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buying used


{Wheels.20.40}: Jil {rabbit} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 20:00:47 CDT (5 lines)

The big thing is maintenance. You get lemons from every automaker,
but overall, I find that if an older car is junk, it's because it
hasn't been properly maintained. Regular oil changes, regular brake
replacements, coolant flushes, good-quality gasoline, and especially
transmission maintenance can make or break a car.


{Wheels.20.41}: Marc Damico {barkmoss} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 20:10:07 CDT (2 lines)

true enough, but according to consumer reports, volkswagons golf,
jetta and new beetle are far below average reliability.


{Wheels.20.42}: Jil {rabbit} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 20:28:13 CDT (1 line)

I forget exactly what year they started improving...


{Wheels.20.43}: Joseph Kang {jsk} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 20:48:29 CDT (4 lines)

Yeah, I agree that you get a lemon in every bunch but based on what
I've read, it seemed like some of the Mk 4 models (not sure what model
years that encompasses) had the worst complaints.  not just VWs, Audis


{Wheels.20.44}: Marc Damico {barkmoss} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:00:21 CDT (9 lines)

cr says avoid 96-03 on golf and jetta.  hey but if you don't mind
the maintenance, they say they are a blast to drive

for something a tad nicer than an escort, for under 6k, they
recommend the buick century 97-98 and that's a roomy car.

in any event, if your penny pinching, domestic cars are much
cheaper to buy parts for, than foreign cars.  although they might
not be as much fun to drive or handle as well.


{Wheels.20.45}: Joseph Kang {jsk} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:18:11 CDT (7 lines)

See!  I have a 95.

<maxwell smart>
Missed it by *that* much!
</maxwell smart>



{Wheels.20.46}: Marc Damico {barkmoss} Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:21:26 CDT (1 line)



{Wheels.20.47}: Rich Stewart {rastewart} Tue, 30 Aug 2005 14:42:32 CDT (HTML)

Talked to my alderman last night--dis bein' Chicago. He was sympathetic but not encouraging; said the CTA is terrible to deal with; all they will end up giving me is market value of the car, and they'll try to lowball me on that.

Well, no use whining. Just have to give up the idea of a '99 Civic Si and look at something older. One good thing about being in a major city, there's a lot out there. Have been looking at Hondas and Toyotas mostly, but I see an ad now for a '94 Mazda Mx3 with 5-speed--$1500--which might be nice (I think my Tracer was designed by Mazda). (All this is still fantasy football, of course ...)


{Wheels.20.48}: Rich Stewart {rastewart} Mon, 19 Sep 2005 11:40:48 CDT (HTML)

Finally heard from the CTA. My alderman was right; they did make a ridiculous offer. We countered with higher numbers based on research I'd done, and after a few days we managed to reach agreement. No princely sum, or even knightly or esquirely, but $500 over their first offer. So the check's being processed, and we'll probaby have it in a week or two.

And I contacted the owner of the Mazda and looked at it on Saturday. Gotta admit, it's very appealing. The bad: it's got 156K miles on it, and a crack in the windshield, and the back seat is sized to accommodate two hobbits comfortably. The good: it's clearly been taken care of (new timing belt for one thing), the reviews I've found indicate that it's a very reliable and long-lasting car, gas mileage would be in the 30-plus m.p.g. range. The owner seemed quite candid about its pros and cons, has service records, gave me her mechanic's number, and is fine with having my mechanic look at it. And my God is it fun to drive. So, I'm about to call her mechanic for his insights, and mine to see when I can bring it in. Any thoughts will be most welcome.


{Wheels.20.49}: mordo {mordo66} Thu, 22 Sep 2005 07:58:08 CDT (12 lines)

Anyone here have any experience with mid-80s Mercedes Benz turbo diesels?

I've been wanting a diesel with a mind toward future biodiesel/veg.
oil use and I'm thinking that an '83-'87 300 TD wagon is what I want.
It's hard to find them with less than 200k miles but I hear they're
almost indestructible and will easily go 300k miles.

WOndering if anyone has any experience with reliability and
maintenance cost on them. I fear they might be like Volvo's dubious
reliability reputation and how it seems that folks are so determined
to get 250k miles out of them that hey spend a fortune trying to prove
it(case in point - my mother and her succession of Volvos).


{Wheels.20.50}: Jil {rabbit} Thu, 22 Sep 2005 08:10:15 CDT (1 line)

Alas, I'm afraid I don't. Anyone?


{Wheels.20.51}: Jack Van Gossen {lowjack} Fri, 23 Sep 2005 00:28:48 CDT (6 lines)

I know one person who has owned several older diesel MBs. She buys
them with 250k miles on the clock, and drives them until they blow up
- somewhere around 450-500k usually, and then just junks them, and
finds another. She never complained about reliability. In fact, she
regularly drove them into Orange County and LA with no trouble (about
60 miles one way, in heavy freeway traffic).


{Wheels.20.52}: mordo {mordo66} Fri, 23 Sep 2005 13:08:45 CDT (4 lines)

Jack, that's what I'm lead to believe. I'm aiming for an 85 now with
less than 250k miles on it. All cars, at least in some model years,
have their achilles heels and that specific info is what I'm after.
Guess I'll have to troll the web for such answers.


{Wheels.20.53}: Glen Marks {wotan} Wed, 23 Nov 2005 23:23:09 CST (9 lines)

According to the following article:

- Perhaps the most significant development came on November 16th,
when Google started up a prototype service called Google Base. It
offers a searchable database of free listings, including small ads
which can be narrowed down to postal regions. Among its first
offerings were used cars.


{Wheels.20.54}: Kathe Nichols {kathe} Sat, 25 Mar 2006 20:47:58 CST (31 lines)

For insanely complicated tax reasons, we "had to" acquire another car
payment.  Our credit is not the greatest.. so we wandered off to the
local Kia dealer's "blowout sale", everybody financed, to get a
new(er) car for our 18-yr-old.

Since she's going to be heading out to college soon, she wanted
hauling capability (we lucky this is the sensible child, daughter #2
is going to want the Barbie Car).  No trucks available, but we looked
at - and drove - a Saturn Vue, a Hyundai Santa Fe, and a Toyota RAV4.

Everybody hated the Saturn.  Clunky transmission, and just generally
too heavy/overpowered for the way Tamara drives.  It felt like a boat,
and was ugly into the bargain.

The RAV4 has improved a lot since they first came out.  The interior
doesn't feel so cramped.  There's still a bit of road noise to be
heard in the back seat, but certainly quieter than the junker she's
been driving (1985 Chevy S-10).  Nice and light on its feet, smooth

The Hyundai would have been our first choice, except for the price
tag.  At about the same weight as the Saturn, it drove like a much
lighter car.  Almost all Hyundais have the "sportronic" transmission,
which lets you do *some* manual shifting.  That would have been nice
if she ever ended up back up here in the snow (she's headed for
college in Phoenix).  And there were still 3 years of the warranty
left.  But we just couldn't swing the payments.

So we got the RAV4, which she is quite happy with.  When she adjusts
to the automatic transmission, it'll be a good match, I think.  Now
all I have to do is figure out the insurance... <sigh>


{Wheels.20.55}: Jil {rabbit} Sun, 26 Mar 2006 09:00:27 CST (1 line)

Is it the all-new RAV4? They've completely redesigned it.


{Wheels.20.56}: Jil {rabbit} Sun, 26 Mar 2006 09:07:23 CST (1 line)

Oops! Just realized it's the used-car topic. What year is it?


{Wheels.20.57}: Kathe Nichols {kathe} Sun, 26 Mar 2006 11:01:51 CST (1 line)



{Wheels.20.58}: Jil {rabbit} Sun, 26 Mar 2006 11:26:50 CST (4 lines)

That's got the four-wheel-drive, then? I don't remember if U.S.
models came in two- and four- configuration. Nice in that it's real
4WD, not the slip-and-grip that only engages the rear wheels when
they slide.


{Wheels.20.59}: Kathe Nichols {kathe} Sun, 26 Mar 2006 12:03:27 CST (5 lines)

No, this one is 2WD.  It's only ever going to be a road car, in fairly
good weather conditions.

Our Honda CR-V has the slip-and-grip 4WD.  Better than nothing,
especially when sharing the road with idiots who panic in an inch of snow.


{Wheels.20.60}: Jil {rabbit} Sun, 26 Mar 2006 12:04:48 CST (5 lines)

I think good winter tires are much better. By the time slip-and-grip
kicks in, you're already stuck. And the extra weight is hard on the
fuel mileage, it's more expensive to repair, and costlier to buy.

I'm just not sold on the system; I think it's pointless.


{Wheels.20.61}: Phil Gore {zzdormouse} Mon, 02 Oct 2006 19:22:07 CDT (6 lines)

Hardly a week goes by when I don't meet someone with a terrific used
car bargain to brag about.  Guy at the laundromat said his 1989
Lincoln is one of two he got for $800.  The one he was driving had
only 75,000 on the odometer.  It looked almost like new.  He's using
the 2nd '89 Lincoln for spare parts.  He'll keep them garaged this
Winter.  Says he'll use his old car, a '91 Olds, in bad weather.


{Wheels.20.62}: Jil {rabbit} Tue, 03 Oct 2006 08:15:12 CDT (2 lines)

I love those old Lincolns. I really like the "slab-side" ones from


{Wheels.20.63}: Glen Marks {wotan} Sun, 16 Mar 2014 04:51:53 CDT (4 lines)

Warnings from Consumer Reports:



{Wheels.20.64}: Glen Marks {wotan} Thu, 23 Aug 2018 02:43:34 CDT (4 lines)

Used cars are getting more expensive:



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