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I'm looking to buy a used vehicle and was wondering what your opinion/advice on a balance between odometer, price, and year would be?

I've seen newer cars (2000's) with high reading odometers (200kms+) selling for around $3400, and older vehicles (94-96) around 140kms sell for roughly the same.

What would be good balance between year and mileage if my budget is $3000?

I'm mainly buying a car for getting to work and back and the weekend drive. At the moment I have taken quite a liking to a 95 Subaru Legacy but it's done about 160kms.


From the "Ask Jack" archives - 28 October 2009


It's a tough question to answer to be honest.

The older the car the poorer the safety features and the more outdated the technology.

The higher the km's the more chance of potential problems and resale may suffer.

I would definitely look at mainstream Japanese vehicles and try and get something with a proven service history.

This is where Toyota is such a hard product to beat. They have a good range of vehicles and their reliability record is so good. Nissan and Mazda are also good choices.

If you don't mind driving a manual transmission then a vehicle with a high odometer reading is a much lesser risk.

Unfortunately I don't see a 1995 Subaru as mainstream Japanese, they have a unconventional engine configuration and can be very expensive to repair and maintain at this age and kilometres.