When is the optimum age to buy and sell a car to minimize total ownership costs? This isn’t a question asking which car has the lowest costs–I can find many lists on the web for that. But this is more about a general strategy for buying and selling a car so that the total cost of ownership is minimized.
For example, these might be some strategies I could follow:
- Buy the car new and sell after 3 years
- Buy the car new and keep it for 20 years
- Buy a 5-year-old car and sell after 4 years
- Buy a 15-year-old car and sell after 1 year
Each scenario would have different outcomes based on expected depreciation and repair costs. In addition, rapid buying and selling would lead to higher costs from sales tax.
I’m posting this in GQ because I’m looking for more factual answers than anecdotal.
It seems sites like Edmunds, KBB, Consumer Reports, etc have the historical data for how the price for a car tends to decay over time as well as the reported maintenance costs over that same period. Given that set of data, it seems someone could come up with the optimum strategy for minimizing the total cost of vehicle ownership for a given car. So whether you want a Mercedes or a Corolla, there should be a strategy to minimize your costs.