Jalopnik  5 Things nobody tells you about owning…

Jalopnik: 5 Things nobody tells you about owning a used luxury car. “It’s way cheaper than you’d think.” It’s generally smarter to buy used than new, and you’d be surprised what you can pay cash for or get good financing on these days.

Still, we’ve had mixed luck with this. Bought a used Lexus four years ago with 70k miles (now has 130k) for half the price of a new one. A $750 extended warranty saved us $3,500 when the radio/nav head went out a couple months later. Spent about $500/yr in maintenance and repairs (including new plugs – a major deal) so far which seems pretty good considering the price.

10580116_10203910492379263_7373248199212060883_nWe also fell head over heals for a 2001 BMW Z3 3.0i with 115k miles. I know, I know. “BEEMER, NO WARRANTY? NOOOOOOO!!!!….” The pre-sale inspector found $6k in needed repairs so we talked the seller down a couple grand. A non-dealer repair shop knocked out the repairs and a couple other nits for $5k, giving us a very road-worthy roadster for $11,000. It’s still a couple grand over the book value based on the mileage, but we plan to keep it a while.

I won’t even go into my frustration with our used Lincoln Navigator, except to say we bought it twice, and then some.

Also, it helps to understand the difference between maintenance, which is a sunk cost of ownership, and repair, which is more a function of the quality of the make/model and individual car. 90% of what we’ve spent on these two cars has been maintenance, or in the case of the BMW, back-maintenance. 

Bottom line: Get smart on the one you want so you’ll know what to look out for (and when you’ve found a gem). And spend good money on your pre-sale inspection. Even if they find a number of things needing repair, you’ll have leverage to barter the price and can start planning your fixes on sunny days vice rainy ones.

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