Editing the list -help please?

I don’t want to be viewed as a Post-hog and thanks to everyone who helped yesterday. I passed on the Ford Taurus from the dealer and took the advice to search Craigslist for individual sellers. That does present a logistical issue with viewing, etc. (as well as some personal safety issues) so if it’s not too much to ask, I’d like to list what I’ve found and ask the good community to help me narrow down. In no particular order:

Further filtering:
*1998 Toyota Camry: no mileage listed, claims new timing belt, water pump, battery, sparks and shocks, asking $3200

  • 2001 Ford Taurus: 174K, claims alignment and new tires, asking $3000 obo
  • 1997 Subaru Outback Legacy: 176K, claims new tires, fonrt brakes, radiator, plugs/wires, rear struts, rear wheel bearings, asking $2200
    *1997 Honda Accord LX: 156K, claims new timing belt 2007, new front axle assembly 2010, front/rear brakes 11/11, battery/starter 2011, oil pressure switch 2011, asking $3200
    *1998 Honda Accord EX: 240K, claims new timing belt in 2009 and new tires, Asking $3400
    *1994 Honda Civic Hatchback: 190K, claims clean in/out, new timing belt, water pump, radiator, battery and tires, asking $2700

The 1st 2 I’d look at would be the Kia Optima and the Chevy Cavalier. All others are over 10 years old. It’s hard to know whether the prices are good since you don’t list mileage for each one. The main thing is to find the car in the best condition and negotiate the best price. BTW, don’t tell the seller you want a car immediately. You’ll never get a price break then.

Kia Optima - 141K
Chevy Cavalier - 122K

I would look at the Optima and Cavalier first, also. Need to ask about timing belts service on the Optima, and I don’t remember if the Cavalier requires a timing belt or not.

Optima and Kia turned out to be a “corner by-here, pay here” duo which wasn’t mentioned in their Craigslist posting. I have seen/driven from a different seller who owns both the following cars (very credible and articulate, very familiar with Hondas)

  • 1998 Honda Accord EX, 240K and asking $3400 negotiable. New timing belt, good tires, everything woks (heater, AC, power windows, etc.) Very clean inside, faded outside, no rust visible. Drove solidly with no pulling or missing. Concern: engine light was on, seller replaced the CGR (?), it went off for a while then came back on.
    *1997 Honda Accord EX, 280K and asking $3100 negotiable. Outside cleaner than 1998, inside clean, no pulling or missing and sounded strong. Concern: At start-up, rub-whine sound which abated after about 30 seconds.

Comments? Or are you all about sick of my postings?

We have a 97 Accord and that is the one from your list that I would most recommend, especially if the seller can document the timing belt and the axles. I like the 98 Accord too but it does have more miles, but if the seller can document the maintenance, it too should be good, but it is coming due for the CV joint boots, the reason the axle assembly was replaced on the 97. If it has had the boots or axles replaced, then OK.

On both cars, listen for clicking coming from the front end when going around a corner. This applies to any FWD car about their age. Also, make sure you are meeting the seller face to face. Its best if they will take a check, but the second choice would be cash. Do not wire money or allow the seller to initiate a bank transfer to pay for the car.

Craig’s list is a dangerous place to do business, but most shady offers start with a deal that seems to good to be true. None of those above seem to fall into that category. BTW, both of those Honda’s should sell for less, check the kelly blue book before you buy.

With that budget I will also add Hyundai Elantra and Kia Sephia to the list. I am thinking a Dodge Neon with 100K miles might be better than an accord with 240K miles. I didn’t know they still sell the car after that.

If you have to have the car pass an emissions inspection, then the 98 must be fixed and the light stay off. From that perspective, the 97 may be a better deal.

Think you need to go the nadaguides.com, kbb.com and edmunds.com to get a better trend for pricing these two cars. I don’t think either qualify as a clean trade, so I think they are both priced a bit too high, because of the mileage and the risk associated with the high miles…

I also agree with Galant that looking for a lower mileage car may still be a better bet.

I promise these are the last Honda questions - I promise. Can’t guarantee I won’t ask Kia/Hyundai questions:
*1994 Honda Civic Hatchback: 190K, claims new timing belt, water pump,radiator, battery, tires, clean in/out. Asking $2350
*1997 Honda Accord LX: 156K, claims new timing belt (09), front left axle assembly, fron/rear brakes, battery/starter switch, oil pressure switch. Asking $3200
My last Honda questions!

This 97 Accord makes sense. You probably have 4 yrs on timing belt, regardless of miles accumulated. NADA Avg trade is 2025 and High Retail around $4K. That makes the $3200 at least in the ball park. This assumes all accessories like AC, etc work properly. Still need to check for overall condition and seriously consider a mechanic’s prepurchase inspection to verify the rest of the vehicle.

You are going to have to look at both cars closely. I would suggest that if you have a trustworthy mechanic, or have a friend who has one, have both cars checked out. Ask the sellers if they have kept records on the maintenance, even if it is only a handwritten log on a separate journal or on one of the blank pages in the owners manual.

Any car in this age group will have likely had the cv joint boots split open from age. Most of the time the owners just have a replacement axle put in because rebooting the old axle is too expensive. There are four options, new Honda axle, reman Honda axle from Honda, new aftermarket axle and reman Honda axle from aftermarket. See what was used on the 97, the last option is not a very good one, I have had no luck with that category. I have no experience with the Honda certified remans, but I have used new Honda axles and aftermarket new axles, both with satisfactory results. Also, if only one axle was replaced, the other will go soon, mine went within a month of each other.

We had a 93 Civic. It had a recall for the transmission shift linkage. During the recall, the dealer’s mechanic misadjusted the transmission cable and ruined the transmission. The adjustment of that cable is critical, the 97 shares the same design. If the cable is loose, you will notice the transmission slipping on each upshift. Watch for it, but I think the recall was only for the 93 models. The instructions were unclear on the transmission cable because Honda called this cable a throttle cable instead of transmission cable. The actual throttle cable had a different spec on the adjustment.