3 years / $5000. What to buy?

My (very trustworthy) friend is selling a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe with 180,000 miles, “runs & feels great”. He bought it from a dealer at 40,000 miles and I’m asking now if he’s had the timing belt replaced. He thinks it’s the 2.4 GL. It’s a little bit bigger of a car than we’d ideally like, but he can sell it to me for $1000.
Would that be a good deal or would I run into all kinds of trouble with a 180,000 mile car? I’d basically have about $3000 to spend on repairs the coming 3 years - counting in the extra money I have to spend on gas.

Rust Is The Car Killer For Older Cars. I’m Not Talking About Rust You See (Or The Lack Of It) When You Walk Around The Car. I’m Talking About Underneath The Car, The Unibody, Bumper Reinforcements, Brake Lines, Fuel Lines, Oil Pan, Exhaust Components, Etcetera.

I run my GM and Chrysler cars for nearly 300,000 miles and it’s not the engine or transmission or miles that kills them, it’s the rust from road salt. Your friend may or may not be aware of what’s lurking below, but an inspection from underneath by somebody who knows what they’re looking for would be helpful.

Another thing, buying a car from a friend or relative or selling them one is almost always a very bad idea, no matter the circumstances (unless the seller is deceased). A friendship is on the line for what that’s worth.


For $1000 what do you have to lose? If most systems like brakes, cooling, tune ups, tires, etc. are OK, if you have a catastrophic failure, just dump it and you aren’t much worse off than now. Other than these general maintenance items, either electronic problems or a major failure would be your concerns, neither of which will be easy to predict except with an inspection and history.

Sorry, I Missed The Part About The $1,000 Price. The Salvage Value Of The Car (from an auto recycler), In The Event That It Doesn’t Last 3 Years, Would Make That $1,000 Loss Not As Bad As That.

I will revise my thinking of breaking a friendship. I doubt that would occur over $1,000 minus scrap value. However, for safety reasons, I still hold on checking for rust damage and to get a better idea if it has the capability to go another 3 years.

Also, do you need to consider passing a vehicle inspection of some kind to get licenses plates ? I don’t have that where I live.


Buy the Santa Fe for $1000

Find a reputable independent shop to replace that timing belt right away. Do a complete job, including idler, tensioner, cam and crank seals, water pump, if it’s driven by the timing belt

While it’s there, tell the mechanic to check it out front to back, top to bottom, drive it on the freeway, etc., because you just bought it.

Whatever laundry list he gives you, tell us about it


Hatcback car, I would buy for that amount.


Again . . . you are extremely late to the party

WTH . . . ?!


@rangersan – would you please leave inactive threads alone. If the original poster has not posted for two weeks or more they have left the building.

On all my used Hondas,I have never had an auto transmission issue,on the other hand I have seen a good many manuals that were driven like “Ricers” and I dont consider those tiny little clutches that durable,the Honda automatic is so easy to service,I imagine a lot of folks tend to take care of them,but I would stay away from the Focus ,especially these newer dual clutch thingees.
Tom and Ray used to go over the merits of the modern automatic vs the manual transmission,their consensus was that the modern auto transmission was a pretty good deal now.


This is by no means the only inactive thread that he has messed with

he’s getting us all riled up for nothing

Lets not be bullies now and give Billy more ammo.

I don’t give a . . . . pick any word you like . . . about Billy and his imaginary dissertation

What I do give a . . . pick any word you like . . . about is some “helpful” guy reactivating countless old discussions, which gets us going again, all for nothing

It serves absolutely no purpose

Considering these inactive discussions are 2 weeks old, on average, that means he must be scrolling to the 2nd or 3rd page, for example, to look for these discussions

If it’s not on the 1st page, there’s probably not much activity . . .

This is not some “cold case file” TV show. There is no glory, reward, or crime to be solved


Maybe,all the old threads need to be closed?One site I go to on occasion,does that and it sure makes the board neater.

@kmccune, I lock things three months or older. I could lock things sooner than that, but occasionally we get someone who comes back after a few weeks to update everyone. Just a thought.

@cdaquila You’re correct, as always

But it irks me that some guy comes and opens these threads and gets us all worked up again. What’s more, he doesn’t have anything to add, that hasn’t already been said

Of course, it’s fine if OP comes back after a few weeks and updates us

In fact, it’s much appreciated

The sleazo car salesman . . .

What was he wearing?

Plaid suit
shirt with at least 3 buttons undone, and lots of chest hair poking out
cheap stogie
gold tooth
cheap leather shoes, polished to a mirror shine
toupee and/or hair slicked back with grease