Which makes this Craigslist ad all the more remarkable, because it is very funny. First, the ad in full.

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Toyota Corolla. Review another car ». How much do you like this car? Would you buy it again?

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Low-mileage, relatively young used cars are often a bad deal. Why did we buy such old cars? New cars depreciate at an astronomical rate and when you buy one, you bear the burden for all of this depreciation. Depreciation: a reduction in the value of an asset with the passage of time, due in particular to wear and tear.

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Ok so depreciation is when something loses value over time because it gets worn out. You can see why this is an issue with cars what with their tendency to age and add mileage. Carfax offers this metric:.

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The value of a new vehicle can drop by more than 20 percent after the first 12 months of ownership. Then, for the next four years, you can expect your car to lose 10 percent of its value annually. Wait, Mrs. Frugalwoods, I thought you just said to buy used cars!?!

Although cars experience an initial burst of depreciation, the key to getting a screaming deal is to wait for their depreciation to essentially flat line. A low mileage, relatively new used car is still going to experience a lot of depreciation, which makes it a fairly bad deal for you, the savvy car purchaser. You guys, I have a degree in creative writing, not math….

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Please enjoy the below graph showing four different years of Toyota Prius, and and their corresponding depreciation rates from to The red star indicates the year we bought our Toyota Prius. As you can see, the Prius had already experienced a great deal of depreciation when we bought it. For comparison, you can see that the other years of Prius graphed, and appear on track to depreciate in similar fashion.

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The best case scenario when buying a used car is to identify the sweet spot where depreciation flat lines or close to itbut where the car still has lots of life left. One one hand, this is a crap shoot.

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On the other hand, this is not a crap shoot because you have the internet and the internet has open source data sets! You can research the crap out of your next used car purchase and make an excellent, informed choice.

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All cars are not created equal and some makes and models are better than others and run longer than others. There, I said it. Cold, hard fact. I made these graphs using the data on CarGurus. As these graphs show, there is indeed a steep initial depreciation with the Toyota Prius and most carsbut the real sweet spot occurs years later.

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Whoa, buddy! You gotta go older! I know a lot of you are averse to this idea. Well, so do I! I like to buy brand new cars in order to avoid maintenance issues.

The hard core, I like to think. My husband—Mr. Frugalwoods—and I use spreheets to quantify, compare, and record just about every aspect of our lives. What can I say, it makes stuff easier! Back to the task at hand: Mr. FW is in charge of our vehicle maintence logs.

He keeps records on our tractor, both cars, his chainsaw, and the lawn mower. For ease of sharing these documents with each other, we use Google docs and sheets. TLDR: not much. This log does not include the cost of the tires themselves, which is covered in our monthly expense reports see last month for our most recent tire purchases.

Why buying a low mileage used car is the worst of both worlds

Two carseats in the back of the Prius! So no, this is not universally applicable. Yes, you could end up with a lemon of a used car. Plus, worst case scenario: you decide your older used car is not the car for you and so you re-sell it for close to what you paid for it.

How is this possible? Because if you buy a car after most of its depreciation occurs, you can then re-sell the car for close to what you paid for it!

The story behind that hilarious toyota corolla craigslist ad

This is not apocryphal. This is what we did. Read below.

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This is a pretty modest rate of depreciation and proof that you can buy used and re-sell used and not lose all that much money. Prior to this, Mr. Oh yeah, I was cool. As I said, super cool.

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Totally 90s with your thoughts here, though I came to the conclusion via slightly different maths when looking to replace my car recently! Purchase price divided by of years I sex car will last me…as you statedthere chat be maintenance regardless. I do the same thing to compare used cars. In NE cars do not last as long as in other parts of the country once they start really rusting, good luck getting them to pass inspection so it really matters how many drive-able years are corrola.

When researching to purchase a new tacoma to replace my husbands 15 year old one, I would dived the purchase price by how many years they cyber left to be in reasonably good shape.

I found that 4 year old trucks were the sweet spot. The cheaper older trucks actually cost more per year then the newer ones. My theory on why that happens is that most people looking to buy used are trying to keep things to a certain price point 10k and that creates greater demand for the older trucks and raises the price. Id like somwthing new but can part with my 02 corolla bought new and babied.

Next ill get a 4yr old Lexus. By the way, your mechanic is really affordable. Yep — excellent points.

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Additionally, to maximize the absolute value of a car is difficult. If you can, just own the cheapest base version of a reliable manufacturer. It also depends on your needs of the vehicle too. Because it is old and not very attractive for thieves and is mostly driven by families low-risk driversit costs little insurance also because I drive 30 years accident-free. I will drive it until it has to be scrapped — because I drive very little. After that I will not buy a new car — because another good option, which is becoming more and more popular in Europe: Car sharing.

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In my city, the local public transport companies offer a subscription in combination with a monthly ticket. You automatically have the basic fee for car sharing included.

Your data. your experience.

Various cars for car sharing are available at fixed parking lots throughout the city. You book an available car using your online, the customer card is equipped with an RFID chip that serves as a key.

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You only pay for the distance driven. Gas, maintenance service etc. A perfect solution for all those who live in a city, drive little and sometimes need a small and sometimes a big car — because they offer different types including Smart, convertible, E-cars, small trucks. In my hometown I drive a Jeep Liberty, bought in with 41, miles and paid off long ago.

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