Ford Festiva concerns, buying used car

I have talked to a private owner and he is offering me a 1990 Ford Festiva with 120,000 miles on it for $500. It needs a brake cylinder and a drivers side window as well as a tune up. It has a new engine though and the owner says he will fix the parts that are broken for free if I buy the parts.

Does this seem like a good deal?

Festiva’s were pretty good little cars. Little is the operative word.

If you don’t need this car for daily transportation it is worth tinkering with. The Festiva was a stop gap car built by Kia, now part of the Hyundai group. Ford never cared for this car and it’s dubious if you can find any parts for it, either from Kia (who was not present in the US in 1990) of from Ford, who is not legally required to carry parts that old. As well, because so few were sold, the wrecking yards will not likely have much either.

I would also take the “new engine” with a grain of salt. How old is it and where did he get it?

The private owner wisely lets you search for the parts. Whatever the ownwer says, he will likely soon “forget” when the going gets tough.

Unless you are a mechanic, or a retired tinkerer, stay away from this one. People normally give this kind of car away. I’ve given away two old cars, but they were still easily repairable.

Well thats true, it is rather small, however it is taller than the 1986 Dodge Colt I used to have. This Festiva does not have power steering so it moves like a Go Cart , just like my Dodge did. It uses the mazda 323 engine , and I have seen some web posts saying these cars can last to like 300,000 miles or so and get about 40 mpg.

Ahh well the owner replaced the engine with a mazda 323 engine, apparently , they said it was new when they replaced it , and not rebuilt, it does look rather new under the hood, very clean inside.

I just dont have more than $750 to spend, I just need a vehicle with 30-50 mpg gas usage that can get me to work until I can buy a hybrid car (new)

The Festiva was a very reliable car, overall, and many of them are still running at over 200K miles. As with any used car, how it was cared for in the past means a lot. By the time you put on the needed parts, however, you could double the current asking price.

If it has a new engine why does it need a tune-up? Something sounds fishy to me.

I believe this car also needs to have its rear wheel bearings greased regularly to keep them from failing, but it’s not a hard job to do.

If it were running and drivable, maybe, but the way it sounds this may be one to walk away from. You just can’t buy much car for $500.

The $250 left over after you pay the $500 will not buy the parts needed to fix the problems you have identified. I also don’t understand why a “new” Mazda 323 engine would need a tuneup.

I would either spend to $750 to buy a car that is actually running well (there are some) or put the $750 down on a better car and pay off the rest as you work; the preferred route to take.

The hybrid car purchase should be your LONG TERM GOAL.

Actually It turns out they were able to fix the brake cylinder, it just needed a new rubber seal. Also They changed the spark plugs and did the tune up and says it works perfectly now. I should have said before that the person selling it is actually a mechanic, and he is still willing to sell it at $500 (originally asked $650) …so now it just needs a driver side window, I found a replacement window for $25 , so that now is the only part I need.

If yyou can get a running, drivable car for $500 you should probably take it. The window is an easy fix. If there is a safety inspection in your state, has the car passed it? How about emissions testing?

Unless you are really short of money and really need a car, don’t get it.