Help Me choose an older sedan

rkallogyrkallogy Member Posts: 1
edited July 2014 in Acura

I am looking for an older sedan to replace my 1995 Honda Accord. I want to stay under $5000. The things I am most interested in is low cost of ownership. Something really reliable that doesn't cost a ton if something breaks. Also want something safe with minimally ABS and traction control. I live in the snowy northeast. Needs a roomy back seat for carseats and would like a V6 for my hills and curves. Good MPG would be a bonus but I accept that low 20s is about what I will get. Leather interior is really what I want too.

Here are my current options:
2000 Acura TL with all options. 162k only 56k on the tranny. Service all up to date and one owner $3200
2001 Lexus ES300 105K don't know about the service history $3500
2001 Lexus ES300 156K, new transmission, timing belt and tires. also comes with 4 snow tires (which I need) $4000
1999 Honda CRV 154K New tires, rotors, no ruts, just tuned. $4000
2001 Acura TL 79K Transmission never done. Timing not done $3700

Am I missing a vehicle that I should consider? I also like accords but not finding any in good shape for sale right now. Thanks for any help


  • benjaminhbenjaminh Member Posts: 5,344
    edited July 2014

    Maybe I'm wrong, but in my humble opinion none of those cars is likely to have a low cost of ownership. They are mostly luxury cars with lots of years and lots of miles. The almost inevitable repairs and maintenance will be costly. That said, I'm a big fan of Honda/Acura for their durability and reliability, and so the one-owner 2000 Acura TL sounds like the possible bet to me, esp. since the transmission was replaced not that long ago. But the Lexus with the new tranny and snow tires might be even better. In any case, pay a good mechanic you trust to give it a thorough check, including probably a compression check on the engine.

    Still, my experiences with old cars suggests that you might be looking at maybe c. $1500+ a year for repairs and maintenance. And if a transmission or something like that fails the repairs will exceed the value of most of these cars.

    You probably don't want to hear this, but I think over a time horizon of ten years if you bought a more modest new car you would probably come out ahead financially. If you're curious and want me to try to run those numbers by you, I'll give it a shot. Long and painful experiences with old cars has made me wary of their costs.

    In any case: good luck!

    Maybe someone else here has some different advice.

    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,099

    Of what you listed, on the surface, I'd be looking at the 105k mile Lexus.

    However, I'm seeing newer, lower mileage mazda6s that would be within your target of, I'm assuming, $4k.

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited. 54-car history and counting!

  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusMember Posts: 13,024

    I'm with Benjamin and qbrozen....maybe look at a Mazda or Honda with lower miles. I think you'll be better served in the long run!

    2021 Acura TLX A-Spec-Platinum White Pearl
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Member Posts: 5,344
    edited July 2014

    The new can be less than used in the long run paradox.

    You didn't ask, but I feel like wasting time....

    Say you got the 2000 Acura for 3200, but then spend 1500 a year for repairs and maintenance. Perhaps that sounds high to you. And maybe it is. But go to the true cost to own feature, and plug in a somewhat older luxury car. The oldest Acura TL for which they have estimates is a 2008. And some years they are estimating that an 8 year newer Acura can cost 1500 in repairs and maintenance. And so for a 2000 I think that might be a fair guess.

    Anyway, you run if for 5 years x 1500 + purchase cost of 3200 = c. $10k

    By the year 2019 it's likely to be dead or dying. Few cars really live well past 20 years imho. That's about the lifespan of a well-engineering and well maintained car in most cases.

    So then you buy another 15 year old car. Prices have gone up, and so this 2005 Acura or Lexus costs 6k, but also needs 1500 a year to survive another 5 years. = another c. 13k

    So in this scenario maybe you've spent on the used cars and repairs and maintenance c. $23k over ten years

    What if instead you got a new Nissan Altima this year. My local dealer recently advertised a base 2014 for about $19k, down from the list of c.$23. Plus Nissan is offering 0 financing over 5 years.

    In the short run you are paying more, and that might not be possible. But if it can be done it might work out financially in the long run.

    First, maintenance and repairs are drastically less. These days a good new car gets by with relatively little for the first 10 years and 100,000 miles. It comes down to lots of oil changes (50 a pop), tire rotations, a new set of tires, a new set of brake pads, etc. But the 2002 Honda Accord I kept for 95k miles had about $2000 maintenance (and no repairs) in the 8 years I owned it.

    What if we said 3k for the Altima over ten years. That would add up to $22k.

    At first it seems like it's about a tie: 23k for used and 22k for new.

    But then factor in mpg. The 2000 Acura costs about $2950 a year to fuel according to the EPA. A 2014 Altima costs about $1750 to fuel. That's a difference of $1200 a year, which over a decade adds up to $12,000.

    Suddenly new is looking like it can pay in the long run.

    Then add in resale. By the time your 2000 Acura gets to 2019 my guess is that it'll basically go to the junkhard. Maybe you'll get a 1000 for it. Ditto for the next old car sold when it's really old. I've been there. They just aren't worth much. I donated my 1988 Olds 98 in 2008 to Goodwill.

    So, maybe $2000 resale going old used.

    By 2024, however, it's likely a 2014 Altima will still have some value. 7k? Who knows. But it'll still have some life in it.

    Finally, there's your time and energy. I spent so many hours at mechanics and in garages with my old cars. It was not only expensive, but stressful, and just took a lot of time. What a waste. I wish, in retrospect, I'd just taken the plunge sooner to get a good new car, rather than limping along for years with a series of bad old cars that....Well, you get the idea.

    Plus a new car is safer, faster, and has features a 2000 Acura or Lexus couldn't dream of, like bluetooth.

    Sorry this is so long.

    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
Sign In or Register to comment.