I buy only one owner used vehicles. Multiple owners - the potential for fraud is there. The current seller may know nothing about what previous owners had done to car, ie. accidents, floods, etc. 40,000 insurance totaled cars went onto used car dealerships after the Texas flood a few years back. With clean titles.
Also, never buy a car that has been sitting for a long time. Everything "freezes up" including brakes, tires have flat spots, etc.
Stay away from any car that has been repainted or any parts that have been repainted. Might have been a good body shop or might not.
Obviously, if you are buying an inexpensive car that looks and runs good, then buy it.
Two things make a car wear out. Miles on odometer and age. Either can provide you with high repair bills. But I would prefer an older car with low miles, then a newer car with high miles. The water pump, alternator, etc. is made to only go around so many times. Then they quit.
What about a new "rebuilt" motor or transmission. Well, it really depends. Who did the rebuild? The 18 year old new mechanic at the Ford dealership by reading the transmission manual? No age discrimation here intended. Was it a short block, new? A rebuilt from another car? Your engine rebuilt? A long block?
Oh, you say, mine has a real FORD rebuilt engine. Well . . . Ford does not sell remanufacured engines.
Buy from a used car dealer or a private party? Hmmm. Ever sneak into a dealers only car auction? It can be done. Look around. Look at the people/dealers buying these cars. They certainly are an interesting looking group of people.
I lived to tell the story but did not tell the story to live - Diego Garcia