Used Car Savings

September 23, 2008 6:20:40 PM PDT
Buying a car used has become a popular way to save money, but the truth is, not all used cars will save you.No question buying a used car is cheaper than buying a brand new one. But just how much can you really save? Consumer reports compared the total cost of ownership over five years - including depreciation, sales tax, interest on financing, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs.

Consumer Reports Jon Linkov said, "Used cars are more reliable than they used to be, so a good one won't likely hit you with big repair costs anytime soon."

"The key to that is buying a car that's reliable and has been well maintained: so have it checked out by an independent, certified mechanic before you buy. And get a vehicle history report from a site like CarFax.com. You'll need the vehicle identification number. Reports usually cost $25."

So how much can you save? With a three-year-old Ford Focus - 8-thousand-5-hundred dollars after five years.

With a three-year-old V-6 Toyota Camry the savings was even more - 13-thousand dollars.

Jon Linkov said, "With the Camry, that's the equivalent of getting five years of free gas."

But Consumer Reports says you need to pick the right used car to see big savings. For instance, a popular car like the mini cooper doesn't depreciate a lot, so buying used isn't going to be a big money saver.

Another appealing option of buying used: the ability to get a more upscale model with more features for the same owner cost as a less expensive new car.

Buying a new 28-thousand-dollar Ford Mustang V-6 Convertible would cost you about 42-thousand-500 over five years. For about the same five-year cost, you could buy a 3-year-old Porsche Boxster Roadster which is a more highly rated, fun-to-drive sports car.

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