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Should I buy a 2000 Toyota Echo that has been stored for 3 years?

I’m considering buying this car which was a forfeiture to a Police Department on the rainy side of Oregon. It only has 64,000 miles, but Carfax shows an accident (can only see minor damage to bumper), it has some mildew on the seats, and it has been sitting for almost three years. I thought it would be a bargain if I could purchase it for less than $3,000. Any suggestions?

How much less than $3,000 did you have in mind, and was the car stored indoors or outside?

The only good things you’ve said are “Toyota,” and “64,000 miles.” Everything else is a red flag. Be prepared to do some brake work; three years worth of rust will guarantee that. I’d imagine the tires are in pretty bad shape by now, and will probably have to be replaced.

I don’t like the sound of mildew on the seats. Where else is there mildew? I also don’t like the sound of crash damage. The three-year-old gasoline in the tank has the potential to cause some significant, and expensive-to-repair, problems with the fuel system.

This could be a bargain or a nightmare. I can’t see the car, so I can’t really say which is more appropriate. At $3,000, however, I would not consider it a bargain. Make a really low offer.

Why are you so interested in this particular car?

My teenage daughter fell in love! I’m hoping to get it for $2,300.00. I only have photographs to go by, which seems to show that the car is in good shape. I figured I would have to replace tires, oil, have brakes checked, etc. I’m planning to have it shipped, so it won’t be driven until I receive it, if I decide to buy it. I know it would be a risk, but it seems like such a bargain–maybe not, huh?

I was hoping you’d say you had inspected this car personally. If you’re buying long distance, with nothing but photos to go by, I’d say “RUN AWAY.”

Seriously, unless you have someone you know personally, and trust, inspect this car for you, forget it. You, and your daughter, will be sorry if you buy this thing sight unseen.

If your daughter wants an Echo (and there’s nothing wrong with that) find one locally that you can inspect and test drive. Don’t gamble with an unknown.

Buying a car based on nothing but photographic evidence is a prescription for disaster. There are too many horror stories to list here. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.

Mildew = spores = likely health issues to the owner. Avoid this one. Definitely.

Your daughter will be disappointed but she’ll fall “in love” with some other car.

Right on, Run away from it!

Well, from all indications this car was well maintained during it’s lifetime (not), was never in an accident (was) and had especially good care during the past three years (not).

Translation: Sometimes we want something so badly it really blinds us.

mildew on the seats! your daughter might love it… but if you love her don’t let her drive it. Sounds like a project car, if i were you i would keep looking.

No way would I give anywhere near 3 grand for this car. Forfeiture to the police could also mean thrashed by a drug crazed idiot on a regular basis.

Add 3 years of sitting and the car could have fuel system issues, battery issues, and dry rotted tire problems. Not to mention other things that can surface like failing brake hydraulics, belts, etc.
The accident could have been minor or a major one that now appears to be minor at first glance.

Mildew on the seats? Rain through an open window or sitting in 3 foot deep rain water? See what I mean?

You can find these easily for under $5000 and under 100k miles. The one you’re looking at could soak you for more. Your daughter’s safety is worth it, too.

Weren’t we pondering the question the other day about why Oregon seemed to have a proliferation of salvage Toyotas? :-0

Oregon, the center of the salvage title world!

I think it was more along the lines of a lot of Katrina cars ending up there.

Would someone willingly buy a house with mold/mildew in it? How about a car with it in there?

Why would you spend $2300 or $3000 on a vehicle with so many potential unknowns?

The questions that have been raised in all the replies thus far could mean some very expensive repairs - quickly becoming more than what you paid for the car.

Are you willing to accept that risk?

Roll the dice!

I Have No Japanese Car Dealers Within 100 miles Of My Home, but …

isn’t this Echo a compact-size car ? A teenage driver would be safer in something larger, if that’s the case. I too have a teenage daughter almost ready for driver’s training. I will certainly put her in a large car.

I just checked the HLDI and the Echo scored 189 (100 being average), in “injury loss” and earned a “substantially worse than average” rating, the lowest possible. They call these little cars “Mini” cars. I think of them as “enclosed motorcycles”.

Most large cars, including Japanese, rate under 100, many in the 50 to 75 range.

Any savings on one of these is not worth it. Cars can be replaced. Daughters are priceless. Don’t give it a second thought. Explain this to her if her heart is temporarily broken.

Run away!

Mildew = $1500 car that is runnning well

The Toyota ( and Honda) name is irrelevant except to suckers who think they are getting a problem free used car.

Mildew = health hazard, correctable with Bleach but your daughter will not like the results, I have a pair of shoes with mildew and it is IMPOSSIBLE to get the smell out not matter how much sun they sit in, and dryer runs!