Dear Car Talk Community,
I am looking at acquiring a car who’s life expectancy and value are hard to determine. The car is a 1995 Plymouth Acclaim with a V6 engine and automatic transmission. There are 10,500 miles on the car, but not because it has been sitting neglected for 20 years. It is currently owned by a woman who bought the car new and learned to drive at age 72 and has since been living in a small town with her sisters. The car has basically made 5,000 2.1 mile trips on a weekly basis over its lifetime. It has been kept in a garage. The tires were replaced for the first time last year, and the new ones now have 200 miles on them. The hoses were replaced last year. Oil looks pristine. There is just a little cosmetic damage on the passenger side from backing out too close to the garage door. Apart from that it is in excellent condition without any sign of rust. The ride is smooth without any weird sounds coming from anywhere. The acceleration felt surprisingly good, comparing it to my manual 2001 Mazda 626.
How many miles can I expect to put on this car when it goes from short weekly trips and maybe going as fast as 45mph to 40 miles a day on a highway when I commute to work and back? I see no reason mechanically why the car would have any problems as long as the oil and coolant are clean and at the proper levels. Though I have heard that older slightly used cars may not last long after suddenly being used more regularly.
When should the timing belt be replace? 90,000 miles? 40-50,000 miles? Right now?
What is it worth? I would call it a steal at $2,000 and at $3,000 I wouldn’t be very interested. I plan to offer $2,500 for it.
Am I wrong?