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Buying a used Vehicle

Hello there . . I am looking for a used Lancer RalliArt solely because of my love for this sedan. (planning to customise the exterior in future). However, this would be my first attempt to buy a used car and dont know much about how I ll test if its going to be a smooth car for the future or not. Please do help me with your tips.

Also, I am from Canada, (Saskatchewan) and looking forward for shops which could help me mod the exterior of this vehicle. Can somebody tell me where I can find it in this province ?

The standard reply and the best is that you pay a mechanic to look at any used vehicle to reduce your chance of buying a problem vehicle. As for custom shops you will have to search until you can find one and plan on spend large amounts of money.

Unless you find one of those things with little mileage, I have to tell you that they’re not reliable vehicles. With modifications they look nice, but there is a reason why their aren’t many more of them on the road anymore.

I’m of the opinion if that’s the car you want, that’s the car you should buy. If you’re unsure from model year to model year which is best, Consumer’s Reports Used Car Guide would provide that info, providing the car is commonly sold in the USA. Pay your own mechanic (not the seller’s) for an hour of labor to put it on the lift for a pre-purchase inspection. They’ll look for the kind of problems that are expensive to repair, like the state of the transmission fluid, structural rust, expensive sounding engine noises, oil sludging, etc. The other thing you need to make sure is that the person you are buying it from actually owns it, and is able to give you a clear title. Contact your motor vehicle department for their suggestions follow their rules to the letter, which will improve the odds that happens.

You’ll generally have fewer and less expensive repairs in the future if you choose a used car with a manual transmission and no AC.

I don’t necessarily agree with that…if the clutch is close to the end of its life, it’s not a cheap repair on any car

1 Like

@bravesfan314 True a clutch is not cheap but it is a lot cheaper than a automatic rebulid or replacement.

@Renegade Yes, a rebuild or replacement for an automatic transmission is far from cheap, but most automatic cars won’t ever need transmission work other than fluid changes. Even neglected automatics will go far longer than neglected stick shifts. Unless every driver of a stick shift is incredibly careful, you’re guaranteed to need at least 1 clutch over the lifetime of the car.

(I will admit, my 94 Saturn did go over 140k with no clutch issues before I lost it in a wreck, so yes, I do have experience with used manual transmissions that have needed no work done whatsoever, but all of the other automatic transmission automobile’s I’ve owned have required no work either)

@bravesfan314 Of all vehicles I have owned 90% have been manual’s & I had replace few clutch’s due to neglect or previous owner did not know the proper way to drive one I have also owned a few automatic’s & only had to have one rebuild I just prefer manual over automatic.The only clutch I have tore up is when I was moving a bunch of trailer’s with a 3 speed that was geared high i 1st & reverse & had to ride the clutch to move them where I wanted to put them.

I’m glad they’ve worked out so well for you over the years :slight_smile: Like I said, my Saturn was great and even when it was wrecked in the 140k range the clutch was showing no signs of being close to die. I think as a general sample, most of the regulars here on the CT forums will screw up the general bell curve for things like this. I still stand by my initial statement, though, that for a car with an unknown history you are NOT more likely to save money on a manual transmission vs an automatic


My experience is different from yours @bravesfan314 , my truck’s C4 automatic failed & needed a rebuild at 80-100 K, but neither my old Rabbit with 160 K nor my current Corolla with over 200K, both manuals, ever needed a new clutch. The C4 now has 160 K on it, and is showing signs of failure again.

@GeorgeSanJose Don’t take this the wrong way George, but I think your circumstances are always going to be unique and against the trend :smile: . Your truck is how old? 35-45 years? The Corolla is approx 27? Your vehicles make used cars today look brand new! Also, I’m not sure comparing a truck automatic vs a car manual is a fair comparison as the truck transmission will always be working harder