I got a car as a gift from my cousin. The car was 12 years old, but had 67,000 miles. I drove it for 10 years. It needed stuff, sometimes expensive stuff, like a clutch, and at one point it needed a gas tank (albeit, that cost just under $300 total, parts and labor). It would need things like calipers, and the AC went kaput, and could not be recharged, because it used a chemical that had been outlawed. I did the math, decided I was keeping the car for enough years into the future, that it was worth the $800 to replace the whole system, and did it (following a summer where it was 105’F for a week).
I kept track of how much I was spending on it, and it always worked out to only about $75 a month (excepting the year of the AC, but even then, it was less than $150\month). When I balanced that against the $300+ I’d be paying if i had a new car, it just never seemed worth it.
Then my great-uncle died, and left me $27,000. I decided this was the time to get a new car, and I bought a brand new Chevy Spark outright. Still had quite a bit left over. Paid off my credit cards, and bought a pinball machine.
Sold my cousin’s car for $700. I probably could have gotten more, but the body was rough, because it had gotten hit in a parking lot by someone who didn’t leave a note, and I didn’t make a claim against my own insurance. Used the money to pay for my insurance for the Spark all at once, and not in payments. Saved $140 (more or less). The Spark gets way better mileage than my cousin’s car did, but the fact is that the other car had been made back before the SUV thing, and was pretty gas-efficient, all things considered.
I miss driving a manual.
Anyway, my point is, that a car with significantly low mileage can be a really good bargain, but those cars are pretty rare.
On the flip side, I have bought a couple of cars that were only two or three years old, but had over 75000 miles. I needed loans for those, and they were hard to get. I needed significant down payments to get loans for cars with high mileage, even though they weren’t very old. The cars were good cars, though.
Another time, I though I lucked out, and got a car that had been leased and turned in early, so it was a year old, and had 6600 miles. It was about half the price of the same car new. Seemed like a bargain, but after three years, we started having problems with it. It didn’t help that we got rear-ended, and I suspect it had damage that was never addressed. It was a black car, and that may have been out mistake. Apparently black cars get hit more often than other colors. It didn’t get hit at night, though, but it was completely the other driver’s fault.
I dunno. You just can’t have everything, I guess.