When Is A Used Car Too Old?

Used cars. Parker Gibbs from Unsplash

Our cars are important to us. In many ways, they are like pets. Buying a brand-new puppy is a great way to make sure that your new friend is going to live pretty much its entire life with you. Getting an old dog, on the other hand, means you’re going to have to look after it when it gets sick, deal with its lackluster performance from old age, and bury it when it dies.

Buying a used car can provide a ton of benefits. You probably are only going to spend a fraction of what a new car is worth. The insurance rates will be much lower than on a new car. You could even afford a cooler car than the one you would be able to afford new.

If you have made your mind up about buying a used car you might have some questions about how far back, you should go. What is the most money for value in what age range and why should I avoid older cars?

How Safe Are Older Cars?

Back then there wasn’t as much of an emphasis on safety as there is now. Want a safe car? Just drive a little slower. It wasn’t till the ‘60s that cars were mandated to come equipped with seatbelts. Know that with older cars you are sacrificing the innovations in safety that new cars would come equipped with today.

If you want dual airbags, you’re going to need to look for models made after ‘98. Anti-lock brakes and side airbags weren’t around until the late ’90s and early 2000s. But generally after the 2000s, all cars will have these features. 

If safety is a big concern with you, a car from the 2000s is a great place to start. You get good airbags and some other features you would be hard-pressed without.

How Reliable Are Older Cars?

The mileage on a car can tell many stories on its own but what does it mean getting an old car with high mileage. Mileage will not always reflect the car’s condition, but it will be a general gauge of how much wear and tear it has seen. A car with 80,000 miles under its belt could be in worse condition than a car with 160,000. So make sure to see how well the car has been taken care of.

It is also important to note that older vehicles have shorter lifespans. 100,000 miles would be considered a lifetime on older makes, while newer models are pushing the boundaries constantly.

A factor to consider is that rubber and plastic start to turn brittle after 10 years. If you’ve ever had a rubber band lying around for a while you will know this phenomenon. This could affect hoses, gaskets, and belts on a vehicle for the worse. You might want to look into cars 5 to 10 years old as this a sweet spot of reliability.

If you don’t really care about how reliable a car is then look forward to repair costs. Typically, more high-end luxury cars will become much more expensive to own through the years because of lack of available parts. If your used car gets damaged or totaled, you might want to look into selling it.

Accessibility and Ease of Use

There are other things to consider when getting a used car then how safe or reliable a car is. There are some things people living in the modern day cannot live without. Imagine having to go without a smartphone or without the internet. It’s almost unfathomable.

Keep in mind when looking for an old used car what features are important to you. Living somewhere where it gets cold might make you search for heated seats, which were a huge luxury in the past. Maybe you need a place to charge your phone and maybe you want Bluetooth functionality. Everything from the quality of AC and the automation of lowering your windows can be thrown away with older models of vehicles so find out what is necessary to you.

That’s the genuine answer to finding out when a car is too old. A car is too old for you once the cons outweigh the pros in your head. So keep a list of necessities for your vehicle and make sure the model that catches your eye fits this list. Keep in mind the safety features you need, how reliable the car is, and if it lacks any accommodations you’re used to. I’d recommend a used car from 5 to 10 years ago that doesn’t compromise too much on the driving experience.

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