Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Good buy on a used Dodge Intrepid?

We just bought a 2001 Dodge Intrepid SE. My husband thinks he made a GREAT purchase by paying $6000 for it as it just has 22,300 miles on it and looks to be in mint condition.

I checked the VIN on and found there have been several recalls on it; nothing major but ones that should be taken care of. How do I know if the previous car owner(s) took care of the recalls?

It makes noises when it starts and for a while after it warms up. He says it is just a tappet sound and not to worry. I say we paid way too much for a car that definitely belonged to a smoker due to evidence found but was probably professionally cleaned. The tires look brand new, the body and engine are practically spotless. Your thoughts?

Your husband spent too much. This car has obviously sat around a lot and cars are made to be driven. The engine should not be making any noise, it isn’t normal. I guess all you can do is hope for the best at this point. Just for piece of minds sake, I’d use a high mileage oil in my next oil change to treat the undoubtedly dried out gaskets and seals in and around the engine. As for the recalls, I believe if you go to your dealer they can look up your VIN and see whether or not the recalled items have been addressed on your particular vehicle.

Well, since you’re looking for opinions mine is that he overpaid for it low miles or not. Assuming the miles are even legitimate.

There’s a certain point where a car will only be worth so much no matter the mileage and cleanliness.
A downside to a car that has seen little use is that those 22k miles may have been put on there 2 or 3 at a time and this is the worst type of driving that can be inflicted on a car.

Keep in mind that the car is 9 years old and this means all of the car’s rubber parts (engine seals, trans seals, brake hydraulics, etc, etc.) are also aged and subject to failure; not to mention the timing belt which should have been changed about 3 or 4 years ago and which is assumed to be the original.

Call the Dodge dealer and they will verify if the Recalls are still outstanding or not. It should all be in the system.

The tappet sound could be a valve lifter or adjuster. This could go back to the type of driving the car may have seen (2 miles at time) and could be an indication of a sludged up engine.
Tappet rattling is not good on adjusters or cam lobes over the long term so you might try an additive (SeaFoam, Berryman B-12, etc.) in the engine oil and see if it clears that problem up.

Anyhoo, that’s my 2 cents.

IMHO you paid too much also. Intrepids,like many other Dodge products had many issues.

If the car is loaded and in mint condition, then $6000 is the top end of what it is worth. But it doesn’t matter anymore. You own the car. All you will accomplish by presenting this information to him is to make him angry. Is it really worth it to tell him he overpaid? What will you accomplish?

So this car drives ok? Just some noises? Hmm. Did he have a mechanic evaluate the car first? Just a tappet sound could be nothing or a bad sign, hard to say. A car with so few miles could have been driven little or have a bad engine from a junkyard. Does the engine match the vehicle vin and did he check? The only way to know is to have a mechanic you trust really check the oil pressure and engine compression to verify that the odometer milage matches the engine noise. Maybe just a noisy belt bearing and easy to fix.

Does This 2001 Dodge Intrepid Have The 2.7L Or 3.2L Engine?

How is this Dodge Intrepid going to be used? Is it a second car for running around town and/or going back and forth to work or is it the main car that will be used for highway travel? The car may be quite satisfactory for your needs.

I would have the transmission fluid and filter changed, the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed and an oil change. You’ve purchased the car, so you might as well get off to a good start.

The only time I’ve ever ridden in a Dodge Intrepid was when my wife had gone to a convention in Phoenix, Arizona and I flew out to join her. She met me at the airport in a rented Dodge Intrepid and the car was more impressive than the econoboxes that I’ve rented. I have a good friend that has a 2000 Chrysler Concord which is a fancier version of the Dodge Intrepid that he purchased new and has been quite happy with the car.

I remember back in 1954 when my mother went back to work and my parents needed a second car. My dad came home with a 1947 DeSoto coupe. The paint was faded, but the interior was clean and the engine seemed to run well. I was in eighth grade at the time and even at junior high age thought that the car was a strange purchase. My dad put me to work with rubbing compound followed up by wax to bring back the faded maroon paint. The DeSoto turned out to be one of the best cars he ever owned. Maybe you’ll have the same experience with your Dodge Intrepid.

Before you worry too much about the price–some new cars depreciate more than $6000 just being driven out of the showroom. If you run the car several years, you will get your money’s worth.

Although I can’t recommend the Intrepid and I would say that there isn’t a good deal on one anywhere; it isn’t that bad of a risk. Newer cars with the same mileage would cost more. That means that there is extra money for repairs IF NEEDED. It may never need major repairs.

The engine is the most vulnerable part of the car. Neglect in the form of extended mileage oil changes is bad. To find out about recall work, go to a dealer maintenance department. They need the VIN (registration). Most people keep the recall paperwork. If you didn’t get any with the car, that is a negative sign too. Having proof of oil changes is also good.

About That Noise . . .

I have owned an Intrepid with 2.7L engine for years. It has been a wonderful car! No, make that unbelievable!

The 2.7 engine can have cold start engine noise caused by improper serpentine belt tension. Too loose and it sounds very ominous. I wouldn’t have believed the difference in cold start noise unless I heard it for myself. I tensioned the belt to specifications on a Service Bulletin and voila!

The 3.2 engine can have a cold start “tapping” noise caused by the exhaust valve rockers arms. Chrysler sells a kit containing swivel pads and swivel pad retainers for just this application. There is a Technical Service Bulletin addressing this noise and its fix.

Oil changes on the 2.7L engine are very important. There are horror stories about engine sludge and early death of this powerplant whe owners neglect maintenance. Don’t go beyond 5,000 miles and I’d recommend synthetic oil of the manufacturer’s recommended viscosity. This would be good for a 3.2L, as well.

Please tell us which engine the car has.


I think you overpaid. From a dealer the very, tip-top amount would be about $4675 From a private party the value is closer to about $3300.

Overpaid but if your husband is happy don’t let him know. Too late now.

Hopefully that low mileage translates to a trouble free life for the next 80-150k miles for you.

My niece owned a 2000 Intrepid…Car was complete junk after 4 years. And when shewent to buy a new vehicle…she couldn’t sell it to pay off her load. Resale value is pitiful.