Purchasing a 2002 Lincoln Towncar 140k Miles

generally speaking, I’d rather buy a car with an evap leak code, versus one with P0420 or P0430

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Buying it with only a short test drive and no inspection is too risky, imo

If other people are willing to do that . . . I wish them luck

There’s a lot of garbage being sold out there at this time

Remember the 1999 Buick Lesabre for about the same amount. . . roughly $2500, I believe . . . that the guy in the other thread recently bought and it was so rusty the coil springs dropped out?

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Does it take that long? Never had one done. Any decent mechanic should be able to check it out mechanically and hook it up to a code reader in an hour or less, I’d think.

I too like Town Cars On a 20 year old car, much ‘delayed’ maintenance may well be needed to be done, especially since the current owner replace one ball joint. In addition to the fluid changes, brake hoses should be done with the brake fluid flush. Check the age of the tires. This Lincoln may have air suspension, at 20 years, that might be ready to fail, either and expensive repair or conversion to conventional springs will be needed.
As noted above, budget for those possibilities. Otherwise it is a tough, reliable vehicle. As far as I know, shares much with the Crown Vic, in my area, Ex-police Crown Vic’s are repurposed as taxis, many are in service.

Re: mpgs, folks on Fuelly average 18-20 mpg overall for that era Town Car. Don’t assume you’ll do better.
Lincoln Town Car MPG - Actual MPG from 200 Lincoln Town Car owners (fuelly.com)

That’s the way I do it. Realistically, there are things even a seasoned mechanic can’t tell you. Trans shifts good and the fluid is bright red, that’s all you can really check on it, professional mechanic or not, beyond code reading. Rust would be pretty obvious.

I’m fairly mechanically inclined and am not advising against an inspection for someone who isn’t. But if a vehicle is $2500, I wouldn’t spend an additional 10% for a mechanic to tell me what I already know. Rather take the gamble.

I said it could take all day because they plan to use Firestone . On a Saturday Firestone is going to take care of the tire buyer’s and if they do have someone to do inspections that person may have appointments already .

One guy says it’s too risky to buy a $2500 car without an inspection, another guy says the owner isn’t going to let you take a $2500 car for an inspection as it will take too long.

Quite a conundrum. I guess it just cannot be bought. :unamused:

Short answer, a 2002 Town Car had a generally reliable drivetrain. Need to do your due diligence on finding out what condition it’s in now after 20 years and 140k miles.


Say you get 1/17 of a gallon per mile average for your mostly city driving. That’s 0.0588 gallons per mile, or $0.294 per mile with gasoline at $5.

Driving 9k miles per year you’ll be spending $2647 per year on fuel. In a 28 MPG car you would spend $1607 per year, which is a savings of $1040.

When fuel prices drop to half what they are now which could happen within a few years, your extra expense of the Lincoln will be $520 per year.

What is that thing in the middle of the driver’s seat? Is it a rip or is something sitting on it? I’m talking about the round shiny thing with the round shadow next to it.

I would also find an independent garage to look at it. If you don’t know of one, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. Thee will be a couple with a few recommendations. Try one of them.

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I’ll just add without reading all the responses that I did 90% of my own repairs so didn’t have to pay anyone. Plus my 73 did not have a lot of electronics. The problem I’ve had with 20 year old cars has been with the electronics and parts availability. Personally I don’t like selling a new car for a 20 year old car to save money. Often it is better to just suck it up and pay the thing off. Everyone is crying for help at 15-20 an hour. Set your own hours. Second job on nights and weekends is done by many for a while.

There’s no way I would buy a vehicle that was being sold with an incomplete catalyst readiness monitor, no matter how well it was running

That would raise alarm bells in my head

Some catalytic converters can set you back thousands

As you guys all know . . . I’m not one of those people that are convinced that P0420 or P0420 are ALWAYS caused by a bad oxygen sensor

My experience tells me otherwise

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It is hard to tell from the pictures, but besides the pliers on the driver’s side floor (maybe used to pull the hood cable) there are wet stains near the drive shaft tunnel by the driver’s seat. does this car have a sunroof that’s leaking?

It doesnt appear to have a sunroof from what I can tell.

I didn’t see the pics before and not on Facebook. I liked the burned out 07 f150 though for $123,000. Clearly some unserious sellers.

I could see this as a decent second car but not a first to save money I guess.

With out the Fuzzy Dice the price would be $2250.00 .


If your budget is $2500, the Lincoln is a pretty good bet. Provided of course your own mechanic gives it a very thorough inspection. As part of that test, make sure the check engine light turns on w/key in on, engine not started, then turns off immediately after starting engine. Also your shop should test the OBD II readiness monitors are all complete.

You’d probably come out ahead on reliabilty and mpg with a big selling econobox of the same era, Corolla, Civic, Accord, Camry, Mazda 3 etc, but early 2000’s models probably not available in the $2500 range except those that have known serious problems.

Yeah, the 1998 - 2002 Corolla generation were known for stuck piston rings, leading to astronomical engine oil consumption

And there are probably still plenty of them for sale in areas that don’t see much rain and don’t use road salt

Civics and Accords hold their value even better than the comparable Corollas and Camrys, so you don’t get much bang for the buck

Some domestic mid-sized cars are also a decent choice and underrated, imo

I would suggest an inspection be done by someone other than Firestone. There are a few questions.

  1. Why replace one joint and not the other? Other issues discovered and balked? 2.Listed almost 2 months ago and no takers yet so the why question in today’s market comes up.
    3.The possibility the car has been swimming with the gators since this is in Slidell, LA.

I’ve been driving Lincolns and one Mercury for approx. 30 years. They have all served me very well into the high miles (250k to 400+k) but I always gave the cars a good pre-purchase inspection and maintain them well.

I’d think REALLY hard about letting a 2021 Honda go, to be replaced with a 20 year old Lincoln with known problems.

I get life happens and financial hardships…but it very well could be that you are trading a gem (the Honda) for a money and time black hole.

Is there just no way you can afford the Honda?