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Years versus Mileage on used cars

sjashinskisjashinski Posts: 1
edited December 2015 in General
Its time to start looking for a car for my teenager. I have narrowed it down to several makes/models and have set a budget for this purchase. What I would like some opinions on is whether it is better to buy an slightly older car with less miles or a new car with more miles. For example, a VW Jetta is on the list and I found an '08 with 75,000 miles and a 2011 with 110K miles for the same price. Which would you chose?

I know there is no one answer but hoping to at least get a framework for making the decision when I am ready to actually buy a car.



  • texasestexases Posts: 9,093
    The most important thing when I did this was the safety rating and equipment. Older cars may have as much as newer cars. I used this site, it ranks all cars, combining available crash test results:
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 140,653
    Another issue is how the car was cared for ... if you can get maintenance records for both cars, that might help your decision making.

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    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited December 2015
    Everything else being the same, lower miles is preferable provided the car has been well maintained .
    More the miles, worse the wear for the engine and transmission.
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,093
    I would like to see at least 8,000 miles/year, much less and I start worrying about the car being driven rarely, without enough maintenance.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I agree that there's no straight answer here. All new cars are the same but every used car is different, and has to be judged on a number of factors. For a German car, I'd generally choose lower miles, but I'd also take a very careful look at the maintenance record before making up my mind.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    If you are concerned about durability I would, for sure take Volkswagen off your list!

    For that matter, anything european.
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