Help with buying a used car

selling
jetta
volkswagen

#1

I am thinking about buying a 1997 Jetta GLS. Clean Carfax (for what it’s worth) except for 1 rear right impact in 2009. I didn’t see evidence of that still on the car when I went to test drive it. It’s a manual and has about 113K miles on it. It is missing the front grille and one of the front tires is bald, so I’ll need to get at least two new tires. The rear passenger-side power window is off track, so you can just push it down and get into the car (obviously needs fixing). I can guesstimate how much this will all cost, but was hoping someone might be able to offer a second guesstimate for me? The asking price is $1800 obo: the guy says he will take $1500 and is fine with me taking it to a mechanic first to confirm there’s nothing seriously wrong with it. I just want to know if it’s worth paying $1500 for a car that’s not junked up, but certainly isn’t new and doesn’t look new, given that I’ll have to pay at least $600 to have problems I know about fixed. Tight budget here. Thanks!


#2

With those problems the price is a bit high. If the mechanic gives an otherwise clean bill of health, offer $900.


#3

If you’re on a tight budget you should avoid a late-90s Jetta like the plague. The reliability of VWs from this period is dismal at best, and maintenance/repair costs are high.

You can take the car to a mechanic, and maybe there’s nothing seriously wrong with it today, but there will be next week or next month.

Also, be aware these are known oil burners. Plan to check the oil at least weekly, and expect to add a quart every 1,000 miles.

Personally, I wouldn’t touch this car with a ten foot pole.

Under $2,000 I’d be looking for a Geo Prizm. Preferably one with maintenance records.