Questions & Answers
Why are the one year old models ranked so low and differently than the other years?
The one year old models have very low inventory levels in the late winter / early spring when we run our first major update. In some cases dealers still have plenty of new, or extremely low mileage, vehicles that they list as "new" mixed into their listings. We planned on weighting these on a case by case basis, but we didn't have quite enough data points yet. On average there were 20-25% of these model years available to purchase spanning all makes. Hence the ~75% negative weight since it's difficult to recommend vehicles that are quite hard to find. This is a new adjustment as we had more than a few comments last year on ranking the one year old models too high. Once enough data is available to score these across all models, we then plan to migrate this from a general static weight to a more dynamic one. This will be more evident later in the year as the inventories mature.
Why twelve years?
A properly maintained car could last well beyond 12 years. However, the probability of major repairs increases significantly and those costs can vary greatly. When we say there are so many "years left" that doesn't mean the vehicle will just need to go to the crusher where the chart ends. It is the years remaining of predicable repair and maintenance costs. It can be a real gamble after that if you aren't entirely certain of how well the car was taken care of. We don't want to recommend model years that we simply don't know enough about from a data standpoint.
Why isn't my make or model listed?
Our calculations are only reliable on long running nameplates, or model available new and that have existed for at least the past 5 years. We are constantly adding new data so if you see something that we may have missed, please let us know
Can this help me to sell my car?
Absolutely! We don't have a formula for exactly when to sell, but you can use the depreciation curves for any available make or model to help you decide when might be most advantageous. Ideally, you would want to sell before a steep drop, but it can depend on many other factors as well. If you are looking to sell or trade, CarGurus.com
is a great resource.
How does this work?
UsedFirst.com is as a tool to assist car shoppers in finding the best used value based on typical depreciation trends by brand & model. We determine this by sorting on the difference between the full price paid and the average listing price the past twelve model years spanning all trim levels. We also factor in what typical maintenance will cost for this particular model in each of those years.
What is Net Used Value ® / Net Used Index?
Net Used Value ® / Index is a formula that helps us select the best model years to buy based on depreciation trends & timing. We subtract the percentage paid at each year from the original price and factor in typical maintenance costs for that make & model. The remaining figure is simply a ranking & sorting index. The higher the number, the more retained value.
How accurate is this?
Our figures seem to be on par with other smaller scale studies that we have come across. It is definitely not perfect though! It is only as good as the data that we have available. We are constantly looking for more and better data, so it should continue to become more refined as we make new partnerships. This is a depreciation awareness tool to guide shoppers. It should be used alongside many other online resources that focus on pricing, reviews, etc.
Why was this site created?
We've seen studies, articles & rankings on a variety of platforms, but never in one place with a formula that suggests which years are better and why. We are aware that this is not an exact science, but not much is when car shopping. At the very least, we hope that this site helps car shoppers to be aware of how different makes and model depreciate before making their purchase in order to get the best "bang for the buck." Who doesn't want to get the most value out of any purchase?
Should I buy a new or used car?
Buying new with rebates, paying cash, properly maintaining then holding for the lifetime of the vehicle is the best financial approach. However, we are not all Warren Buffet. Auto technology changes, families grow, models feel stale, maybe it's just time for something different or one of a million other reasons that we switch vehicles every so often. In our opinion, buying a used car at the right time can help you fulfill whatever that purpose is for a lot less money than purchasing new every few years.