Should I buy a used diesel?

I have driven Volvos with tremendous satisfaction since 1970, currently a V70 diesel estate, but now at 82 I am finding it difficult to get in and out of, mainly due to the low profile of modern cars these days. My daughter has suggested a Volkswagen Touran would help my problem, but being a Volvo addict I am considering the XC60. At my age I feel to buy a new model (of any make) to be a waste of money as soon as you drive off the forecourt. Recently you mentioned that modern diesels are perfect for drivers doing 15,000 - 30,000 miles a year before potentially disastrous problems from fleet cars. As I've been looking on the net at used cars, would I be advised to avoid any diesel with more than 15,000 miles on the clock?

Asked on 9 March 2013 by GF, via email

Answered by Honest John
You have slightly misinterpreted what I wrote. Modern diesels still make sense for fleet drivers driving 15,000 - 50,000 miles a year, or for lower annual mileages composed of runs of more than 30 miles. They are usually disposed of by the fleets at three or four years old with 60,000 - 120,000 miles on them. These ex-fleet cars are not good buys for private motorists because most of the things that go wrong with modern diesels are then about to go wrong: Diesel Particulate Filters, Dual Mass Flywheels, EGR valves, turbos and timing belts. On a car you paid £5000 for you could be in for £5000 of expenditure. Unless you intend driving more than 15,000 miles a year (or always drive more than 30 miles at a time) and will dispose of the car after three or four years, I would not buy a diesel.
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