2005 Scion xB, 152k miles, a few fender benders... buy?

Hello all, I’ve just read about Houstonrice’s car-buying adventure and am hoping to gain more professional insight on my prospect car from the wealth of knowledgeable people on this forum… pretty please?

My grandpa and I took this (http://shar.es/0ou8V) for a test drive and inspection yesterday (at a Toyota dealership; I’ve spent $160 on a car I’m not fully sure I’ll buy…!). It checks out fine mechanically save for a “too-short battery” and dirty engine oil (not synthetic either).

First off, I’m looking for a reliable commuter (~45 mi/day… one way) in a very low price range; preferably around $5k or less. My car loan limits me to 7 years or newer… which apparently in my area (Seattleish) reeeally limits my choices. (And… I really love the xB, and Toyota brands in general, for their reliability. More on this after the laundry list.) Owner originally asked $5k for this, but dropped it to $4k after #1 below…

The other things wrong with this xB:

1) $1900 worth of repairs that the seller did not know about prior to my examining of glovebox documents (there were a LOT). He was in the espresso parts business and had let 2 others under him drive it all over CA… one was involved in an unreported accident in 05, and paid out of pocket for the work done on the LR quarter panel, gas door, blending, taillight etc.

2) LF frame weld repair. Still has fairly significant dent (part of which is starting to rust).

3) From Toyota’s report: “Has been hit RR.” Bumper cover is not fully secured here. And the bumper cover is in generally rough condition.

4) LR rim bent.

5) Gramps swears he feels it pull to the left (he said it more after discovery of the frame weld). Toyota says it tracks straight.

6) Rear brake pads needed (1-2k miles) but I’d change’ em off the bat.

7) Wipers. (Remember… Washington state. Rain for the 362 days of the year that aren’t summer.)

8) License bulbs out.

9) Dirty, scratched, discolored interior. Weird smell, too.

My other serious option right now is to buy the 01 Accent off Gramps (just rebuilt the tranny, replaced PS pump, regular maintenance for the 2 yrs we’ve had it, new nitro tires, includes studded snow tires + rims, plus I’m used to it) for $2500… but that would rob him of HIS commuter car, for which I’d feel very guilty. (I’m moving out.)

I’ve considered Kias and the like, but the guy who worked on our Accent’s tranny said a certain bearing in most(?) (auto trans?) Hyundais go out after X amount of miles… and being that Kia is now owned by Hyundai, I fear that somewhere down the line I’d also have to shell out $2k on a car that is only worth, well, $2k.

And I still shy away from American-made cars… just because I want something that will be reliable and require less major maintenance/repair for the next couple/few years.

Along with that laundry list, I’d have to buy 5 new rims and 4 studded snow tires… Edmunds values the car at about $3,400 in rough condition; kbb at $4,280 in fair condition - no value for poor. I was thinking to start at $2,500 and work up to no more than $3,000 considering the work I’ll have to put in it. I’d like to keep it for as long as I can, if it means rebuilding the tranny in a few years (the model has sentimental value - I know, a used-car buying mistake! But this one is in my price range…)

So (and thank you for reading!)… deal or no deal?

It seems the Xb has had a rough life. I’d let it go. Gramps should keep his car. Keep looking. The $160 was well spent. The Xb is going to be a money pit.

I also would pass on this troubled car. In addition to all the problems with this particular car, the first-gen xB did pretty poorly in crash tests, there’s just not a lot to them. Try and find a more-substantial car for the price.

I wouldn’t even think about giving someone 3 grand for that car.It’s been in enough wrecks, and the fact that it was driven for a parts business by employees means it was probably badly abused most of its life. It’s just not worth it.

Talk about red flags…run from this vehicle. Keep looking.

A clear case of a basically good vehicle leading an ABUSED life. I’d pass on that one. You need a reliable commuter, you grandpa does not.

P.S. The last rear ender collison I was involved in was being hit by a guy driving a…parts delivery truck belonging to a parts distributor.

You get the picture!

Rough vehicle and way overpriced at 4 grand considering the history. I’d be very nervous about even offering 1500 for it.

Considering the frame welding and bent rim part of the history I’d wager good money this car has some undiagnosed suspension issues too.

The quality of Hyundai and Kia have gone up immensely even since Gramps’ '01. I personally think that those cars are like Japanese cars used to be 15-20 years ago-- reliable not-too-fancy but still high quality vehicles. Most of the Japanese brands have cashed in on their reputations and now sell mostly bloated cars with all sorts of gee-dads and gizmos. This is part of why Toyota created Scion in the first place, so they could try to sell more basic cars without tinging the reputation of all the fancy cars they sell under the Toyota name.

Oh I hadn’t even thought about that one… good point! Thank you.

Thank you all for replying. I’ll let this one go and keep on looking… thanks again!