3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Discontinued Used Car Purchase

February 22nd, 2019 by

A red Chevy El Camino in a parking lot

Purchasing a brand spanking new car is not the right path for everyone. New vehicles can be expensive, both in outright cost and depreciation value. Any financial guru will tell you that paying cash while shopping for used cars is the most financially responsible way to buy a car. But is it a good idea to purchase a car that is discontinued or older model?

Of course, there are positives and negatives to getting a discontinued car, just as there would be both pros and cons when searching for a newer model that is still being manufactured. While it is still a bit of an investment to purchase a discontinued model, it may save you even more money than selecting a used car that is still in production or a brand new vehicle straight off the assembly line. That being said, you want to be sure you are getting a reliable vehicle that won’t need replacing or major repairs as soon as you drive it off the lot, and that you are spending your money wisely.

Is It a Financially Sound Decision?

Purchasing and driving a discontinued used car can be financially savvy, but if you are not informed enough about the potential negatives, the decision could also end up costing you more in the long run. It is all dependent on the make and model, as well as the age of the vehicle. In fact, some models may be considered classic or vintage. Buying and fixing up a classic car can get expensive, but selling it once repaired can be quite lucrative. This is most often only done by rare car collectors and those who enjoy working on the cars themselves.

The majority of people interested in buying a used, discontinued car should plan to drive that car for several years in order for it to be a smart financial investment. Most discontinued cars have a lower resale value; therefore, if you are the type of person that likes to trade in your car every couple of years or so, it wouldn’t be wise for you to choose a discontinued model. Many dealerships or automakers may offer buying incentives to get consumers to purchase their recently discontinued models. Then again, the car may also depreciate faster because of potential repair issues. That being said, there are a lot of resale variables, so depreciation is not an exact science.

What Does Maintenance Look Like?

Maintenance and potential future repairs are a large area of concern when owning a discontinued car. For the most part, this worry can be put to rest. In the world of internet shopping, access to discontinued car parts is more attainable than ever.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a discontinued car. The first is that the older the car, the more difficult it may be to find replacement parts. Single-make cars, especially those that become collector’s items, will be harder to find parts for. However, these examples are usually exceptions. In the case of most discontinued, newer models you do not need to worry at all.

The more mainstream the vehicle, the more access you will have to repair parts. When considering a discontinued model, it is wise to purchase the car from a brand that is still in business. Many car models manufactured by large automotive companies have several parts in common with other models made by the same company. This makes it even easier to find spare parts for discontinued models.

It is also important to remember that just because a specific model was discontinued in your market, doesn’t mean the automaker stopped manufacturing the vehicle. Often, a car that was discontinued in North America due to unpopularity might still be sold elsewhere. This is where internet shopping or getting in touch with the automaker directly comes in handy. Parts from anywhere in the world could be delivered to your doorstep, or even straight to your mechanic.

You may get lucky enough to find a discontinued model that is still new, thus eliminating some of the worry surrounding long term repair concerns. In the case of newer models, say maybe a car that was discontinued after the 2018 or 2019 model, you may be able to get large discounts at the dealership because that model has been discontinued. In these instances, it is possible that the manufacturer may continue to honor the warranty if the car is still within the allotted time frame. The automobile manufacturers often continue to stock parts, even after a specific model is discontinued in order to be able to assist customers.

An orange Chevy Aveo

Will It Be Reliable?

Reliability is a concern when buying any vehicle. The best protection against buying an unreliable car is to know what to look for. As you would when purchasing any used car, you’ll want to find out the car’s personal history. This can be done by using programs like Carfax to check on reported wrecks and other possible repairs that have been done on the car. You will also want to have it inspected by a professional mechanic that you trust who knows exactly what to check and can give you an estimate on potential future repairs. Additionally, you should always test drive any car you are interested in purchasing. Not only will this give you a feel for the car, but you will also be able to make sure everything is in working order and listen for any strange sounds or glitches.

In the case of purchasing a discontinued model, the first things you will want to check for are any recall repairs or significant maintenance problems. Despite the fact that most models are discontinued due to sales, there may have been maintenance issues to begin with. If the specific model had recalls, make sure they have been addressed.


Regardless of whether you choose a new, used or discontinued vehicle, it is certainly a financially sound decision to stay in the same car as long as possible. If you happened to snag a great deal on a discontinued model that is in good condition, your budget will be that much better off for the purchase. While purchasing a discontinued used car may not offer the most appealing aesthetics, reliability and affordability might just win out when it comes to purchasing your next new-to-you car.

When considering a discontinued used car purchase, remember to ask yourself these important questions to determine the best course of action and whether or not its the right vehicle choice for you. Always look at the current and future reliability of the vehicle, and whether the car is due for repairs in the near future. You’ll want to weigh these factors in deciding whether a discontinued, used car is a sound financial decision that will serve you for years to come.

Posted in Used Cars