountant or CFO.

    --Carroll Lachnit, features editor,

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