Q: My family is in the market for a used minivan. What advice would you give in terms of brand, miles ECT for the 2-5k market?

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There is so much information online about the goods and bads of many minivans, but this seems to be generally consistent, Foreign cars last longer, but get less bang for your buck, while domestic is less reputable but more bang for your buck How do we make a good decision and where is the balance point? Is a 04' Toyota sienna with 150k miles as valuable as an 09' dodge caravan with 120k miles?


Hi there:

When you read most online used car reviews, they typically articulate the same concerns you addressed; foreign cars typically lasting longer, but domestic having higher resale; etc. However, anytime I’m thinking about buying any used car, I consider three things. First, how many miles per year have been put on the vehicle? If it’s over 25,000 per year, it’s likely the vehicle has been driven pretty hard and might be prone to expensive repairs. Second, how long do I plan to keep it? If you’re looking for a short term solution, then considering resale value is important; so Toyota, Dodge and Chevrolet tend to be good bets here. Third, always have the vehicle inspected by a mobile mechanic to complete a pre-purchase inspection. This will allow a professional mechanic to determine if there are potential issues that could lead to expensive repairs.

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