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Old Car With 10,500 Miles

I don’t know that a"book price" means much on a 21 year old car. You know that the car has been serviced. Transportation for less than $2000 is difficult to find in my area. My Aunt gave her 1964 Dodge Dart to my brother when she quit driving. The car was at least 30 years old at the time and had less than 40,000 miles. My brother and his wife flew to Miami, Fla and drove the car back to Cincinnati, Ohio without problems and maintained the speed on the interstate. I have never owned a Plymouth Acclaaim so I don’t know how reliable that make might be. However, for a car this old, the important thing would be that the under carriage isn’t rusted. Reliability comparisons with Hondas or Toyotas of that vintage are meaningless. With gentle driving, the car may be good for several more years and 50,000 miles. The thing that may bring an end to the life of the car might be the lack of availability of parts. I won’t comment on the reliability of a particular make and model unless I have actually owned one.

"I won’t comment on the reliability of a particular make and model unless I have actually owned one."

I am of the same thinking. Some have made negative comments about these vehicles, although they have no first-hand experience with them. As I’ve stated previously, I actually owned a sister to this vehicle, the Dodge Spirit. I owned it for over 15 years. It was nearly 100% reliable and needed almost nothing except wear items. Excellent car.

Also, as I stated, mine was the 2.5L four, a wonderful, smooth running engine that went the distance. I would research the six cylinder.

The engine in that model is the Mitsubishi 3.0L V-6. They were not very reliable and the timing belts are know for their short life. I’d be very surprised if the original belt is still in this car. If it is, then replace it before driving it again.

@common sense answer – I won’t condemn a specific make and model that I have owned that has given me difficulty until I get to the root of the problem. For example, I had real problems with a 2003 Toyota 4Runner that I purchased new. In desperation, I took it back to the dealer the 5th time and told him it was his last chance to make it right or I would insist on him buying it back under the lemon law. The dealer’s service department did finally make it right. The fall that I bought the 4Runner, Consumer Reports did indicate that the 2003 had a high frequency of repair record. Mine was doing fine and by the next year, CR showed a very clean repair record for the 2003 4Runner. We are still driving thaf 4Runner after 13 years and it has been very trouble free. Had I made the dealer buy back the 4Runner in 2003, I would have had justification in saying that 4Runners were a vehicle to stay away from. 2003 was a new design for the 4Runner and my guess is that the problems were taken care of under the warranty. Now I don’t know much about the Plymouth Acclaim from 1995. However, it seems to me that the Toyota Camry around that period had an oil sludge issue. I had a friend who had a Camry in the early 1990s that had problem of engine stalling. The dealer could never resolve the issue and she finally got fed up and traded it for a Honda Accord. I really have to know a car before I can say that a particular make an model is a lemon.

My ‘‘old car, low miles’’ turned into a money pit.
Bought grandmas car for my son BUT . .
Rarely driven by old lady also meant . .rarely maintained !

@kengreen There are numerous tales to confirm your story. An automotive columnist in the 60s commented on the best car he ever bought used was from an oil company rep who had a lot of highway miles on it, but well maintained. The worst used car he ever bought was from the proverbial little old lady from Pasadena; low mileage no highway driving and no maintenance.

Cars are like people; if not exercised they get bunged up with severe consequences.

It’s important to ascertain what maintenance has been done.

My late father bought a new Chevy Biscayne after he retired to a small town, and drove it little and maintained it even less. I don’t think he reached 50,000 miles before having to scrap it.

The Acclaim was the replacement for the K Car. The engine is a SOHC Mitsubishi, the same one In my 92 Plymouth minivan. The timing belt is supposed to be replaced every 60000 miles. Chrysler did not specify a time limit but 7 years is generally accepted.

This engine is NOT an interference engine. If the belt breaks no engine damage occurs. With my minivan I made the decision not to change it until it broke or the water pump needed replacing.

The car went to the junkyard because of terminal rust at 14 years and 180000 miles with the original timing belt.

But wasn’t the Acclaim based on the K-car . . . ?!

"The Acclaim was the replacement for the K Car."
I Have Owned 3 K-Cars (Dodge Aries) And 1 Dodge Spirit. They Were All Excellent, Reliable, Adequately Roomy And Comfortable, Got Great MPG, And Cost Little To Operate For Hundreds Of Thousands Of Miles.

Why did I own 4 of these? They were that good! The first old bomb inspired the 3 after it. I wouldn’t listen to advice from people who haven’t owned them, think only Asia cars are great, or what is said in car reviews.

I know, first hand, and I know a thing or two about cars that I’ve picked up over the years. :wink:

Why did I own 4 of these? They were that good!

You are one of thee few who feel that way about the K-car. My brother-in-law who’s a retired Chrysler plant manager had two of those cars as part of the executive program. Even he thought they were extremely unreliable. Luckily all maintenance was covered for this program. They got a reputation almost from day one for being very very unreliable.

I’d post websites…but the number of sites bashing this vehicle is too long.

That they had going for them…First mid-size large production fwd vehicle (which is about 90% of all mid-size vehicles these days). They were also inexpensive. 200k on this vehicle is pretty much unheard of. 300k miles is damn near impossible without rebuilding every major component it has.

The institution where I taught had a fleet of K-Cars that were purchased about 1981. I drove different ones from the fleet to extension classes I taught and to conventions. I never had that first problem which was good because I was often on the road late at night. I know that a couple of the K-CARS I checked out had close to 100,000 miles on the odometer. I never heard any complaints about these K-CARS. On the other hand, there were a couple of Chevrolet Citations in the fleet. There were some problems with these cars. I had to drive them on occasion and I much preferred the K-CARS. I also preferred the K-Cars to the 4 cylinder Ford Tauruses that came into the fleet. It wasn’t hard to figure out why Ford didn’t continue the 4 cylinder engine in the Taurus. At any rate, the K-CARS seemed to hold up under a number of different drivers.

Additional thoughts:

  1. Does the owner have maintenance records or a garage who will verify this? The oil, brake fluid, coolant, etc. may look good, but if the owner just replaced tires for the first time this doesn’t say much about maintenance savvy.
  2. If safety matters to you, look at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website and see how much safer new cars are than a '95.
  3. Yes, if the car has only done 2.1 miles for an average trip you may have some corrosion or sealing problems that could show up with heavier use, especially if the oil hasn’t been changed very often.

A 78 Volare was the last CC car my folks ever bought. Maybe they learned from that catastrophe and the K cars were better. They bought that one new and wasn’t long before the engine had to be torn down due to oil consumption. Then the air conditioner always leaked freon, then they took it to Montana from Minnesota and the transmission went out. Towed for 80 miles to the nearest major dealer. It was just one thing after another and not small items. Getting stalled in the middle of Montana in a new car tends to stick in your mind. So it was Ford and GM after that.

The Plymouth Volare and its twin, the Dodge Aspen were introduced with the 1976 models
They replaced the Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart which had been reasonably good cars. ,As I recall, Consumer Reports initially liked the Volare and Aspen. The cars were roomy and had either the slant 6 or the 318 V8 that had been good engines. The TorqueFlite transmissions had a good reputation for durability. However, something really went wrong with the build quality of the Volare and Aspen. Lee Iaccoca took over Chrysler about 1979 when the company was bankrupt. He secured government loans and got Chrysler in the black. The government loans were paid off. Part of the success of Chrysler was due,to the K-CARS. Unfortunately, Iaccoca retired and successors reverted Chrysler back to its old ways.

The success of the k car had nothing to do with quality. People wanted a mid size vehicle with better gas mileage. Added benefit for those of us in the north was FWD for better in snow.

I think the K-Cars were about the middle of the pack as far as quality was concerned. This was in the early 1980s. The GM X cars(Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega) had their share of problems. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corollas had early rust out problems. I racked up some miles in K-Cars back in those days traveling to conferences where I made presentations and in traveling to teach an extension class at an air force base. These K-Cars were in the fleet at the university where I taught. A quality car of that time period was the Mercedes-Benz 240D. One of my colleagues and close friends had a,1977 Mercedes-Benz 240 D. I can’t remember how many miles he drove that car, but I think he had close to 500,000 at one point. I have never driven or even ridden in a Plymouth Acclaim, but for a 21year old car, the manufacturer isn’t really all that important.

Rust problems only mattered if you live in rust zone areas. Thus the rest of the country wasn’t an issue.

I am in a rust belt area. A car that isn’t rusted, but needs engine work is repairable. A rusted out car is worthless. Even the smallest amount of body work is expensive. My Sienna was hit in a parking lot. The damage was only cosmetic. The bumper needed to be repainted and there was a slight dent in the rear quarter panel. Yet, the damage was over $1500. Fortunately, the insurance of the party that hit me paid for the repair. About the same time, my son had to have the head gasket replaced on his S10 pickup. The cost was $1426. In my area, Honda and Toyotas weren’t popular because of the rust issues in the 1980s. Now that the rust issue is under control, Toyota and Honda vehicles are quite popular in my area. (I own two Toyota vehicles). Back in 1978, I bought a new Oldsmobile Cutlass. I sold the car in 2011 and the next owner got another year of service from the car. Back in 1978, one of my colleagues thought I should have purchased a Honda Accord instead. Two years later, the front fenders were rusting through on those 1978 Accords. Honda did pay for the replacement of tbe fenders, but not for repainting the replacements.

Thats what I like to call a 500 or less vehicle. Yes it has low miles, but the absolute worst thing you could do to a machine is ask it to sit and wait… It wreaks havoc on suspension springs, rubber also hates sitting around and waiting…every part of this vehicle doesnt want to sit around to be honest.

The fee to buy a vehicle like this needs to be substantially low to simply take on the risks involved. Anyone who knows anything about cars will tell you pretty much the same thing…and if they dont, they never jumped in an old low mile car and watched the cascade of failures that occur after putting it back into service suddenly.

You pay more for a desirable collectable with low miles…this vehicle does not fit into this category now…and I reckon never will, but these matters arent for me to discern…and history has a way of proving people wrong in this regard. But we arent starting on very fertile ground in this instance.

You should be paying 500 or LESS …for this vehicle. In fact I’d pay more for one with 50K miles on it to be honest


I had several K-cars and a Caravelle that was based on them. They were spectacularly reliable, I never had an engine or transmission problem with any of them and they were fantastic in the snow. The only thing that did them in was rust, which kills all our cars here
The only things I didn’t like about them was that they were the first Chrysler products without flow-thru ventilation and were hot in the summer if you didn’t have air.
They were cheap to buy and easy to maintain-my kind of car.