All other things being equal, do I pick the older car with lower mileage or the later model with high mileage?
I've seen the other thread
, but I'm looking for advice that's a little more specific to my situation.
I'm buying my first car. It will be used, probably purchased privately, and it will cost less than $5000. It will probably be a Honda, Toyota, or Subaru (for their known reliability, etc). I also need an automatic transmission & four doors, which limits things a little when I'm looking for cheap cars. I live in Maryland, in case climate matters.
Should I go for lower mileage (under 100K, but probably over 80K from what I've seen) or for something that's newer but with high mileage? What about "really new" cars (say, 2001) that have 150K (or even more) on them? Let's say all the cars have been used for the same kind of driving (highway vs. city) and have been maintained equally well.
One thought I've heard is that ultimately it's rust, not usage, that kills cars, and cars rust regardless of how much they've been driven...hence newer is better, even with high mileage. I'm not sure if that makes sense, though. I had
set 100K as an arbitrary limit, but I'm starting to wonder if that's silly.