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Too good to be true?

Me again. I’ve found a car I’m interested in but want to get your take on it:

1995 Honda Accord EX wagon reported with the following:
NEW: battery, brakes,timing belt, water pump, radiator, bearings, axles, exhaust
“stacks of maintenance records”
clean interior
180,000 mi.
asking 2250.00
dent in driver’s side passenger door visible in picture and noted by seller

I’ve asked the seller for the VIN and whether or not the paint is broken on the dent.

What say you all

Why would the seller spend all that money and then sell the car ?? I have a feeling that after his mechanic took his money, he pointed out some other issues (rust?) that convinced the seller to walk away from it, asking just enough money to cover those repair bills…18 years and 180Kmiles…Try $800

Got it and thanks much.

I second @Caddyman 's suspicion of rust. Hondas of that era were very prone to it. If you do look at it, check especially the rear wheel wells, the door hinges, and the undersides of the doors. Get a felt-lined magnet and see if it sticks to those areas if they don’t have obvious rust - make sure someone didn’t bondo-patch rust holes.

And if it still looks OK have a mechanic give it a thorough inspection, you don’t want to buy problems.

I will third Caddyman’s comments here. The car is worth about a third of what they are trying to sell it for.

Check this out.

$2500 is too much.

@missileman I respectfully disagree with your $800 value, unless it is a deathtrap.
Where I live 1995 accord sedans with similar mileage sell for about 2K. $800 won’t get you a 1995 accord wagon in my neck of the woods.

While i would be inclined to negotiate the price some, I think the car is worth more than $800. The used car market has changed a lot in the last few years. The $500 car of five years ago is now a $1500 car. Around here, basket case Hondas and Toyotas regularly sell for $2k on up because of the badge on the car. People even ask more than a grand selling them as repairable with broken timing belts and wrecked valves.

Even Without The Champagne Taste, Buying A Decent Car Within A Beer Budget Is Very Difficult.

You’ll either get something old, damaged, or a zillion miles on it. Condition (mechanical condition, not cosmetic) is the most important feature. Forget about what outfit manufactured it.

Old cars have their own weird problems when something malfunctions. Rust, disintegrating; wiring, hoses, bushings, seals, etcetera, cause hard to diagnose, difficult and expensive repairs. An old car can cost you more to keep on the road than a new car.

Think: Geriatric Doctors. Old cars and old people have their own unique problems that sometimes have no clear cut solutions, but rather symptom treatments to allow the car/person to keep functioning for a while and frequent treatments are required.

On a beer budget shopping for a car, I’d go with newer and a zillion miles or cosmetic body damage, provided they checked out to be in fair shape mechanically and safe to drive, over an old car, even if it looks good. 1995 is from an era of cars that has most of members in the junk yard. Newer cars have better crash protection and safety features.


db4690…I attend a lot of auto auctions and an 18 year old vehicle with 180K and dents would be lucky to bring $800-$1,000. I know it’s a Honda but it’s still not worth $2,500. The fact that people in your area overpay for vehicles does not make them any more valuable than they really are. These cars are a dime a dozen in the Lexington, Ky area.

The unique thing about this car is that it is an Accord wagon. These were only made for a few years and therefore are scarce. If you don’t care about it being a wagon, keep looking for a regular Accord and you can pay less.

The list of recently repaired/replaced parts is good. Especially knowing about the status of the timing belt and water pump. Many old Honda’s for sale need to have a new timing belt paid for by the new owner.

Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle. Especially look for rust in the front end parts where the unibody is welded to the framework that supports the front end suspension parts. If there are no structural problems and the car checks out mechanically, then negotiate a price you feel is fair. The posted price seems high, but how negotiable is that price?

I think it’s worth more than 800 dollars but one can’t really lump auto auction prices and retail values together. Someone may buy a car at auction for 800 but that doesn’t mean it won’t end up for sale at triple that.

Granted, I think the price should be negotiated down some but my main concern would be the reason why someone would spend X dollars replacing all of those items only to turn around and sell it.
The cost of those repairs could easily equal the asking price of the car, if not more.

@missleman any good is worth what people will pay for it. If people will pay $2500 for a beat up old Honda, then that’s what it’s worth. You and I might agree that such a price is insane, but all that means is that we won’t be the ones buying it. :wink:

To the OP have it checked out for any problems. To the rest of you use car prices are way up to the point of crazy. I just bought a 2000 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 4X4 with 151000 on it. Needs rocker panels due to rust. The Jeep runs and drives like new. I got the dealer down from $2700 + taxes and fees, to $2100 out the door. It was on thier back lot. This is a deal right now. I have seen Jeeps like this going for over $3000. I see cars and trucks from the 90’s selling for over $2500 with over 180000 everyday. I called on a 2003 Jeep Liberty with 170000 on it with a bad motor. Aking $1500. I told the guy I would give him the asking price. He told me he had 6 people comming to look at it and the first one with cash to get there would own it. I was over 2 hrs away. I did not get it,as he called me back and said it sold to the first guy. You cant go by the books right now if they value it under $2000. From what I see if runs and drives and stops, its worth $2000. no matter what year. Even the repo lot is seeing this price war. I watched a bidding war on a $600 asking price, get bid to $1850. That vehcile was only worth $600 in my OP, over 225000 and needed tires. I put a $900 bid on a 1995 Astro van with rust,need 4 tires and 180000 on it. It went for $1600. Yes deals are out there, but are harder and harder to find.

Throwing in wholesale auction prices is just confusing to the avg smuck who pays retail. U and I buy retail. We do not buy at car auctions. Car X is 800 at auction but joes auto ranch sells it for 2995.

I would wonder why the car is for sale. If it’s due to an elderly driver that has given up the keys or the heirs of an elderly driver that just don’t need the vehicle, then this could be a very good deal indeed and I would not waste a lot of time thinking about it.

The dent is a minor concern here. If it is only one dent, and its not too large and their is a good explanation, then OK. But if there are several dents or other areas of body damage, however minor, then walk away, that indicates a lot of abuse. If you see this, and the car was obviously owned by a smoker (burns in the interior) then run a way as the previous owner was also likely a drinker and there will be a lot of issues with the car in the future.

BTW, by drinker, I don’t mean social drinker.

Let me clarify my auction statement. I don’t attend dealer auctions anymore. I only attend auctions that are open to the public. I never buy vehicles from dealers or used car lots so I may be a little spoiled when it comes to price. There are many options out there where you don’t have to pay retail.

@missileman why didn’t you bring up the auction earlier?!

Of course auction prices are cheaper than private party prices!

Why are you comparing apples to oranges?!

I have seen a lot of shady cars that were bought at an auction. I’ll leave that to you. I will NEVER buy an auction car. Let’s not forget that many cars that dealers and used car lots don’t want to
f . . k with go to the auction. You might strike gold, or you may buy a turkey.

By the way, the people in my neck of the woods gladly pay those prices I listed and aren’t even complaining. Maybe they don’t feel like they’re being ripped off because they’re not being ripped off.

By 180,000 there would be a lot of new parts installed, with good reason. If you do your own repair work, you might consider buying it. I recommend a $500 purchase price. I sometimes get cars like that for free because they’re not worth betting on.

If you’re selling it, the car is perfect. If you’re buying it, at least act like you’re afraid of the risk. Save as much as you can from the initial price. There are lots of potential repairs. That kind of potential sometimes empties your bank account. Electrical parts like starters and alternators are expensive on most Japanese cars. The expense isn’t too bad if you can change them yourself but it’s still a hundred to a hundred fifty dollars.


By 180,000 there would be a lot of new parts installed

Not necessarily. My MR2 just rolled over 180k this past summer. It has a new radiator, new(er) coolant hoses and new plug wires. Unless you count the cosmetic stuff I’ve done (new leather for the seats, etc) that’s all the new parts it has. My CRX has over 200,000 miles. It got a new passenger side rear wheel bearing assembly 30k ago. It does have a “new” engine, but not out of mechanical necessity - I swapped the motor from my rusted out Si, also with over 200,000 miles, to give it more power. And that motor doesn’t have anything new except for coolant hoses a timing belt/water pump, and a radiator to replace the one we broke while swapping engines. (and its old engine is in the aforementioned rusty Si, was sold to a friend, and is still going strong last I checked).

It’s not terribly unusual to see a 90’s Honda or Toyota running around with almost all factory original parts.