The last two cars I traded were in great condition with no problems at
all. I just wanted a new car. The buyer of those cars got a nice car
with no dings.
Car I traded in 2006 probably went straight to the scrap pile.
Repo is a crap shoot. If it is only a year or two old it is probably in
good shape. If the owner could not make the payments, he surely could
not afford oil changes on a regular basis either.
Try the yellow pages for dealers, maybe give Avis or Hertz a call as
they are a couple of the big lease outfits.
Best thing to do is have your mechanic check the car you are
considering. The small amount of money you pay him may prevent a costly
mistake. If the seller does allow you to have your own mechanic check
the car...then bypass him and go onto the next.
You may need to find a new mechanic. Some mechanics will lie
--gasp!-- to you cuz they're too damned lazy to look for the parts
and/or don't wanna be bothered. I jes changed mechanics for that very
reason. Have you looked for the parts, online? I've got a '91 Toyota
pickup and have no problem with parts. Same with the '87 Honda Civic
I had before. Sucker had 250K miles on it and still got 30mph. I
shoulda kept it.
As for a newer car, look for unpopular choices. Many years ago I
bought a green plymouth 4-dr in mint condition for peanuts.
Everything worked perfectly and it was an excellent car. But, who
wants a green 4-dr? I did. I'd suggest an older Buick. Them old
geezers knew how to care for a car. Also, half of Asia is still
driving around in those ancient Toyota vans, the kind with the motor
between the seats. Don't tell me parts are unavailable. ;)
OTOH, we've had a difficult time finding certain parts for my mother's
'93 Mazda sedan. Oh, they can be found - on special order, for a
vastly inflated price. There's not many in the junkyards to pull parts
I had a few Buicks. The last one was falling apart in my driveway and
I gave it away with 125,000 miles on it and a list of things wrong
with it. It was the last GM car I owned.
Every Buick I've owned needed warranty fixing from the first day. I've
had three Hyundai and none have ever been in for any type of repair.
On Monday, February 17, 2014 1:44:47 PM UTC-6, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
Most people have excellent opinions of used Buicks...ours' is an '01 with low mileage and gets about 34MPH hwy. Not bad for a 3.8L at 65MPH. Just some brake work is all I've done in the 8 yrs we've had it.
I also have a '95 Saturn that is all original except for alternator, belt-tensioner, water pump, and a couple batteries. Never blew any bulbs of any kind!
OTOH, I (and Dad ahead of us) have had probably easily a dozen Buicks
going back to the first 1960 "bug-eye" LeSabre and every one has been
very serviceable for the era...(expectations in 1960 were night and day
compared to now and have evolved over time between).
Currently have an '11 Lucerne and a '10 Enclave having traded the past
LeSabre for the Lucerne at roughly 150k simply 'cuz there's no large
body comparable in production any longer...it was still a very
functional car w/ the only work ever done to it other than PM was the
replacement of those two little plastic lines between the water pump and
the block/heater assembly on the later 3800 engines.
I like both very well altho the Enclave AWD is much less fuel-efficient
(altho it was purchased for the express purpose of muddy roads in wet
weather for the missus and for her to run field errands w/o having to
use the 4x4 which she doesn't like because she's so short that getting
into it is a chore w/o a ladder). It's a very good vehicle for the
purpose w/ 20" rim and resulting clearance but while it drives very well
on highway I'd not recommend it for that purpose unless they've improved
economy significantly. A better axle-ratio could do wonders for that it
I'd be driving a Lucerne if GM treated me better when the heated seat of
my 01 Lesabre broke while over the miles and under the time of the 3
year 36k mile warranty. They wanted $672 for seat bottom replacement
instead of replacing the $15 element.
both rear window lifts (propped them up with wood sticks)
steering wheel radio controls
probably more that I missed in five years and 125,000 miles.
Thinking back, my '91 Regal was probably the best of the bunch in spite
of AC repaired 4X under warranty, 2X after and I gave up, water pump,
rusted gas tank assorted rear brake problems.
No more GM for me.
Or you may need to be less paranoid.
My son bought a 1993 Ford Probe -- which is mechanically identical to a Mazda MX-6 -- in
2007, and by 2010 we were starting to have some trouble finding parts. Rebuilt the
transmission in 2011, and needed to replace a spacer ring in one clutch assembly -- had to
order the part from a dealership 800 miles away, and it was literally the only one available
anywhere in the United States.
Based on that experience... I have *zero* difficulty believing that the OP's mechanic is
having trouble finding parts for a Mazda that is by now 27 years old.
Why do *you* doubt that?
An 88 Mazda was pretty well the last of the real mazda trucks - and at
their BEST they were trouble. Parts will be scarce for sure - I'd
believe the mechanic.
Toyota and Mazda are two different animals - and parts in Asia and
parts in the USA are also totally different situations with an asian
But +1 on buying something that is not in high demand - a big old
buick or plymouth with low mileage in good shape can be a VERY good
choice for an older person who does not do a lot of driving. Easy to
get in and out, parts readilly available at reasonable cost, easy to
fix, reliable - Even an ex police vehicle can be an excellent buy -
very well maintained - and dirt cheap. Get a detective's car and you
often get a VERY low mileage vehicle that has been lightly used. A
friend bought a 6 year old crown vic - detectives car - with something
like 100,000km on it for under $5000. It was picked up at a local
police auction by a dealer friend for him.
Not sure I understand your problem. You need a newer truck. There are
lots on the market. You have a competent mechanic who is willing to give
some trucks the once over.
So find a few candidates. Go and "kick the tires". If you like a truck,
give the owner a REFUNDABLE deposit. and drive to your mechanic.
Ok, you have the asking price and your mechanic's report. Now go and
negotiate a selling price. Don't forget your deposit.
If you want to find a repo, I'd first ask a loan officer at your bank
if they ever do private sales on repos, and then ask the same of the
largest bank in the area. If they do it, they'll probably put you on a
notification list or tell you when the next sale or auction event will
The car rental agencies sell their rentals after a couple of years.
From them you can get a decent deal on a clean car with full service
You can also look for off-lease vehicles at a local dealership.
Here are two guaranteed ways to avoid that problem.
Go to several car dealerships and pick out one or maybe two vehicles
that meet your needs.
When the salesman comes out and offers to make himself useful, you tell
him "I'm looking for a GOOD used vehicle. I'm interested in this car
here, but I don't want to buy it unless I'm convinced there's nothing
seriously wrong with it. I want the name and phone number of the
previous owner so I can talk to them to make sure there's nothing
seriously wrong with it before I buy it.
The salesman will hem and haw and mumble something about privacy laws
preventing him from giving you that info, but then he'll tell you to
wait while he talks to his manager. Tell him you're busy, but give him
your business card or name and phone number so that he can get back to
you. He needs time to phone the previous owners to make sure they're OK
with him giving you that info.
The sales man has nothing to lose by giving you that information because
he knows there's no chance that you'll buy the car if he doesn't, but a
good chance you will if he does.
And, the previous owners have nothing to gain by lying to you because
they've already finished their business with that car dealership. Even
if the car dealership gave them a good deal on the car, they'll feel an
obligation to tell you the truth about the car.
In my case, I bought a 1982 two door Toyota Corrola in 1985. The
previous owners were a married couple and she was expecting a baby. So,
they decided to trade in one of their cars to get a 4 door station wagon
that would make it easier to both buckle the baby in it's car seat and
have room for a carriage for the baby in the car too if they're going
somewhere like to a shopping center or something so they don't have to
carry the baby everywhere.
Try this. You'll find it works well.
Another good idea if you want another truck is to phone your local city
government, gas utility, electrical utility or phone company and ask who
to contact to find out when and where they auction their old vehicles
Businesses like gas companies need both cars and trucks for their
employees to use to drive around reading gas meters and locating and
marking underground gas pipes. They have their own mechanics that do
regular maintenance on all their vehicles, and you can be sure the
vehicle is being driven by an adult in a reasonable manner. If the
vehicle needs a new engine or transmission, it's fixed as long as it's
part of their active fleet. They won't say "Let's just auction this one
off early." because that means one of their departments will be short a
vehicle until the next vehicle purchase. So, you know the vehicle
hasn't got anything wrong with it unless it happens on the way to the
Typically, cities and utilities will buy new vehicles every year and
auction off their oldest ones at the same time. Here in Winnipeg, both
Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Telephone Systems keep their vehicles for 8
years before auctioning them off and buying new. The City of Winnipeg
keeps theirs for 10 years before replacing them. They figure that's
about the time frame you can depend on a new vehicle before you have to
start spending money on repairs. But, that would mean you'd be getting
a 2004 or 2006 vehicle compared to your old 1988. And, there's still a
lot of miles left in an 8 or 10 year old car that's not been driven
abusively and has been properly maintained.
You have a GREAT mechanic!! :)
I agree generally with trader about a repo. There are always exceptions but
if someone was irresponsible enough to have a car repo'ed I'd be worrying
about how it was treated. Ditto if the repo was due to a financial bind.
I used to share your worries with used cars but the last two we've had have
been used, from new car dealers. One was two years old, the current was one
year old. The first had a tad less than 30,000 miles when we purchased, the
current had a bit under 20,000. Both were way less than when new; the
current one by close to 1/3.
I'm no mechanic but it is obvious that cars are lasting MUCH better than
they were even 20 years ago. You didn't indicate a price range but I'd be
looking at used cars from a new car dealer because - guessing here - if a
car they took in trade was junk they would auction or junk it; if they keep
it to sell they are to some extent putting their reputation on the line even
though they may not be dealers for that marque.
I'm 67 and I've had a car since I was 18, but I've only bought 6 cars in
my life. ** I've kept each one 7 years, except the next to last which I
kept 9 (and this one which I've only had for 2) They are all about 7
years old when I buy them, except the last one was 11.
I always allow 1000 over the purchase price for repairs. Maybe i'm
lucky, but with only one car*** have I spent the money. To the best of
my recollection, I've spent less than 100 dollars on repairs the first
two years I've owned any of these cars. And though I do many of my own
repairs, I don't remember any of them needing anything either. I used
to drive about 10,000 miles a year. The current and previous car, it's
down to 5000.
I've upped the 1000 to 2000 for the latest car and cars to follow, but I
didn't have to spend much on the latest car. Though the door lock fob
receiver broke after 22 months. New would be 300 or 400 plus labor.
The one I got on ebay for 40 dollars seems also to be broken (because
there is no way to test it if the car battery is gone when the car is
towed in or if the fob is separated from the car. Or if they could test
it that's probably one thing they don't test.
**The first 3 cars were free from my mother (for one summer) cousin (6
months) and brother (about 4 years) .
***That car didn't shift into high gear but the car was so powerful I
didn't notice it^^. I should have and it cost almost 1000 to have the
transmission repaired (30 years ago, not replaced, but the repair lasted
6 years.) . But I would have had to buy the car even if I"d noticed
becaue it was the only full size Buick convertible for sale in about 14
counties of NYC and the surrounding area.
I used to check the car somewhat thorougly myself. I'd try to get
there when the engine was cold so I could see how it started cold (All
but one car was from a private owner. On one occasion, I had to make
an appointment when to be there, and he smiled as he told me he started
it up for me. Next time I told the new and used car dealer not to
start it and he didn't. Of course it was an August afternoon in S.
Carolina so it wasn't exactly cold out. ) I look for drips and
leaks. I used to run my finger inside the exhaust pipe to look for
carbon, but I'm told that since cars have had catalytic converters,
there won't be any, even if the car is burning oil. So I don't do that
I drive it in every position the automatic transmission has, counting
how many times it shifts A 3-speed transmission in high should shift
twice. A 4-speed, 3 times. In "2", it should shift once. I move
the shift lever down one notch while driving to see if it downshifts, as
it should. I start in low, 1, and go faster than the normal shifting
speed, and see if it stays in first until I move the shift lever to 2.
It should shift right away. Then I keep the car in 2nd until it's
going faster than it would normally be in 2, and then I move the shift
lever to 3. It should shift right away. Same wth high or overdrive.
I definitely take the transmision dipstick out and make sure it doesnt'
smell burnt. I'm told if it smells burnt, it will need a new or rebuilt
transmission, even if it's working well now.
I check if it's an interference engine, one in which the pistons will
hit the valves if the timing belt breaks. I don't want one of those.
Get a non-interference engine, With one of those, if I don't get
around to changing the belt when I should and it actually breaks., I'll
be stuck somewhere maybe, but other than an extra towing fee, and the
inability to shop for the best price, the repair won't be any bigger
than if I had repaired it before it broke. This has only happened to
me once, when my mother was in the car. I had just taken her to a
dentist appointment, and the dentist left about 30 minutes after my car
broke in his parking lot. I asked him to take my mother home, about 3
miiles, and I stopped a tow truck at a red light and he towed me to my
favorite gas station for less than it would have cost if I had called
him, And the repair was the regular price. It could have been a lot
worse, but it wasnt.
The economy has hurt people who lost their jobs, those who didn't get
wage increases they would have otherwise, and those whose profits depend
on customers they don't have so many of. That might be 50 percent of
the population, but a lot of people are either in businesses or
industries that are recessiion-resistant or they're not but they've kept
their job and either got the wage boost they expected, or didn't but
it's not enough to change their standard of living. ,
One car I bought was from an interesting family. Mother, father,
shiftless son (it seemed) and pregnant daughter who had gotten pregnant
from her boyfriend and then they broke up and she moved back with her
parents. (Okay, maybe it was her husband but she still moved back home)
The father told me that they had 5 cars for the 4 of them, and everyone
wanted to drive the convertible so they were selling it. Huh! That
the one they should keep if everyone wants to drive it. I was sure he
was lying and I'd find reasons to regret buying the car, but it gave me
no trouble and no expense but gas and an oil change in the first two
One problem with an old car might be that repairmen try to sell you
things you don't need. That's why I almost never take my car to a
repairman. Read my thread, Problem with vintage oil furnace starting,
and you can see more of the same personality.
I think so too.
You may well have gotten a good deal on this one, but I would think they
sell repos at the market price like everything else. In addition, people
who are about to lose their car may not take as good care of it as
Stainless Steel. I didnt think one could get by on that.
I'll never have a new car. You lose thousands of dollars the moment
you drive it off the lot.
He offered. Take him at his word. It means you'll have to take the car
for 2 or 3 hours instead of 30 minutes when you test drive, but plenty
of sellers will do that. Tell him before you drive out there that you
have to have the car long enough for your mechanic to check it and that
he can't just drop everything to look at the car so he has to have 2 or
3 hours or whatever he says. . Most people selling a car don't get
more than one customer in the middle of a day, If it's a lot, they
couldn't care less if it's gone for 3 or 4 hours. (I only drive
convertibles and I have found very few at lots. Usually it's private
Oh yeah, the guy with the bad transmission. He told me he was selling
his car for his son, who had a new job in Kansas and wouldnt' need a
car. I guess he was going to take the Kansas subway, which goes just
about everywhere. Maybe he meant that the job provided a car but he
didn't say that. Anyhow, it was his way of saying, I don't know
anything about the car and if it breaks tomorrow, don't blame me.
But I don't ask sellers what condition the car is in. It will just make
liars out of them and make me mad if they lie to me. I look at it,
see if I can find problems, dicker a bit, and if I bothered to dicker,
I'm probably going to buy it. I want just what I want and I already
know from the ad in the paper if it's what I want . And if the guy
won't come down on the price, I'll probably pay what he asks.
What's your best price? Is an easy question to ask, and the one time I
tried it, I saved a little bit of money.
I've got two years more of ownership than you. I've had at least 26
cars in that time and hope to have maybe two more. Cheapest one I
bought was $15 in about 1975. I had to put $100 into it though as it
did not run.
With respect to buying from private parties, I'd agree that's probably true.
However, I've bought at least five used vehicles from new-car dealers, and have yet to get
a stinker. They've all been good, and one was spectacular -- another might have been,
eventually, but it didn't live long enough: my son totalled it when it was still relatively young.
By contrast, out of seven or eight used cars I've bought from private sellers, I've had two
stinkers, and two more that were so-so.
Obviously new-car dealers take stinkers as trade-ins from time to time, but for the most part,
they send the stinkers to an auto auction or a junkyard right away, and keep only the good
trade-ins on their own lots. They don't want to ruin their reputations by selling stinkers, you
Any information is handy, but not all repairs are entered into the system.
Dealer service is likely reported, but not a little shop. Good thing to
know if applicable, when was timing belt replaced. I did find that when I
bough a Subaru.
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