I have only owned a new car a few times in my life. A couple bought, a couple leased.
In general, I have opted to go with a used vehicle. Let others take the depreciation hit.
Now when I say used, I mean USED. I’m not talking about something a year or two old. Usually the vehicles — like I do myself — have some wear and tear on them.
But the nicest things about purchasing used, in my opinion, are the lower insurance rates and the fact that you can get anything you want. It’s like an automobile buffet out there.
Allow me to explain.
New cars are expensive. News flash, right? I mean, we’re talking anywhere from $20K to $50K these days, depending on the make and model.
I see a new model come out, see the commercials, and make a mental note — “Check back on that in about 7-10 years.”
The fact is, after a certain length of time, you can afford to have whatever you want. Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Acura, etc.
Over the years, I have owned so many used vehicles I can’t begin to remember the count. My wife probably can, though. She knows that, after about a year or two in a certain used purchase, I am ready to sell it and find something different.
I just sold a Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer edition SUV with pretty low miles for its year. When I bought it, it was already 14 or 15 years old. Age — and sometimes even the miles, I have learned over the years — are not as important as condition. Yes, condition rules … how well has this vehicle been taken care of?
Remember the old show years ago “Star Search”? Well, I do “Car Search”. I pour over the internet locally and regionally, examining hundreds of cars. I narrow it down and then I do my due diligence researching “finalists” for the model’s track record and reviews. I am happy to say I have never purchased what one would call “a lemon” or “major headache.”
True story: Once I flew to Utah to purchase the vehicle I wanted and drove it back home. Probably a little over the top, no doubt. It was fun — but I elect to stay closer to my own geographical area now.
Usually I can find that seller who has taken meticulous care, has pages of maintenance records, and is almost emotional about letting their vehicle go.
Well, I had the Expedition for two years — a long time by my standards — and was ready to search. I looked at some older Lexus sedans and SUVs. Entertained the idea of finding me a “sports car” to get around in — a Mustang, Maxima or I always liked the early 2000s Mercury Cougars, to name a couple.
I sold the Expedition in two days. Actually had it sold twice. One fella who looked at it the first day, liked it and wanted to buy — but asked if his wife could see it later in the day. I arranged to meet him in Crossville at the same place we had met earlier.
I arrived at the appointed time and waited. … and waited … and waited. I call his cell and his wife answered. She assured me he would call me right back.
He never did.
They never came.
Really? With drive time and sitting and waiting time, that was an hour of my life I will never get back. And they couldn’t just be up front and let me know. Hey, just say “we have decided we don’t want to buy it.” No harm. No worries.
In the meantime, I had received several other calls on my “Expy” and a local man purchased it and was great to deal with, restoring a little bit of faith in me about humanity.
The very next day, a man came into The Vista office wanting to put a classified for an auto in the next issue. He gave it to me and I asked him a couple casual questions about the vehicle.
My interest peaked, I mentioned I was in the market but the price was a little out of my range of what I wanted to spend. I threw out a number and he said, “I can probably go ahead and do that.”
This Glade resident was thorough when it came to his vehicles. You could just tell by talking with him. He sang the praises of the car and then went home and brought it back to the office.
It was in even better condition (that word again) than he had described.
Sports car? Hardly.
If anyone would have told me I would be buying a Toyota Prius after my delving into sportier vehicles, I would have scoffed. But, you see, that is the beauty of the used car world. Sometimes plans change when you see “that certain one” that you just KNOW is a great deal.
Of course, in the days ahead, I will no doubt be passed by an older, very sharp, used sporty vehicle with a “For Sale” sign on it. Inside, I will moan just a little.
But moments later, satisfied in my current purchase, I will tell myself, “There will be another time.”
You can bet on that.