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Old 01-18-2011, 03:41 AM   #1
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Tow Vehicle, new-vs-used???

Time for a change. I have an older 1998 2wd Ford expedition. Well maintained and runs exceptional. When i got it it had 78,000 miles. It has 174,000 mikes now. I figure most newer American trucks will give 200,000 miles of service (average). I have owned new in the past but doing the math I can not see the value in purchasing a brand new TV. A new $50,000 TV with a 200,000 mile service life equals .25 per mile. A used TV after depreciation and considering mileage seems to be a better value. Plus buying new you do not now if that year has issues. Buying used you have the advantage of cust review. There are many sites with great info on vehicle quality and manufacturer defects. Doing research on line has given me a better idea of the issue with the newer models of all makes. One fairly good one is | Car Problems, Car Complaints, & Repair/Recall Information. There are a lot a individual variables to consider when choosing a TV. I want 4wd, the wife wants leather seats, the dogs want a roomy back area with roll down windows. Wow, really. Everybody wants something. It is looking like Ford has too many Engine and Trans problems. Dodge is worst of the big three. I am leaning toward a used 2002 GMC Yukon as the best value for my needs. Craigslist 100,000 miles $10,000 equals .10 per mile. I think if one does some careful checking you can get better value buying used. What do you think?

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Old 01-18-2011, 06:09 AM   #2
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I agree with your comments. Used = better value.

I didn't know Ford was having those trans and engine problems though. I have 2 Ford's... '02 Explorer Sport and '05 Freestar. The only issue I have had with either is the Freestar had a plastic part in the trans bust, warranty covered it but it was like $900 for parts & labor. Engine-wise they are great!

My bro-in-law has a Suburban he tows with and loves it. I will definitely look at one when we need a newer one.


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Old 01-18-2011, 06:16 AM   #3
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Used TV

We owned Ford 150 with over 100K ,and Never Had ANY Problem! Also owned Chev. with same performance. Guess we have been Lucky.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:17 AM   #4
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You asked what we think, so here goes...I think buying anything is a crap shoot. If you buy new, your satisfaction will depend on how well that particular model holds up, and how well it does the job you ask of it.

Buying used, as you say, you have some historical data on the model you are buying, but I think it depends more on how that particular vehicle has been driven, what it was used, where it was driven, and how it was maintained.

So, with new you have no historical data, and with used in most cases you don't know the history of that particular vehicle.

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Old 01-18-2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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Look around. We bought a 2001 F350/SW/7.3 crew/longbed with all the toys for about 28 k. IT had 5,500 miles on it. Now has 85k. So really do a search its worth the time.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:10 AM   #6
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Thanks guys, I am still looking. I love the specs on the duramax. I know 2 guys I hang with that have them in there trucks and love them. The diesel rigs do hold there value better than gasoline powered rigs. However the cost of fuel and the greater initial cost of the diesel TV deters me. I know that the diesel engine will run for 3 or 400,000 miles. However the rest of the TV will not. Not to mention the new ones are subject to smog regulations and state inspections just like gasoline.
SteveH, you are right on. I agree 100%. I hope to find something with good maintenance records.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:30 AM   #7
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Hi, I have bought new before and was very happy doing it. Now we have been buying used vehicles and saving a lot of money doing it. My Lincoln was three years old, but only had 16,800 miles on it and it was about half of the original window sticker price. Same with my wife's car, it had about 15,000 miles on it and was just over one year old. If I were you, I wouldn't go from a 98 vehicle to 02 vehicle, it's not that much different. I would look for something less than five years old and low miles for it's age. Then again, it depends on how much you can afford, or are willing to pay. [we don't finance]

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Old 01-19-2011, 01:13 AM   #8
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I think if you do your homework and shop around you can find a great deal and save a lot of money. We recently purchased a used 06 Denali and love it. We were very particular and shopped around for a while. We bought it with extremely low miles, never been off road or towed with. We decided to get the Denali instead of the Tahoe because of the larger 6 liter motor. Also, our tv doubles as our business car when were not traveling so we wanted something nice with lots of space. It also has plenty of space in the rear for our 3 bird dogs who travel with us not to mention they can watch a little dog whisperer while on the road.

We towed over 6000 miles this summer with it and it was a dream. Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:36 AM   #9
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Hi batman;
Your theory is correct providing you do not stumble on abused and neglected vehicle from service standpoint. Unless a valid service record is available from a dealer, taking one's word can turn either way. My wife and I have three vehicles. She has her very clean Supercharged Buick Riviera. I drive a Nissan Altima GLE for my daily needs. My 2006 GMC 6.0 L SLE is used only for towing my Argosy, and pick up or delivery of boats at work. It has 27.000 miles and most of that mileage is towing my Arg. All of my vehicle are serviced regularly in our shop. Nothing is overlooked ever. Finding a vehicle with good service record can be a fine catch, but then on the other hand investing 25K on used vehicle calls for taking it to a dealership for evaluation as a prerequisite to purchase. Even if you have to pay for it and loose couple hundred of bucks, you are better off then ending with a problem. You need to remember that not everyone will give you honest information. If you are knowledgeable somewhat, there are many obvious signs to look for when buying a used vehicle before taking it to a dealer for evaluation. Beware of altered stuff on a vehicle. Note if it was kept clean not just cleaned prior to sale. Look for signs of neglect. Chances are that the way the vehicle looks, it was treated that way. In our business we see those things almost weekly when someone has purchased a boat from a private party which is not worth repairing. We are the one's who have to break their heart by giving them the bad news, and that is not a happy feeling for us either. Happy hunting. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:00 AM   #10
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My friend and I got out a calculator and compared some ideas last year. He bought a new GMC truck back in 1989, drove it for 20 years, and bought another new truck in 2009. He did the "depreciation" math, and it was about $800.00/year. I always bought used during that same period and figured out that my depreciation on 4 used trucks was virtually the same!

He had the advantage though as I had to sometimes spend more dollars on repairs & servicing (exhaust, brakes, tires, etc.) to bring a second hand vehicle up to the condition I want. I did get one truck where I suspect (after the fact) that oil changes were not done frequently and had premature engine wear. He maintained his very well and he had no significant mechanical issues in 20 years.

So - my thoughts are... if you can get a really good price on a new truck, and want to keep it a long time it might be worth it in the long run. Having said that, if you find a 2-3 year old truck with low miles you can save some money due to the initial depreciation. Hopefully, the first owner broke it in properly and maintained it well. Either way - I suspect overall costs of ownership may be similar.

The expensive way to do it is to buy new every 2-3 years, but if you can afford it and that's what you want... so be it.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:01 AM   #11
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We bought our TV used, low miles. Prior to the sale we hired our long-time trusted mechanic to do a complete inspection right in his shop. He then gave us the thumbs up to go forward with the purchase. Hiring him to first inspect was our "insurance policy."
Janet & Leon
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by batman View Post
However the cost of fuel and the greater initial cost of the diesel TV deters me.
Diesel fuel is about 30% more energy dense than gasoline, so the math usually works in favor of diesel fuel over "cheaper" gasoline.
Janet & Leon
2007.5 Dodge 2500 5.9L Cummins 16+ mpg towing
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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I heartily agree with most everything folks have posted so far.

My response is "it depends" on what you want. I think the main thing is to go after the vehicle that has all the features that you want. I bought a new Tundra in 08 because this vehicle had what I wanted- 5.7L motor, 6 speed, double cab, tow haul mode, big brakes and wheels, latest safety features and I could buy it new for 25K. I figure that this truck will easily last me at least 15 years and 300-400k miles. On the other hand when I was in the market for a 2 door coupe car in 2007 there was not any particular new car that I lusted for. I found a 2002 BMW 330ci coupe with 92k miles on it for 16k. This was 40% of the new purchase price. It now has 185k miles on it, run and looks great and it is the best car that I have ever owned. Photo below is from last summer. So figure out what you want, do your homework and go find your tow vehicle.

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Old 01-20-2011, 09:31 AM   #14
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A broad question with many possible answers

To some extent it depends on the specific vehicle. As an example, used Suburbans sell at a greater % discount over new compared to pickups.

Another fact to consider is that if you're looking at 3/4 ton trucks, well, they tend to have a hard life because people who have trucks to drive to work and get groceries buy 1/2 ton ones.

It is my experience that if you're going to wear out a car or truck with miles and usage, and have cash or access to cheap financing, you're probably better off in the long run with new. On the other hand for something that is driven rarely the used car/truck often works out better. This is especially true if your parking situation requires you to keep your car/truck outside much of the time.

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