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Buying a used 2003 Hyundai Accent

I’m an independent young college student who works full time and I’m moving north in a month for University. I’m using a big part of the money I’ve saved to buy a new car. My car right now has over 210k miles and is 18 years old without a/c. In florida. This new car is a hyundai accent, its manual, 2door hatchback with only 55k miles. I’ve been looking a few weeks, this is fantastic for my budget, I’m just concerned about the cost of potential repairs, and hoping for any advice as to what sort of worries I should have. I’ve read that the transmissions aren’t great, but I know driving stick changes things somewhat. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Might be a decent car for $1500-$2000 depending on the condition. Have it checked out by an independent mechanic before you buy it. Otherwise, pass.

The engine of the Accent needs to have its timing belt replaced every 60k miles or every 5 years, whichever comes first. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have a hard time comprehending the elapsed time factor as being just as important as the odometer mileage factor, and if the previous owner(s) were in that group of non-maintainers, you could be buying a car with a timing belt that is at least 4 years overdue for changing.

Unfortunately, when an overaged belt snaps (with no warning whatsoever), very expensive damage to the engine will result. How expensive? Most likely about equal to the book value of the car.

So–unless the seller can give you documentary proof that the timing belt has already been changed, I strongly urge you to pass on this vehicle. Even an inspection by a skilled mechanic will not prove the “fitness” of the timing belt, so ONLY documentation can be used to verify this vital maintenance.