View Full Version : Truck/SUV with 100,000+ miles..... Deal or asking for trouble?

09-13-2011, 03:45 PM
So I'm in need a vehicle for the ever growing family, I've enjoyed no car payments for going on four years so I'm not looking forward to a new payment but our old econo-cars aren't working out so well for a family of four.

I've been looking at trucks and SUV's, I'm not manufacturer driven, though I'd love to buy American. Most of the vehicles in the price range I'm willing to pay (20k max) are used and are 80k to 100k in miles.

My question, how well do these vehicles hold up after that many miles? Should I save up another year or so and buy brand new or are they rugged enough to hold up used?

Thanks for the input.

09-13-2011, 04:03 PM
I don't think there's an easy answer. Vehicle life expectancy depends on the model, how it's been used, how it's been maintained over the years, and on how you intend to use once it's in your possession. IMO: properly maintained, with mostly freeway miles and light to moderate duty, something like a Suburban, or Tahoe, or trucks like the F150/250/350, Tundra or Silverado should be able to give you about 200,000 miles of service.

Craig R
09-13-2011, 04:20 PM
Personally I'd go to craigslist for your area. I've bought and sold many vehicles on C list. If you need help message me. Truck or SUV depends on how much room you need for the family and what you need it for. I know you said family of 4, is a dog in the mix or possibly more children? Third row seats are nice to have. I did a quick search in your area and there are many vehicles to choose from. Ford Explorer, Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, Suburban. Plenty of trucks too if you need it. For the amount of money you mentioned a max of 20K, there are countless possibilities. I had a Suburban with 250,000 miles that ran perfectly when I sold it. I say stay away from new, but that's just my frugal side talking.

How long a vehicle will last is dependent on how well it was taken care of. I had a Toyota truck with 350,000 miles when I sold it, it's still running with 420,000 miles, rusty as hell but runs great, my friend owns it. It had full synthetic oil always just after break in.

For the amount you're willing to spend though I'd look for under 50,000 miles. I've found 5 perfect vehicles, all less than 60,000 miles, for under $5000.
If you don't know much about cars/SUV bring someone who does if you go to look at it. Beware of scams on C list though. There seems to be a lot of foreign princes from far away places on c list these days.

09-13-2011, 04:27 PM
I agree with Hamburg O. I also suggest you check the free net site of Consumer reports. I am good at doing routine maintenance. At 100k you may want to change shocks and springs. U Joints might feel clanky since the &^*&^ quit putting grease fittings on them. These are all driveway mechanic jobs. I have gotten over 200K on everything that I did not physically damage into early retirement.


09-13-2011, 04:51 PM
The Cherokee (aka XJ) Jeep is what's often called a "paycheck Jeep". That means that a good, working, clean example, perhaps looking like it needs paint, can be had for $1000-$2000 at about 100,000 miles. They made millions of them, they are everywhere, and at 100,000 miles, they are halfway to a rebuild if they were cared for.

09-13-2011, 04:59 PM
HamburgO said it.

My preference is well taken care of mid- to late 90s Chevys. Easy to work on, and if well maintained, you can go and go and go and go and go and go...

Grey Man
09-13-2011, 05:39 PM
Lets see . .. . mom's 01 montana killed 5 deer, I put a new engine in it at 190K, a new transmission (not me) at 220K and new shocks at 250K . . .. other than that it was just the usual maintenance. . . . all the way to 365K miles. . . . we sold it to the junkyard . . .I went to the junkyard 4 months later for a new headlight . . .they had stripped the doors off to use it for hauling parts . . .

Last car was a 96 Lumina LS, was running just fine at 230K, original engine, rebuilt trany at 180K miles

My next vehicle will be a durango or an explorer/expedition . . .I can find some with under 80K for 5K . . . .

09-13-2011, 05:46 PM
$20k should give you plenty of options. The general rule is to 1) buy the best condition, 2) best maintained, 3) latest model, & 4) lowest mileage vehicle that you can get, within your budget, by when you need to buy it.

That said, I would shoot for a 2002 or later model year, & 75k miles or less.

I personally would avoid Dodge Durangos.

Ford or Chevy? Sure.

I would also have no problem with a Tojo 4-Runner or a Nissan Pathfinder.

Beyond that, all the rest is commentary.

09-13-2011, 06:08 PM
As a master certified mechanic heres my advice. Ford Explorers and Chevy Blazers tend to be money pits, i would avoid them at all costs. They run for a long time but i can usually write up a list of $1000 worth of repairs that they will need before i even look at them because the same things break on them time after time. Asian vehicles are usually very reliable and long lasting but parts can be expensive when you need to repair them. Any vehicle can be good or bad depending on how well it was maintained. Look for a seller that has maintenance records. Spend a few bucks to have a trusted mechainic do a full check over on any vehicle you are thinking of buying. I work at a Toyota dealership and we see very few problems with 4runners. I currently own a Jeep Commander and have had zero problems with it in the past 50k miles but i have heard that they are prone to electrical problems. I have also had good luck with Dodge Durangos with the Mercedes transmissions in them (2002 and up i believe).

09-13-2011, 06:27 PM
Well my Ranger has 120k on it and my parents jeep has almost 300k on it. If its been taken care of it will run forever lol.

09-13-2011, 06:32 PM
We have dealers here advertising brand new F150's and Silverados for less than that! Granted they are "strippers" with no options, but brand new!?!

09-13-2011, 10:03 PM
300K is the new 100K. With the improvements in the additive packages in motor oil, most modern cars will be falling apart before the engine needs a major overhaul.

09-13-2011, 10:51 PM
I bought a 2000 Toyota Tacoma a number of years ago with 120,000 miles on it. The thing runs flawlessly. For that money, I would highly recommend the 4 runner. fantastic vehicles.

Gun Mutt
09-14-2011, 06:25 AM
Most of the vehicles in the price range I'm willing to pay (20k max) are used and are 80k to 100k in miles.
I'm in the car business and things must be very different in WA than IN. Check out this truck (http://www.tomobrienindy.com/certified/Dodge/2008-Dodge-Dakota-807797690a0d048e00825de5f06a885f.htm). This is what $20k looks like to me. I don't know anything about WA taxes or doc fees, but in IN, if you wanted to be out the door at $20k, your actual offer would be:

- 1,400 (IN 7% sales tax)
- 150 (doc fees)
- 32 (BMV title fee)
$18,418 (selling price)

I'm not trying to sell anything, I'm just trying to give you an insider's view. Look at a local Dodge dealership and pm me if you find something there that interests you, I'll tell you if it looks like a good deal or not.

09-14-2011, 11:12 AM
Wow, thanks for all the great input. I'm pretty sure we're leaning towards the SUV, something like a Tahoe or Yukon; I'm finding quite a bit on craigslist in the range and actually a bunch of dealerships in that range as well.

I'm not the most mechanically inclined but my circle of buds is deep with mechanics so I've got lot's a people to make sure I'm not buying something that will be trouble.

I won't be off-roading or anything in it, just living the suburban life with some camping trips thrown in, dog to be added to the unit soon.

I'll keep you guys posted on what I come up with or if I've got some more questions.

10-29-2011, 06:34 AM
The wife's main is a 96 Chevy HD 3/4 ton 4x4 with 190,000 on the clock. The drive train is still solid, has a few leaks, can tell the 350 is getting tired, but most everything lasted longer than recommended replacement timelines (injectors, u-joints). I plan on putting in a crate engine this year or next and keep driving it, momma pulls a gooseneck 4 horse trailer all over creation with the thing.

10-29-2011, 06:48 AM
Like others have said, the risk really depends on how it was used and maintained. Chevy, GMC, Ford for "typical" or what I refer to now as hybrid American Trucks/SUVs. IMO trucks (definitely) and SUV's (most times) are worthless without 4WD.

$20K seems way too high for something with 80-100k miles. I bought a slightly used 05 Tundra Doublecab 4wd limited with 36k in 08 for just under $20k in nearly immaculate condition and the maintenance record was superb. FWIW Toyota trucks are made by Americans (No Unions) in Indiana and Texas. Chevy/Ford - Mexico or Canada. The lines have been blurred on the buy American theme for some time.

10-29-2011, 06:56 AM
Another master mechanic here and all I can say is it really depends. I have 200k on my 97 silverado and it is still going strong. On the other hand I have seen trucks with half the mileage and in much worse condition. Most vehicles these days are good to go around 100k as long as they have been maintained, but a lot of people do not take care of their stuff. I agree that you should have someone who knows about cars look it over before buying. I have an 03 durango with around 100k that has also been great, although the gas mileage sucks. Sorry that there is not much more to say...way to many variables.

10-29-2011, 07:56 AM
(not advertise, just providing data)I'm selling my 2002 Ford Ranger for between $3500-4000. It has ~130K on it and is in great shape minus 1 dent and the usual scratches you'd expect from a nearly 10 year old vehicle.
My daily is a '98 Expidition with ~150K. I'm in the process of getting an electrical issue sorted out, but this thing should go another 100KMI before it's ready to be recycled. The reason I'm keeping it is because it is nearly the perfect vehicle - tows trailers, has enough room to haul a family of 4 + 2 dogs and all their shit across the country. Buy one from craigs list for less than $5000. Biggest issue is getting kicked in the nuts everytime you fill up the tank (my bikes get 40+ MPG so it balances out).

I'd like to replace the 98 with an older Bronco (old school - carbs and minimal electronics)....but that won't happen for a while.

Anyway - have fun shopping.

10-30-2011, 07:55 AM
Around DFW the talk is the price of used vehicles is high because of the shortage caused by "Cash for Clunkers". I'm leasing a 08 Tacoma and can buy out the lease for $9k. The same truck is going for around $12k at the lots. I'll be buying the truck.

10-30-2011, 07:58 AM
The Cherokee (aka XJ) Jeep is what's often called a "paycheck Jeep". That means that a good, working, clean example, perhaps looking like it needs paint, can be had for $1000-$2000 at about 100,000 miles. They made millions of them, they are everywhere, and at 100,000 miles, they are halfway to a rebuild if they were cared for.
I wish... My 2000 XJ had 116000 miles on it when I got it, but around here you would be lucky to find a nice one for less than $5000. Great vehicle though, and 10 years after they quit making them, they are still tons of them on the road.