CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Buying Used Car

I’m wanting to buy a practically new rear driven, 6 speed, convertible. It’s beautiful only problem is it has very low mileage (5000), so much that the rear tires will need to be replaced very soon (next couple of months), on basically a new car. I realize this car has probably been driven very hard, with doughnuts and skidding involved. Car fax shows no incidents and only one previous owner. If being driven on a closed road, improving one’s driving skills, by abusing a new vehicle what will that do to the life of the car and what should I expect could happen?

Who Really Knows ? It Didn’t Help It Any.

Buy One That Hasn’t Been Thrashed.

Or Buy it If It’s Significantly Reduced Enough In Price To Cover Any Minor/Major Damage Or Walk Run Away From It. Warranty probably wouldn’t cover damage caused by abuse.
CSA

First, get a pre-purchase inspection by a independent mechanic who specializes in the make. Have him focus on potential signs of abuse and pull the computer codes.

With 5,000 miles, is it still under warranty?

If it’s a Miata, it’s practically bullet proof (I’ve owned and tracked several).

Rear tire wear is not necessarily a sign of abuse – it could just be “spirited” driving. Replacing rear tires happens more frequently on RWD sports cars. My BMW 540i Sport went through a $700 pair of rear tires every other year.

I don’t like after market warranties, but if it will give you piece of mind, go for it. Do lots of research, ask independent mechanics if they like a particular after market warranty and subtract the cost from the car’s asking price. Another option is talk to the make’s dealership and ask if they could do a certified used car warranty.

Drive it and have fun!

How much?
Likely the car has been used for some form of racing, my guess being “autocross”. That’s a form of racing where a driver goes through a course of cones as fast as he/she can. There’s no other cars, he/she is racing against the clock. But that can be hard on trannys, clutch assemblies, tires, braking systems, and powertrain conponents.

The priiice should reflect this with a serious dicount over bluebook prices. And, as twotone said, get it thoroughly checked over.

Ignore carfax. They’re totally meaningless in this case. They’re of questionable value even in a normal situation, and a car that’s been raced isn’t likely to have reported anything to Carfax.

Tires worn at 5000 miles? Would you buy the same car at the same price if it had 75,000 miles on it? That might be the level of additional wear on it but who can tell?

What year is the car? What model Mazda? Why do you think it was thrashed?

Worn tires in 5000, something off here. Can you be sure of the vehicle’s mileage? This is one time a Carfax or similar report might turn up something. In the old day’s I’d wonder if the odometer had been rolled back.

I always say that if there are any bad signs, don’t buy it. The only thing you should check with 5,000 miles is under the car. If a few things look banged up, the car could be an early junker. If you buy it, change the engine oil right away.