In One Chart: Why buying a 10-year-old car on Black Friday is a savvy move

November 23
16:04 2017

Want to make sure your new ride won’t wreck your budget? Here’s a chart that might help.

In a corner of Reddit devoted to visual representations of data, users have buzzed about a graphic that looks at different approaches to car ownership.

The graphic, shown below, indicates that the cheapest thing to do is to buy a 10-year-old used vehicle, keep it for five years, and then repeat.

The most expensive approach is buy a brand new car, keep it for five years, and then do that again.

Is it ever cheaper to go with a brand new car rather than a used car?

Yes. The graphic indicates that if you buy new and keep that ride for 20 years, that will cost you less than buying a three-year-old used vehicle that you drive for 15 years.

The reactions from Reddit users to the graphic have run the gamut. It doesn’t cover leasing, so some tout that approach. “I always lease cars with no money due at signing at $ 150-$ 250 a month,” a user wrote.

“Buying 3 years old seems to be a good sweet spot,” said another user. “Just suggested that to my girlfriend one week ago, and I’m glad that I sort of nailed it.”

Read more: People rarely ask these questions when buying a car — but they should

Go here for a larger version of the graphic from Reddit user NMTXINSC. Go here for the ensuing discussion — and here for the data behind the visualization.

Hat tip to the Daily Shot newsletter for highlighting this graphic.

Note that most high-volume car companies posted strong U.S. sales in October, setting the stage for a strong finish in 2017, though Ford F, -0.41%  was the lone Detroit player to report a gain last month. Car buyers have been stretching their loan payments to record lengths recently to get in pricier vehicles.

This is an updated version of a story first published on June 26, 2017.

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