If you have decided to purchase a “new” used car, congratulations! This is an exciting decision to make and is guaranteed to provide you with years of adventure and memories. However, figuring out how to buy a used car can be intimidating when considering all of your options and what to look for. There has always been debates over how old the car should be and how this factors into cost and value. Wrench is here to hopefully alleviate some of this stress and provide you with the knowledge and tools to make an informed decision about the right car for you. Check out the Wrench blog for other posts on how to buy a used car, what the used car market looks like amidst a global pandemic, and much more. Meanwhile, we hope this information serves you well when making a decision about the age of your potential used car!


Get a free quote


Most people do not take into consideration depreciation when making a division about purchasing a used car.

  • Depreciation is defined as a reduction in the value of something over a period of time, as a result of wear and tear.
  • Cars lose a third of their value on average in the first year and half of their value by year four.
  • This is a great option if you want a newer car without the price tag, because brand new cars lose so much value as soon as they drive off the lot.
  • There is often another significant drop in the value of the car at around the five-year mark, when the odometer starts to rack up the miles (usually around 60,000). It is not always better to buy a car that is seven years old instead of one because of these trends in depreciation.

There is a tradeoff between depreciation and repair costs.

  • Average repair costs per year on a 5-year old car are under $400 per year and under $600 for a 10-year old car.
  • Depreciation is almost always going to be a more significant monetary value than repairs unless your car has significant damage or needs a big replacement.
  • Buying a car that is around five years old is a popular strategy to minimize depreciation and repair costs while still getting a relatively new cost with (hopefully) a low odometer.
  • It is a general rule that cars up to five years old will be reliable as long as they are properly maintained, and you will not have to worry about any expensive repairs for a while.

There is also a debate between the tradeoff between mileage and age.

  • When determining whether a used car is a smart investment when it comes to both the age and mileage, do research on the specific make and model of the car to see if there are any recurring or repetitive problems that you may encounter in the future.
  • This is where it is also extremely important to get your hands on the vehicle’s history to determine whether it has been in any accidents, what repairs have been done, etc.
  • The average person drives around 16,000 miles per year, so you can do a quick calculation (total number of miles/age) to determine if the car has way more miles than the average car of a similar age would have.

Newer cars are safer.

  • Newer cars have better safety features and less likely to break down unexpectedly.
  • If you are considering a car that is 10 or more years old, be sure to research what safety features the specific car has and determine which are most important to you. For example, back-up cameras became very widespread around 2012, so if this is a key feature for you, it is best to look at cars made in the last eight years.

It is always important to ask questions to determine how the previous owner was taking care of the car.

  • The owner should have been following the maintenance schedule, as you should when you become the new owner. This can save you hundreds of dollars on repairs if you are proactive about vehicle maintenance. Schedule an appointment with a Wrench mobile technician if there are services out-of-date.

When you have found the used car that you intend to purchase, make sure to schedule a used car inspection with a mobile technician.

  • The mechanic will be able to tell you if there are any issues with the car that should prevent you from buying. Wrench has partnered with the premier Used Car Inspection company: Lemon Squad. With Lemon Squad, you will be able to get qualified vehicle inspectors right at your doorstep. To learn more about Lemon Squad, a Wrench company, go to the Lemon Squad website.

At the end of the day, you should choose the car that feels right to you. Make a list of all of the things that are important to you and find a car that suits your needs. Everyone has different priorities when it comes to driving, safety, vehicle, size, etc. so it is best to take all of this into account when making a decision that you will feel excited about. Wrench is here to answer any and all questions about vehicle repair or purchase. If you have any other questions about our services or using Wrench during a global pandemic, feel free to talk to our customer service team through email, at hello@wrench.com, or by phone, at 844-997-3624.


Get a free quote