Sept. 18--Edmunds.com last week released its annual list of Best Used Cars for 2013, a list of 17 cars across every segment based on "the most important criteria: reliability, safety, value and availability."
Honda and Toyota are each represented four times on the list, and three of the vehicles are made by Ford.
Wider availability of a particular vehicle almost always translates to more competitive prices and better value for used-car shoppers, the website said. Eligibility is limited to cars originally sold from 2006 through 2011.
Edmunds.com's editors are often asked what the best used-car choices are, so they present the collective opinions of their editorial staff via the list.
Eligibility is limited to vehicles from 2 to 7 years old for the following reasons: Older vehicles will probably have too many miles, and newer ones will not have fully taken the large depreciation hit that typically makes a 2- or 3-year-old car (with low miles) the best value. For these reasons, its list is limited to used cars with model years ranging from 2006 through 2011.
"There are a lot of popular cars on this list, and that's not a surprise," says Edmunds.com Editor-in-Chief Scott Oldham. "Wider availability of a particular vehicle almost always translates to more competitive prices and better value for used car shoppers."
Routine care key to keeping a car running
Pinchpennies throughout time have pointed to the family truckster and said, "I'm going to drive that into the ground." What they mean is, "I'm going to keep that old car running forever so I don't have to buy a new one," but then they actually do drive it into a major breakdown and an early trip to the auto graveyard.
Auto technicians tell us the key to keeping vehicles running well for now and on into the future is routine maintenance. But most car owners take their vehicles for granted, rarely change their oil and drive them around with old worn belts and leaky hoses.
A recent Car Care Council survey ( tulsaworld.com/CCCsurvey0413) found that 22 percent of cars had low or dirty engine oil, 20 percent had inadequate cooling protection, 19 percent had dirty air filters, 18 percent had low or contaminated brake fluid and 14 percent needed new belts.
For motoring readers' convenience, the council developed a service interval schedule to help keep track of regular maintenance -- at tulsaworld.com/CCCServInterSkd
Most of its checks and services can be performed at little or no cost. Best of all, they are quick and easy to do.
The About.com website offers some good, basic advice on how and why you should form and contribute to an auto maintenance fund at tulsaworld.com/AboutCarFund
It recommends following your owners manual maintenance schedule and checking your car's "maintenance minder" -- guidelines for service frequency. But double-check your owner's manual because some items need to be replaced based on age rather than mileage.
Most cars need to have their timing belts replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. It's not cheap, but it's far less expensive than the damage it causes when the belt breaks.
Repair fund: "Cars do break, and there's nothing like a $1,500 repair bill to scare an old-car owner into the new-car showroom," the website says. "Remember, your car would have to generate repair bills of around $5,000 per year for at least four years in a row to even approach the cost of a new car.
"In place of your payment, try putting $100 or $200 per month into an interest-bearing car-repair account. That way an unexpected repair or major maintenance won't disrupt your normal cash flow."
The Best Used Cars for 2013 by segment:
Subcompact sedan: 2007-2011 Honda Fit
Compact sedan: 2006-2011 Hyundai Elantra
Midsize sedan: 2007-2011 Ford Fusion
Large sedan: 2006-2011 Toyota Avalon
Coupe: 2006-2011 Honda Accord
Convertible: 2006-2011 Volvo C70
Wagon: 2006-2011 Subaru Outback
Compact SUV/crossover: 2006-2011 Honda CR-V
Midsize SUV/crossover: 2006-2011 Toyota Highlander
Large SUV/crossover: 2007-2011 Mazda CX-9
Minivan/van: 2006-2011 Honda Odyssey
Compact truck: 2006-2011 Toyota Tacoma
Large truck: 2006-2011 Ford F-150
Luxury: 2006-2011 Infiniti G35/G37/G25
Hybrid: 2006-2011 Toyota Prius
Two-seat sports car: 2006-2011 Chevrolet Corvette
Performance car: 2006-2011 Ford Mustang GT
Tulsa World consumer writer Phil Mulkins wants to know which topics interest you. Call 918-699-8888, email your suggestion to email@example.com or mail it to Tulsa World Consumer, P.O. Box 1770, Tulsa, OK 74102-1770.
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Original headline: Best Used Cars for 2013: Honda, Toyota, Ford dominate Edmunds list
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