What is the best used van?

leesanrayleesanray Member Posts: 7
We prefer to purchase our vehicles used in order to get a lower TCO (total cost of ownership).

We expect to keep our vehicles until they are 10 - 12 years old.

We are not slaves to TCO. We won't keep a vehicle past the point where we consider it to be dependable. We also are willing to pay up somewhat for a more comfortable/reliable vehicle.
We never need to carry more than 4 people, so we will probaly take out the third seat.

We are retired. We only put about 7500 miles/year on our minivan, so we are not afraid of purchasing a vehicle with higher miles if the price is right.

We currently have a 98 Windstar with 136k miles. We bought it in 2001 with 81k miles. It has been a fine vehicle for us.

We are approaching the 10 year mark for our windstar where we begin to consider the replacement possibilities.

Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions?




  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    LUCK is the most significant parameter in TCO for any used vehicle.

    Reliability can vary significantly within any one brand. The Ford Windstar has cost more in repairs than any other brand for the people I know but you have had excellent service from yours.

    IF you like the Windstar and the place that has serviced it, buy another Windstar.

    I bought a NEW 2006 Toyota Sienna LE and am not as impressed with it as I was with my 2002 Chrysler T&C LX. CR and Edmunds both recommend the Odyssey or Sienna (New or Used). I am disappointed with my Sienna because it is NO better than the less expensive T&C....contrary to the glowing write ups in CR and Edmunds. :cry:
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    It is really hard to calculate TCO on any new or used vechicle. There are a lot of factors that will come into play. You have weather conditions where you live. What type of roads being driven on mostly. How much city/hghy miles are being put on each year. (These all have an effect on reliability on any vechicle.) Regular Maintenance schedules and repairs. Doing it yourself or paying someone else to do the repairs. (You can get a general idea by using Edmunds TCO, but it is not dead on.) ;)

    We have an 01 DGC EX that we bought used in Sep. 03 w/37K. We now have over 89K and have had some minor things needing replaced in our almost four years of ownership. We've had both power window motors and regulators Front suspension sway bar, links and bushings. (The bushings will need to be replaced again, two years later, because of clunking over bumps. I've heard these parts don't last very long. I will replace them myself, this time with better parts.) Latch on power cargo door. (All of these were covered under warranty.) Things not cover under warranty that had or have to be replaced: thermostat housing bolt that broke. (I fixed this myself.) Emergency brake pedal or cable broke just recently. Our water pump might need to be replaced in the future because of a small leak that was found during a recent coolant flushing. For us, our van has been very reliable. We've never been stranded. None of the repairs stopped us from driving or put my family in danger. All of the electronics, motor, trans. air conditioning, etc. work as they should. Time will tell, if I change my mind about our van being reliable. She's 7 yrs old and close to 100K mark. :shades:
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    This is my first post (from Ontario, Canada), hence please bear with me.

    I am looking to buy a used minivan, details are as follows:

    2007 Dodge Grand Caravan SE (Stow 'N Go), 19,000 km, $19,000

    2005 Toyota Sienna LE, 117,000 km, $15,500

    2003 Mazda MPV DX, 100,000 km, $11,000

    Each van is in very good condition, all from dealers, Car Proof says no accidents, claims etc.

    Each has their merits and drawbacks (e.g. high km for Sienna).

    Any suggestions considering that I would like to keep the van for the next seven to eight years.

    Thanks, Sridhar.
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    Another newbie to the vans forum from Ontario, Canada. Looking to buy a used minivan, 2007 Dodge grandcaravan (19k, 19000 km) vs 2005 Sienna LE (15.5k, 117000 km) vs 2003 Mazda MPV DX (11k, 100000km).

    Life expectancy is critical for me considering I would like to keep the van for seven to eight years. All vans are in good condition and recently fully serviced.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks, Sridhar.
  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    High miles shouldn't be much of concern on a Toyota and (if you can knock the price down a bit) it would be my choice here.

    I know prices in Canada are higher than the States, but if you're interested in a Chrysler, can't you buy a new one for about that much or a little more?
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    Thank you for your comments. New Chrysler costs about 5K more than the 1 year old model. Our budget was ~ 15k$, hence I was considering Sienna.
  • siennamisiennami Member Posts: 116
    I would go with a Toyota if I were you (of course I do own a Sienna!). If I'm not mistaken, even a 2005 should have stow-n-go, so you're covered there. I've always heard that Toyotas last forever. I never got the chance to find out with my 1GR Sienna, as it was stolen about 1/2 way through my lease! I'm planning on keeping this one a good, long while....... :shades:
  • jpfjpf Member Posts: 496
    Although the Toyota is a good van, you're buying it right about the time that it will likely need its first major maintenance. At 117,000 km, it probably needs a new timing belt, tune up, and tires. If the vehicle has had the timing belt done and the tires are in good shape, then the Toyota is a good way to go. If you choose the Chrysler, see if it qualifies for the 100,000 mile warranty. Recent Chrysler vans are more relaible than past models but compared to the Toyota you will likely see electrical repairs (e.g. power window motors frequently go in Chrysler vans) and possible transmission repairs. Thus, the warranty is very important if you choose the Chrylser. I own a 2006 base model Dodge Caravan, with 26,000 miles. I've owned the van for over a year and bought it brand new. I haven't had any warranty claims to this point. Good luck.
  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    As an owner of a 2006 Sienna LE, I would recommend the 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan SE...but it would have to have the separately controlled temperature for the driver and front passenger that was optional on the 2007 GC SE models. :shades:

    Our daughter's 1999 GC SE now has almost 106,000 miles with very few problems. My sister's 1986 Caravan SE had 170,000 trouble free miles when they sold it to a friend because they needed a more powerful vehicle to pull a trailer.
  • jazkillingjokejazkillingjoke Member Posts: 8

    We are looking at purchasing a van. We are either looking for an older model in the $3000-$5000 range for a few years or go for a newer one(used) in the $10000-$14000 range that will last for a long time.
    I want a really safe van to replace my small Ford escort and would like one that can take high mileage.
    I see a lot of used van that have 150k to 190k and I wonder how much more they can take?
    Do Japanese ones are a better bet for high mileage?
    How about safety, I think the Ford windstar and freestar along with the Kia Sedona are quite safe, aren't they (I checked iihs.org and safercar.gov)?
    We are a family of 3 with a dog and are in Atlanta and love to drive to Florida (No snow or ice).
    Good gas mileage and anything you might think of will help.

    Thanks a lot

  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    The BEST used minivan can be one of any brand. Proper maintenance and driving habits of prior owner (owners) is more important than which company built it.
  • jazkillingjokejazkillingjoke Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the answer hansienna!

  • theiertheier Member Posts: 1
    We're shopping for a minivan. We want to spend $8000-$12000. Reliability is much more important to us than any fancy features.

    Our cars have been Hondas and Toyotas for years, but it looks like their minivans are going to be out of our price range, unless we really want to go up in mileage.

    Any suggestions?
  • hansiennahansienna Member Posts: 2,312
    My sister has a 2003 Toyota Camry LE that she loves but she bought a nice, used 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SE last year because her 1986 Caravan SE had NO problems. (Her husband drives the Camry and she drives the GC).

    She got the 1986 Caravan SE as a used vehicle in 1987 when it had 10,000 miles on it. It had no problems and she sold it to a friend when it had 170,000 miles with no problems.

    My daughter's 1999 Grand Caravan SE now has over 105,000 miles with very few repairs. She likes her old 99 GC SE better than our 2006 Sienna LE because it has more nice features and has been VERY reliable.
  • marine2marine2 Member Posts: 1,155
    For $14,000.00 you should easily be able to buy a 2005 Dodge Caravan with stow-n-go. It's a perfect van for a family with a pet. I have a 2005 and I keep one middle seat stored so the dog has someplace to lay. The storage in that van is great for putting stuff out of sight. Stow and go is great for hauling just about anything. I got rid of my truck when stow-n-go came out and have never regretted it one bit.

    Going on a trip? Pop some pillows and blanket in one of the storage bins and when the kids get tired, drop the rear seat and let them go to sleep in back.

    My Mom can no longer walk any distance. So I bought a ramp for my van and load her electric scooter in the back. I can also get an electric wheel chair and scooter both in at the same time and still seat one person in the back. Love stow and go and all that storage.
  • marine2marine2 Member Posts: 1,155
    I think you really need to know how your going to use your minivan before choosing what to buy. Do you ever carry up to eight people? Honda would be a goood choice here.

    Will it just be used primarily as a people mover? Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, or most any of the others would fill the bill quite nicely.

    How long you want to keep it is another factor. Toyota and Honda hold their value better if your only planning on keeping it a few years. Although it also means you'll pay more for a used one.

    I bought mine (new) because I use mine not only to carry people, (family and grand kids) I use it as a working van and after having a truck for 15 years, I wanted some place to hide my tools, battery cables, storage blanket, tape, etc. I was tired of having them laying in the floor or on the rear seat of my club cab. I also wanted some place to stow the grand kids stuff. I also use my van to carry a lot of other stuff. I use it to move my kids and siblings. I buy a lot of things to fix up my home and I don't like paying delivery charges. I use it to carry my Mother and Sister's electric wheel chair and electric scooter when they have to go places that require a lot of walking. So mine is not only a people hauler, but a working minivan. For that reason I saw only one choice. The Dodge/Chrysler minivans, with stow-n-go. They are cheaper to buy as they don't hold their value as well as Honda or Toyota, but if your going to keep it for more than a few years, that shouldn't be a problem. You've already saved much of that by buying it cheaper. If your buying a model that is newer than the 2000's, reliability with the Dodge/Chrysler should be no problem, although stow and go didn't come in till 2005.

    But before you buy, figure out how your going to use your van and how long your planning on keeping it. That could make a big difference, or very little difference.
  • bobber1bobber1 Member Posts: 217
    Good objective post Marine2. I've often though you wear Chrysler underwear, but you did a good job on this one.
  • maryh3maryh3 Member Posts: 263
    I'm glad someone understands why I prefer a sedan with a trunk over a hatchback. People think I'm nuts for preferring this but I like the idea of storing things in a trunk which you cannot see from the outside. In a hatchback you could always see what was back there which tempted thieves. Besides, if your trunk is a mess nobody knows.,
  • kmsandrbskmsandrbs Member Posts: 9
    Hey all-

    Interested in opinions on our particular situation.

    Currently, we own a 98 Ford Explorer (180,000+ miles, no major issues, but a good number of minor ones). Our initial plan was to own this until we drove it into the ground. Then we had a 4th child. Right now, we have to take two vehicles everywhere when our whole family goes. We do not want to do that anymore.

    We are also working hard on keeping to budget, so we are not going to finance anything. Our goal is to replace our Explorer with another vehicle, hopefully one that will last, again, for a good long time, providing our family with safe, reliable transportation (we do not plan on having more children :) ).

    Essentially, we are looking at minivans (along with people, we occasionally will want to use it to haul “stuff”). Mostly for Mom and daily errands, but the occasional long family trip.

    Some of the main things we are looking for:

    -Reliability (we are looking for something we hopefully will not have to do major maintenance on or replace soon … I know, any car is a gamble, but we’d like one that is less of a gamble)
    -Safety (it does not have to be the safest, though, or have all of the safety features, but should have at least the basic ones).
    -Resale value is not important, but longevity is.
    -Flexibility (we will normally carry 6, and are not worried about getting one that carries 8 [or more] because we have a second car for those rare situations … we like the idea of a 40/60 3rd row, because we might be able to leave one part down on a regular basis … we like the ideas of Stow-and-Go … but flexibility is not the top need)
    -Access (definitely want to have rear doors on both sides, preferably power doors)
    -Roof Rack (we love to camp, and already have our roof rack storage container which we use on the Ford)
    -MPG (well, it is part of the equation)
    -We live in So Cal, and will probably be here for a few years (may then move to the Northwest)
    -Bells and whistles are definitely appreciated, but not absolutely necessary (this is a tough one … essentially, we’d like them, but if it means having to go with significantly lower quality on the above items, then we don’t need them … but it seems that in used vehicles, the options do not tend to change the cost nearly as much). Bells and whistles around functionality and comfort are more important than those around style, fun, entertainment.

    -For consideration, it seems as though, with the right deal, we could get either a 2002 Odyssey EX, with about 100,000 miles, or an 05 DGC SXT with about 40 – 50,000 miles and a good number of options. Originally I was leaning toward (and had many family friends encouraging to go toward) the Odyssey, because of Honda reliability. Then I read about the transmission issues (and the major costs to fix those). I read an earlier post (from a year ago) where most people suggested the DGC in a similar comparison (warranty and mileage stood out). But wanted to give the specifics of our scenario to see if that changed recommendations. Or if folks would strongly suggest other options.

  • imariquinnimariquinn Member Posts: 96
    What is your maximum price?
  • jazkillingjokejazkillingjoke Member Posts: 8
  • kmsandrbskmsandrbs Member Posts: 9
    $8500 (I had the wrong year on the DGC ... it was the 2004). I can be patient, though, and wait for the right deal (for cars that are normally a little above this).
  • lroylroy Member Posts: 3
    Rear window wiper motor keeps wiper rumbling. Sounds like a heavy vibration noise. Use to happen when I start my engine, but now it's happening more frequently when I'm driving. When it only happened at start up, I would get out of the car, and go to the back and set the wiper on the windows and not on the car. Now it rumbles on the window too.

    I bought it to a Toyota Dealer, and they told me it would be too costly to fix, and wasn't covered under warranty.

    Any ideas as to what to do. I wouldn't mind disconnecting the wipers, as I usually don't use my rear wiper. Was concerned that would botch up something else.

    I have approximately 174,000 miles on my van.

    Also, my heating gauge is showing hotter,...starting to smell, if I have my air conditioner on, and am idling while driving in the city. I checked my coolent, but it is okay.

    Thanks for your help and advice.
  • lroylroy Member Posts: 3
    Rear window wiper motor keeps wiper rumbling. Sounds like a heavy vibration noise. Use to happen when I start my engine, but now it's happening more frequently when I'm driving. When it only happened at start up, I would get out of the car, and go to the back and set the wiper on the windows and not on the car. Now it rumbles on the window too.

    I bought it to a Toyota Dealer, and they told me it would be too costly to fix, and wasn't covered under warranty.

    Any ideas as to what to do. I wouldn't mind disconnecting the wipers, as I usually don't use my rear wiper. Was concerned that would botch up something else.

    Thanks for your help and advice.
  • akw11akw11 Member Posts: 1
    I am wondering what decision you ended up making and if you are happy with your decision. I am in a similar situation now.
  • lroylroy Member Posts: 3
    I brought it to a mechanic and he disconnected the wiper. It stopped the rattling. I don't know how he did this, but he did not charge me.
  • worthog29worthog29 Member Posts: 1
    I am looking for a Ford 350 passenger Van with diesel engine within 500 miles of Zip 92242
  • japancarpointjapancarpoint Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2010
    hello, try this 1995 Toyota Hiace Van which is available in fine condition. I have link here so it is a big offer why not to check this one instead on Ford 350.
    link title
  • brico207brico207 Member Posts: 2
    went out and tried to start the van and when I put the key in it wont turn. tried some wd40 in the switch and still nothing. steering wheel is unlocked and the bell for door is working but it wont turn.please help
  • wiestawiesta Member Posts: 2
    Hi. With another child on the way, my wife and I are looking at MiniVans. We would like to find something slightly used. (2008 or newer with less that 40k mi.). Reliability and cost are the tops concerns for us. Would like to find something that we could own for 6-7 years and probably put 100,000 miles on it. Could someone provide some insight? I am curious to hear about any repair stories or recommendations. Right now we have looked at the T&C touring, Odyssey, and Sienna. Thanks.
  • rockmobilerockmobile Member Posts: 115
    edited April 2012
    You can't go wrong with Odyssey or Sienna; I don't know much about T&C.
  • patnicpatnic Member Posts: 27
    Be very careful of the older Honda's. We have a 2003 and needed new tranny - lots of complaints on Edmunds.
  • astra1astra1 Member Posts: 5
    I have a 2003 Chevy Venture, which now has 370,000 miles on it the transmission has never been rebuilt although shift solenoids were changed. The engine was replaced 10,000 miles ago after the lifter seized up, and broke the cam shaft The engine has a timing chain, not belt, that was never replaced. The injectors never had any work. The major problems was with heater cores and radiators as well as bleading the cooling system(a bad design). The engine never burned oil. I ran synthetic oil almost it's entire life and run Dexron 6, which is supposed to be synthetic. I replaced the big bushing in one side and several sets of monroe air shocks(junk). I maintained the vehicle regularily. Don St. Louis Mo. owner /operator Karaoke Cab STL
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