2005 Ford Focus Wagon with High Miles

My beloved mechanic of 8 years has the perfect car for me, and I need a car now. It is a 2005 Ford Focus Wagon, everything looks great, he has checked everything and tells me it’s perfect, but it has 171,000 miles on it.

If it will last me 2 years, I will consider it worth it at $3200. I just can’t get over the high miles.

If your mechanic thinks it’s OK, it doesn’t sound like too bad of a deal. I’d see if you can talk the owner down a few hundred on the price though. I’d imagine it would last you two years.

I don’t put a lot of faith in this particular model of car, but that’s just my opinion and is not based on any evidence of failure or longevity reports of this model.

Edmunds says that a Focus ZXW SE wagon with AT, tilt wheel, cruise control, and steering wheel audio controls is worth about $3000 as a trade-in and $4300 in a private party sale. These prices take off almost $1900 for high mileage. If there really are no problems after a thorough check-out, then buy it. If you put 15,000 miles per year on it, you’ll only go from 170,000 to 200,000 miles in the next 2 years.

I would ask if s/he can tell what the compression is in each of the 4 cylinders - post the results. I would also ask s/he knows the history of the transmission (maintenance, any work done).

Years ago the rule for buying a used car was to cover the odometer with black tape so you can’t tell how many miles are on the car and check it out thoroughly. Then remove the tape from the odometer. Back then, odometer rollback was so common that the odometer reading couldn’t be trusted.

If the car checks out by a trusted mechanic, it is probably good for a couple more years.

I see no reason whatsoever that it can’te last another two years. At that mileage you can expect an occasional repair bill, but if it’s been properly maintained the powertrain should have plenty of life left. Since you “need a car now”, this sounds like a reasonable deal.

You note the “if” in my statement.

We bought our son a 2002 Ford Focus with 182,000 miles on it almost 2 years ago and it was well maintained and almost all of the miles were “highway miles” from a coworker with a crazy long commute. We run AMSOIL synthetic oil in it, keep it maintained and besides a recent clutch slave cylinder failure ($800 for all parts, clutch and labor and tow) and very minor repairs (new alternator, new coil, plugs and sparkplug wires, etc…)the car has been safe and reliable for him. We’re now at 189,000 miles (school and work commute) and we’re glad we bought the car. It gets great mileage, is safe and a good “starter” car for a teen.