With the recent news stories about diesel emissions, it might be either a great time (if prices drop as owners try to get out of their cars) or a terrible time (if prices rise as people are forced to buy on the used market) to purchase a used diesel vehicle. Either way, because of demand and the diesel’s reputation for reliability, you should expect to pay a premium on used diesel vehicles over an equivalent gasoline model. Be aware that in some places the high cost of diesel fuel means that it may take years and many miles before you save enough in fuel costs to break even. On the flip side, when it comes time to resell the car, you might be able to take advantage of the situation and recoup some of your money.
The diesel engines found in used models are often less powerful than those in current models, but most produced in the last few decades have more than enough power if you’re a little patient. Assuming they’re properly maintained, any modern diesel engine should be easy to start, even in cold weather.
It is important to remember that just because an engine is reliable, the car it is connected to isn’t necessarily going to age as gracefully. Higher mileage examples will probably be in need of suspension work, and rust tends to speed up its pace with age. Before buying any used car, it’s always a good idea to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic who can properly assess the vehicle’s condition. If there is a problem or some maintenance that needs doing and you’re handy, most jobs (including air filter replacement and oil changes) are performed in a manner similar to the equivalent job on a gasoline-powered vehicle.
A used diesel is the right choice for some drivers, but they aren’t right for everyone. If you can get one at a good price, it might pay for itself, especially if you do lots of driving, or alternatively, you might simply prefer the way diesels drive and the way they can handle heavy loads. There are plenty of reasons to love diesel power and to buy a used diesel vehicle.