New Car Dilemma


OK we have an 02 Ford Explorer. It does not have a 3rd row seat. We will need more space when #3 arrives b/c 3 car seats will not fit across the bench seat. 3 kids in car seats-Am I crazy!!! Anyway, we also want a new car to lower our payments which are currently 435.00/month. There is a 2004Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer Edition with captains chairs in the back (middle row) and 3rd row seating. It is listed at 17,998. They are not budging on the price. Our payment would be almost 100 less than they are now and it’s a better car. We just aren’t sure if it is wise to purchase a 2004. We have to keep in mind that we make much less money than we did before so a brand new car is out of the question for us right now. The Expedition has 60,000 miles on it. Do you think that the car is too old and has too many miles on it to buy. We would have a 54 month loan so it would be paid off in 4.5 years. Would it even be worth anything at that time? We also have to spend $1500 to pay the difference on our explorer. We do have the money b/c the realestate mareket has improved somewhat and I sell new homes, but you never know when the selling streak is going to end. We have to get a new car sometime. This is just a great price. What to do what to do.


I think 60k miles is too much, personally…and you could find a 2006 or 2007 model (they want to get 2007 models off their hands) for relatively the same price you are paying now. My family and I were faced with a similiar situation back in the summer. We too had a 2002 Ford…and it was making strange noises…nearly paid off…so we decided to buy a brand new Honda Accord (2007) back in July, and the payments were $100 more than that Ford. But your insurance will go up on a new car…for a variety of reasons, so there are other things to think about. I would opt for a car that has no more than 25k miles, because I could see that car lasting longer than one with 60k. But if you feel that this is a good price, and good car…then maybe it might not be a bad deal. I just think you could find something with less miles. Hope I’ve helped! :slight_smile:


Melissa, I think paying that much for a car that has 60K miles is not wise. We bought our 4 door, 6 seater, 2003 Dodge Ram (with big rims and step rail and all set up for big hauling) with 27K miles 1.5 yr ago for about the same price you’re looking at.

Have you taken a look at Honda Vans? The new ones aren’t so expensive and are wonderful looking. 2 months ago, when I was pg, we were thinking of upgrading my sedan to either the Honda van or the Toyota van, they’re both good looking.

Price wise, that Expedition is too much money because of the milage. If I got a Ram for that price with less than half the miles as that Expedition, you can do way better!!


Yes–get a Honda–they are great vehicles!:thumbsup: (but I’m biased, we own one hee hee):smiley:


I have 3 kids as well and we were just in the market for a vehicle with 3rd row seating and I looked at a used Expedition myself - but the bad gas mileage made me reconsider.

Do you need an SUV or do you just need 3rd row seeting? After considering my family’s situation I realized we did not need an SUV for the family vehicle (I have a little Wrangler I use for my needs).

Long story short - we purchased a 2000 Olds Silhouette with only 41K miles and we could not be happier. Sedan like handling and ride, power everything (including remote controlled powered sliding door), 30 mpg, and best of all it was only $7,500 (after haggling). Seats 7 or 8 (I forget), all the seats fold up and out, etc.

After owning a mini-van like this, there is no way we would ever go back to a big SUV for the family vehicle. I should have gotten one of these ages ago.

Just my 2 cents. God Bless.

Edit to add: BTW, it is a 2000 but it looked brand new so I didn’t mind with the low mileage and lower price.


I can’t comment on whether it’s a good or bad deal, I’m terrible at that! However, I will mention a few things–there have been a few threads about choosing cars for a growing family around here that had tons of info. Also you might look at
these are really narrow seats and might be able to seat 3 across, we have 2 of these and they have worked great. And finally, whatever car you choose, make sure you are able to access EASILY, those children whom you have to buckle in the rearmost seats. The biggest relief for us was when our older children could buckle themselves into the rear seat.

God bless,


Yes, you may look at different seats. We fit three across in a 2002 CR-V and in a 2001 SAAB 9-5. I’ve even heard of people fitting three across in the Toyota Prius. I wouldn’t go for an Expedition with that many miles. It would be a headache in 4.5 years and you’d be upside down in your loan. I’d also advise caution before going with certain models of used Honda Odysseys. The 5 speed Honda automatic from a few years back is a known weak point in that van. Research the technical bulletins, though, as Honda frequently replaces them out of warranty due to their high failure rate.


It honestly depends on a couple of factors.

  1. Is the 60,000 miles mostly highway or city miles?

  2. How well was the vehicle maintained? Me and my wife do mostly city miles, so we go above and beyond the oil changes and do fuel injector cleanings and brake fluid changes and other maintenance as necessary to account for the increased wear and tear city miles brings. Demand meticulous service records if you are going to pay a high price. Poperly maintained, a car should easily last 10 years.

  3. How many miles a year do you drive? If you only do 10K or less, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. If you do 20-30K a year, you won’t be saving money in the long run.

PROPERLY MAINTAINED- there should be no reason a car can’t last for a very long time. When I was in college in 94, I brought a new Saturn SL. Maintained it to the hilt…all of the recommended services. Took it to 129K in 9 years with no major problems. Then I sold it to my step-brother a few years back, and he has it at 148K with no major problems.

I know it can be easy to do, but DO NOT buy a car based on the monthly payment. Look at the total cost (insurance, maintenance, expected longevity). One may cost more, but be cheaper to repair in the long run. Also, with a used car, expect a few repairs here and there…but remember they are cheaper then new car payments!

Lastly, I would personally look at a minivan. When me and the wife went out to buy a new car with the kids coming in 2004 I discovered that a minivan was about 10K cheaper then a comparably equipped SUV and got at least 5 mpg better mileage. And that adds up in all of the years you will own the vehicle. Also we got the Chrysler Town & Country with the fold down seating in the second and third rows. We have fit a couch in there, and it has more cubic footage then a Chevy Suburban when you do that…so it would work when you need to carry something huge (which, let’s face it, for most families is only a couple of times a year).

Whatever you do, good luck to you!



Can one of the children climb to the third row and buckle himself/herself in? Not very convenient if he/she can’t. you will have to climb in and to the back to help him.

We just purchased a 2005 Eddie Bauer Expedition about 6months ago. It had 50,000 miles on it and it was $24,000. Brand new this vehicle would cost $50,000. It’s a beautiful and luxurious SUV. The thing that sold us was that it was “certified” meaning it had been gone through by the dealership and was warrantied for up to 75,000 or 3 years (whichever came first). Then, we purchased another warranty on top of that to take it up to 100,000 miles or 5 years. Our deductable is $100 and we already had a major repair. Can you purchase a warranty for it?
We get 15.8 miles to the gallons. It is expensive to drive, but my husband feels it is worth it for the safety. Good luck!


One thing you might want to doi is go to and see what they can tell you about the car you are thinking about buying.



I’m concerned that the fuel costs on the Expedition will be ruinous. I have an old Suburban and it’s terrible on gas. A friend just bought a newer Ford van that does ok on the highway but gets about 7.5 mpg in town.


It would definitely be worth your while to look into narrow car seats. We have two very narrow Britax Star riser boosters and a great big Triumph car seat in the back of our minivan and the kids can even buckle themselves in the boosters without scraping knuckles. We used to have an even narrower car but I can’t remember what kind of car seat we had along with the Star risers. Anyway I have heard of people getting three car seats in the back of a two door Civic.


I have a 2001 Ford Focus wagon that is a great alternative to an SUV.

I know it seats three full baby seats across the back row because I haul my little siblings.

Mileage is great. My family’s suburban gets barely 12 mpg. My focus gets 28mpg.

The wagon is low to the ground for very easy loading of kids, but it also has a big back with more space than the typical SUV or even minivan.

Also, thanks to Ford’s designs, the wagon is stylish and not like a station wagon.

I got the car last year for $2800. It was a fleet car and a friend at a shop had overhauled the engine and tranny.

P.s. try to get an idea on the pricing.


I have a Honda Odyssey minivan that brand new cost only a little more than that 2004 Expedition. I think minivans tend to be a better deal than SUV’s. You can also get a better loan on a brand new vehicle if the monthly payment is a big issue to you. It’s something to consider…


KBB can have some unrealistic prices sometimes. I’ve found Consumer Reports to be more accurate. Not free, though…:o

As far as miles go, city or highway, 50k is a lot to begin with on an American car. Without a warranty, I’d stay away. You can go a long way, but you have a good chance of being nickel and dimed into debt.


Watch out for the old-model Ford Focus. The 2000-2002 Ford Focus is notorious for having numerous mechanical problems. (I should know, I used to have one…the suspension collapsed while I was going 60MPH and the car froze to a halt on the interstate. The engine was also sputtering for several minutes after starting it. The car only had 80,000 miles!)

Ford fixed most of the problems in the 2003 and later models.


Melissa, 60,000 miles on that Ford Expedition is nothing to be concerned about. I have a 1999 Explorer that has over 172,000 miles on it and it runs fine. Yes, I’ve had to put money into it as it has gotten older but it has never failed me. I won’t drive it long distances anymore, and we plan to buy a new Ford Escape this summer. We need back doors for son #1 due in two weeks.

The 2004 Expedition was built on a Ford F-150 pickup truck frame. It’s basically a Ford truck with back seats instead of a pickup truck box. Ford trucks just don’t die unless the owner treats them like garbage. At 60,000 miles, you’ll get a lot more miles out of it. I had 55,000 miles on my Explorer after just two years.

You may be able to get your kids into a Honda minivan but you won’t get anything else inside. The Ford will have more interior room and a luggage rack on top to allow for more storage. The Ford will be better in bad weather if that’s a concern for you.

There is one other thing to consider. Japanese cars tend to have uncomfortable seats. This year, I rented a Nissan Altima when we were in Fort Lauderdale, and I rented a Subaru Forester to drive to Toronto. Japanese car seats are hard and uncomfortable. My wife was in the early stages of pregnancy when we rented those cars and she despised both of them. The seats were like rocks. Years ago I drove an Acura and it felt like sitting on a concrete slab.


I’ve heard of that, but everything was overhauled on this car. My friend at the shop was going to use it for racing.


Is a minivan out of the question? I loved my minivan. It sat 7, so plenty of room when Granny wanted to come, or any buddies. They are usually pretty inexpensive and lately, there are really really great car incentives, even on new cars. The gas won’t be as much either.
We have a ford escape now, it handles really well, but a lot less room. We seem to fill it up with gas a lot too.


I should have mentioned, we also have a 1998 Eddie Bauer Expedition (think we like them?? :wink: ) and it has 160,000 miles on it. It is doing fine .

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit