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Buy it?

1998 Camry, 197,000 miles. They have a complete set of maintainance receipts. It feels ok when I test drive it.
Would you buy such a thing for your son (first car) for $2700??

Yes however I would get a check of vehicle by mechanic to see if something lurking or how much more you need to spend.

Check for the market value of this used car. Edmunds is most real world in my opinion. My son drives a 2000 Camry which we got for his senior year in HS and now he is finishing up JR year in college. I’d say from my experience the Camry is a good choice, but getting a pre-sale inspection by a mechanic of your choice is a very good idea.

Maybe I haven’t checked the used market in awhile, but $2700 sounds pretty steep for a 14 year old car with 200,000 miles on it, no matter how well it was maintained, unless it’s something collectible, which a Camry is not.

I tend to agree with @shadowfax, $2700 sounds high considering nearly 200K miles.

While both Shadow and Ford were right 2 years ago, today that is about right… ANY running driving Honda or Toyota is worth at LEAST $2000 regardless of mileage… Reasons why are posted in another post. If it checks out OK, and is fairly clean… Try to get them down as close to $2000 as you can. Remember the odds are your Son is going to wreck it any way, nothing against your son but those are the odds.

I have a '98 Camry XLE with 310K miles. I’d feel comfortable taking it on a trip across the country tomorrow. Having the maintenance records, I’d check to ensure: (1) regular oil changes at around 5,000 mile intervals (2) ATF changes at around 20,000 to 25,000 mile intervals (3) timing belt within the past 50,000 miles (4) struts? (5) brake maintenance?

I still think $2,700 is overpriced, but what do I know. It’s a good, solid car for a young driver.

Good luck.

I’d spend more and buy something with fewer miles.

You have to realize that kbb and edmunds stop dropping the price of a car for extra miles after a certain number of miles. I am not sure where the cut off is but you can try and instead of 200K, put 160K miles and see what it does. I always do my own math after that number and still take off some from the price.

I think closer to $2,000 would be about right for this car. Pass on it if they won’t budge.

Just noticed this post was started on 4/3. I’m sure the decision has been made by now one way or another.

The price might be a tad high, but a lot depends on the maintenance records which you mentioned, and what you can infer from them. Also, I’d think that if the body and interior are uncommonly clean then that might justify the seller asking a bit more than average, whatever that is. How important is the visual aspect to you? Maybe they are asking $2700 and figuring on $2500.

Maintenance is very significant: If they have replaced the necessary fluids on schedule (oil, coolant, trans fluid, brake fluid, etc) then there’s a better chance that the car has not been neglected in general, like run low on oil or water because they never checked…see if you can ask questions to give you more insight into such things. If they’ve already repaired important things like transmission, front end components, A/C, other big ticket items, they may be expecting a higher price as a result. Compare against similar vehicles at lower price which might need one or more expensive things right away.

Overall, a very well cared for 200k car may be better than one with 130k hard miles with the signs that show lack of care. There are regulars on this forum with cars well beyond 300k, one I remember reading about is over 500k. The secret is regular routine maintenance. I once bought a well cared for 5 year old Nissan truck with 180k (seller had a very long commute). Eight years later, the odometer stopped at 309k, but it kept running for 13 years after that…maybe 400k-who knows.

And of course if they are in a real hurry to sell, your lower offer may be good enough. Never hurts to ask.

As others have written, pay for a pre-purchase inspection so you at least have some idea what repairs will be necessary right away or soon.