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I'm considering buying a 10 years old car that had 4 previous owners. I'm told that's a little high. But what's high and what's low, is there a way to tell?

  • Hi @drake035 - I'm afraid this is pretty much a 'shopping question' and so is likely to get closed. You're welcome to ask about it in the chat though. I'd say 4 owners in 10 years sounds about right - 2.5 years per owner on average... – Nick C Aug 28 '18 at 13:56
  • Why does it matter how many owners the car has had? – HandyHowie Aug 28 '18 at 14:00
  • No, but the owners doing short distance does ie “shopping trolleys”... – Solar Mike Aug 28 '18 at 14:17
  • One teenage boy = 12 older people; AKA , one teen can destroy a car. – blacksmith37 Aug 28 '18 at 20:18
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I bought a car that had 3 previous owners and recently sold it. All it means is that each owner had a reason for selling the car. Maybe it was too small for a growing family, maybe it was a fun weekend car that no longer fits in the budget.

Can you see how long each owner kept the car? If it's been through 3 owners in the past 5 years, that tells me the car has something wrong with it.

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    Exactly. If each had them for roughly 2.5 years, I don't see a reason not to. However, if the first owner had it for 7 years and the last only 1 each, that would indicate there might be something wrong with it. – Paramone Aug 28 '18 at 16:56
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A long time ago, I bought a car with 2 owners, both of them having approximately equal ownership time. It had piston slap, which the second owner probably removed temporarily by pouring oil or diesel into the spark plug holes immediately prior to my arrival to the test drive. Although this is just one data point, it proves that you have to be very careful whenever purchasing a used car, no matter whether it's a 1-owner car or 4-owner car.

I wouldn't buy a 10 years old car unless it's some kind of a sports car that has been carefully maintained and otherwise treated well. I also wouldn't buy a car with 4 owners. That's just my opinion. My preference would be a single-owner car if shopping for a used one, and if the budget doesn't allow it, a two-owner car.

Every car I have had that has had nothing seriously wrong with it has been in use by me for 5-6 years. The latest one, a 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid is only 2 years old, but then again I fully intend to have it at least for 4 more years, perhaps even more unless the plug-in-hybrid-electric cars or hydrogen cars become cheap enough for me to purchase one. My bet in the short term is on plug-in-hybrid-electric cars, in the long term hydrogen could perhaps be viable.

10 years, 4 owners. Why would anyone have a car for 2.5 years only?

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