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Should I or NOT Buy 98-2000 Car?

Found a great deal on a 1998 Accord with 81,00 miles. Also found a 1999 Camry with 71,000 miles.

Just worried if 11-12 years is too old to buy used. Both cars have great reviews of going 200,000 plus miles.

What do you think? Will be safe to buy or stay away cause of age??

It is the luck of the draw, increase your odds by having an independent mechanic look at any potential problems or current issues. If your budget constrains you to those cars the money will be well spent. My general observation is there are a lot of posters with cars new to them having problems. Used car owners seem to have an uncanny ability to sell a car months before these major problems become an issue.

That depends. IF, and that’s a big IF, the cars were well mainteained and driven in a normal cycle of high and low speeds, and a mechanic checks them out ot be OK, I would buy at the right price.

However, if these cars were owned by either a cheapskate or a person who is not aware of the need for regular maintenance, and drove only short distances, RUN!!

You get the picture. The average person makes 2 trips per day in his car. That’s 365x2x12=8760 trips over the 12 year life for the 1998. 81,000 miles/8760=9.25 miles per trip. That’s not bad unless it is in a very cold area. With good maintenance the engine should not be sludged up.

For the 1999 car, 71,000 miles /11x2x365=8.84 miles per trip. againe OK WITH REGULAR MAINTENANCE.

If either owner cannot provide written proof of regular maintenance, I would walk away. In any case a mechanic should check the cars over.

Good luck.

In addition to having the cars looked at by a trusted mechanic, look for signs that the wear may be inconsistant with the displayed odometer mileage.

I was recently helping a friend shop for a used car and we looked at a 1995 (I think) Camry with allegedly 38,000 original miles. The seat was well broken in, the pedals were worn through the rubber to the metal and…biggie here…the steering wheel and the automatic shift knob were worn shiny, the molded in texture gone on the wear areas. Steering wheels and especially automatic shift knobs do not wear through their texture in 38,000 miles.

I got the carfaxex if this helps

Both of my cars are older than the two you list, so age is not a factor for me. If the cars have been cared for properly there should be no problems.

Both of these cars need timing belts RIGHT NOW, so factor the cost into any offer you make.

I don’t think these cars are “too old” to buy. If they’re in decent shape they can be reliable, low-cost transportation.

Carfax is a nice tool, but it’s limited and does not guarantee anything. I’ve seen cars with clean Carfax reports that were basically junk. DO NOT base your buying decision on Carfax.

In real estate, the three most important factors are location, location, location.
With a used car, the three most important factors are maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.

Unless you can verify with hard copies of records that ALL of the required maintenance has been done on time on a used car, then you are looking at a potential minefield of future repair expenses. Yes, an inspection by your own mechanic is vital, but since it is not possible for your mechanic to discover every potential problem that may be lurking, maintenance records are of vital importance.

As mcparadise stated, both of these vehicles are now overdue for timing belt replacement. If you do decide to buy one of them, you need to verify that the timing belt (and water pump, and serpentine belt, and belt tensioners) were replaced. If you cannot verify that, then you should use the lack of information to bargain the purchase price down by…at least $600. And, then, after purchase, the car would need to be driven immediately to a mechanic for that overdue service.

Also, some maintenance that is vital is no longer required by car manufacturers. For instance, transmission fluid needs to be changed every 3 years/30k miles, whether the vehicle mfr specifies it or not. Failure to do this on schedule will lead to early transmission failure–usually after about 100k miles or 8 years. Also, brake fluid needs to be changed on the same schedule. Failure to do so will lead to expensive corrosive damage to brake components. Many mfrs do not list these services, so many people do not have them performed. Unless you can confirm that these services have been done on schedule, then you can add them to your list of services that would be needed right away after buying a used car.

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!

Too Old. The Cars With Great Reviews Of Going 200,000 Plus Miles, Already Have ! These Two You’re Looking At Have Missed The Boat.

Sometimes frequent driving is better for a car than sitting. I’d be concerned that these cars had periods of time when they were driven and not brought up to normal operating temperature and then parked. That’s not the best situation.

Unless it’s a classic or collector’s car we’re talking about, most people are moving out of 11-12 year-old cars, not into them.

You’d be rolling the dice and you might win or live to regret it.

Some people have no choice, but to buy old cars (budget constraints). Because you apparently have a choice and because, “Just worried if 11-12 years is too old to buy used.”, I’d keep saving and keep looking for newer iron.

Even good maintenance can’t prevent seals, weatherstrips, and assorted rubber pieces from drying out, and corrosion getting into electronics, exhaust sytems, etcetera. I take pretty good care of myself, but am drying out and corroding a bit.

Many sellers of “low miles” older cars overvalue them. If you can buy one for close to the value of an old “average miles” car, it might be worth a gamble (not much invested).

Tell us the price of these cars.


the prices are $7000 each from a dealer

Check out Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds values. $4.5k - $5k seems more realistic for these cars. I bought a 99 Model Accord a little over a year ago from a dealer. They were asking $7500 and I got out the door for just over $5k and they even installed a new timing belt & water pump as part of the price. So bargain hard.

When I bought mine the dealer was able to give me a transcript of all the maintenance that the previous owner had done there, AND it checked out well with my regular mechanic.

So If you decide on something, have it inspected by a professional.

can you tell me how you negotiated to get that deal!
you can tell me here or via email

Never pay a premium for low miles, at least not much. The only thing worth paying some premium for is well documented, meticulous maintenance performed on time.

how do you mention this in a negotiation at used car dealer? do you just say…there’s not records of the maintenance. im gambling on this car…knock of the price??? how do you say it?

Just offer what price you’re comfortable with paying and if they don’t take it, walk out.

You will have to assume that the timing belt has NOT been done in either of those cars. So,

A. Offer $500 - $600 less than you would otherwise, so you can have the maintenance done on your own.

B. Offer what you might normally be willing to pay and suggest that they do the timing belt for you thru their service department. Be sure to get this documented in writing, I think its called a “Due Bill.”

The important thing here is: YOU MUST ASSUME THAT THE TIMING BELT HAS NOT BEEN DONE unless it can be proved otherwise through legitimate documentation.

Buying a used car in this price range is a huge hassle because deferred maintenance starts to complicate things, but be patient and persistent, you will find a winner as I did.

The timing belt is crucial because not if but WHEN it fails, your engine will be trashed.

How do you say it? Like this;
"I’ll give you $4500, out the door."
If they balk, shrug your shoulders, hand them a piece of paper with your phone number on it and ask them to call when they’re willing to negotiate with you, then walk out. Maybe glance over the car again before you get in your car.

In addition to bscar’s suggestion, make sure they know that you will buy the car immediately if the price is right. The mileage premium is $600 for the Accord and $800 for the Camry. Each is probably worth between 50% to 60% of the asking price. If they are an Accord EX or Camry XLE.

The salesmen told me,I could write a little to much maintenence in the logbook(so I dont over maintain anymore,I just do good maintenence)-Kevin