Should I Buy This Used Car?

A '99 Saturn in good condition with 74,000 miles. I have been told by a couple of dealers that parts will be available for quite a few years. What are your views?

There is an occasional problem on the 1.9L SOHC engine with the cylinder head and gasket. Is this a provate sale or a dealer, and how much are they asking? Pricing is also more accurate with a list of installted options.

Parts probably will be available for some time, at least through aftermarket suppliers in case GM does not continue their support of the parts supply.

However, some other thoughts that should concern you:

If this 11 year old car has only been driven 74k miles, that averages out to ~6,700 miles per year–and that can be a bad thing if the car was used for mostly short-trip driving. You need to confirm through maintenance receipts that the oil has been changed at least twice a year over the car’s life. If not, that engine that appears to be in good condition could be filled with damaging sludge.

And, on the topic of “good condition”–Has this been verified by your own mechanic?
Appearances can be deceiving, and what looks like the proverbial Cream Puff could have latent problems lurking that would only be uncovered by a thorough pre-purchase inspection.


I’d pass on this one on account of Saturn fading into the sunset (definite future patrs problems), and the car was far from very reliable to start with.

I agree: I bought a “cream puff” Crown Victoria with “only 90,000 mies”- found out later that the correct mileage as 190,000 miles! Needless to say, my “deal” was not so great a deal.

My mechanic checked it out. he said it needs $400 of minor repairs and indicated that it will then be in good condition. it is being sold by a dealer with 5 cars on his lot, and there are no repair records.

my mechanic said it was in a front-end accident but body and frame are fine. Asking price is $3990.

If it’s an SL it is overpriced by about $1200. If it is an SL-2 with typical options (AT, AM/FM/Cassette, PW, power door locks) it is overpriced by about $800. Prices courtesy of Edmunds. shows dealer retail of $3,202. includes clean cond. with optional equip.: a/c, am/fm/cassette, 4 speed auto. Mi. adj. $610, region adj. $54, and several smaller adjs. there may be other options.

dealer’s listed price is $3,990. i was planning to start with $3,000 and make a final offer of $3,190 – very close to edmunds price. any thoughts on my initial or final offer would be appreciated.

The Saturns are decent cars and parts will not be much of an issue at all. This one has a front end hit to boot and many times damage may not be visible when eyeballing something. Tweaked floorpan, subframe, strut towers, etc. can mean bad and expensive news.

My issue with this one is that I think that it’s way overpriced, front end hit or no.
With footwork and patience I think you can find a better car for far less money.

Explore Rip McCoy

My 96 purchased last summer to replace my now totalled ex-Mark. Slick in and out, drives like a dream, and gets 24+ MPG in combined driving.
I gave 1800 bucks for this car which is much, much more automobile for far less money than what you’re considering.
My point is not that you should buy a Mark; only that if you take a deep breath, do enough homework, and be patient a real deal can be found. In my case it took me 2 months of searching and a 600 mile round trip but it was worth it.

I won’t even get into the deal my youngest son recently stumbled across on a 95 Camry and which is now his daily driver.