Used Car Purchase


#1

I am looking to purchase a 2004 Chrysler Town and Country Touring vehicle from the dealer. It has 231,000 miles, very clean, new tires, new brakes, runs great and handles nicely, for $2500. I will use it to drive back and forth to work, a round trip of 15 miles everyday. My question is. Is it a good idea to purchase this vehicle because it has so many miles on it?
I would very much appreciate some feedback. Thank you


#2

The price is a bit high for a car with that many miles. I believe you can do better if you bought one from a private seller. Either way have it inspected by a mechanic.

I hope it has the V6 engine. Also, the transmission on these is very sensitive to proper maintenance with ATF +4.

Just to give you an idea, we sold a 2000 with 180K miles 2 years ago for $2K. It was well maintained but still seeped a lot of oil from all gaskets.


#3

The high mileage would scare me away.


#4

High miles could be troublesome. Check for rust underneath especially the rocker panels, common place for these to rust. Consider paying your independent mechanic $100 to inspect it to see what they find.


#5

$2500 from a dealer is about right ($1500 private sale). Get a prepurchase inspection from a mechanic you trust as @SteveCBT suggested. Reduce the price by the cost of anything you find wrong.


#6

Pig In A Poke…

It could make many 15 mile round trips or…
part of one 15 mile round-trip. Who’s to say?

Are the dealer folks reasonable? I’d see if the dealer will let you have an “extended test drive?” I’ve done this with dealers. They hang a plate on it and you take the car over-night and bring it back the next day. You will learn more about it that way. You get cold starts, hot starts, rough road driving, highway speeds, etcetera, and can look it over well. Check for rust and fluid levels and condition, too. Of course they’ll need your I.D. and run a check on you.
CSA


#7

High mileage and the fact it’s a Chrysler product would scare me away. This vehicle might be OK for a retired person who drives 5000 per year or so. I’d stay away.


#8

“High mileage and the fact it’s a Chrysler product would scare me away.”

High mileage and age (12 model years) is what make it only $2500!

Whatever Make/Model it is has almost nothing to do with this…
Present condition of the vehicle is what matters on an older, high-miles car, and needs to be evaluated!

“This vehicle might be OK for a retired person who drives 5000 per year or so.”

What does being retired have to do with this?
Read what the intended purpose of the vehicle is to be…

"I will use it to drive back and forth to work, a round trip of 15 miles everyday."
Do the math! Even working 7 days/week would amount to 5475 miles/year!
Working a 5 Day week would accumulate only 3900 miles per year!
CSA


#9

I agree with @“common sense answer”. Condition is always the most important thing for older vehicles.


#10

I don’t have an issue with the make of car or the miles. I do think the price is a bit high for the age and miles so some negotiating is in order.


#11

When I shopped for used cars, I took a roll of masking tape with me. I would peal off a little tape and cover up the odometer. I would take some more masking tape and .cover the nameplate. I actually did this in my mind. The point is that in shopping for transportation specials, mileage on the odometer and the make of the vehicle don’t mean much. The summer before I started 8th grade in 1954, my mother went back to work and our family needed two cars. The common wisdom at the time was to buy a used Ford or Chevrolet. Unfortunately, the Fords and Chevrolets that were in good shape were beyond our family’s budget and the Fords and Chevrolets my dad could afford were ready for the junkyard. My dad finally found a car at his price–a,1947 DeSoto coupe. . The paint was faded, but it ran well… When my dad brought the DeSoto home, I made some sarcastic remarks about the car not being cool and,I didn’t want to be seen riding in it. My dad didn’t say a word, but the next evening he came home with rubbing compound, polishing compound and wax. Hs told me that my job was to make the car look cool. I worked on that car for 2 days. I even replaced a tube in the radio and got that to work. Since our good car didn’t have a radio, suddenly it became cool to ride in the DeSoto. That DeSoto turned out to be one of the most reliable and troublefree cars my dad ever owned.


#12

First I would stop in and take it for a test drive. Make sure they they understand that you are interested, but refuse the purchase because of the mileage.
Then if you can wait 3-4 weeks…stop in and offer $1000 and see what they come back with. You may just get it for far less than the $2500.

But with this high mileage, I would not consider taking this on any trips farther than 50 miles from home.

Yosemite


#13

@ok4450
"I don’t have an issue with the make of car or the miles. I do think the price is a bit high for the age and miles so some negotiating is in order."

I would ordinarily agree with this. However, depending on what is actually meant by (without seeing it) “…very clean, new tires, new brakes, runs great and handles nicely…” this car could have things going for it other used up cars don’t have. It could also be an indication of some maintenance or care. Heck, 4 tires and new brakes all around could cost some individuals 1000 bucks. So, it could compare to private sale $1500 vehicles.

Also, @firesim doesn’t really say what kind of “dealer” this is. A Chrysler Dealer? Many Some (I know, I know, not all!) reputable dealers will check out cars and broom rejects to the auction.

Was it a local trade with maintenance records available? No info given. Lots and lots of variables.

Real estate: location, location, location…
Older used cars: condition, condition, condition…
CSA


#14

hmmm … 12 year old with 231K, that’s about 20 k miles per year. That’s a good sign, it was driven quite a few miles, so with any luck those are mostly freeway miles. That’s consistent w/it appearing ok. So it might work out pretty good for you.

However, were I looking for a car to primarily get me back and forth from work, 15 miles per day, that’s … hmmm … that’s about 4,000 miles per year … me, I’d prefer a sedan b/c they tend to handle better and get better mpg. And I’d want one that rated well above average in the consumer Reports reliability ratings for cars of that cost range. Suggest you do a little more research before writing any checks.


#15

Y’all may be correct that make doesn’t matter. But, that does not agree with my experience. My 1989 Dodge Caravan was the car from H**l. When I drove across the USA, every time I visited someone I had to make an appointment with a local mechanic to drive to the next destination

My 2002 Sienna with 220,000 still runs great and would be the last car I owned if Mexico hadn’t given it the boot. For 10 years the repairs it needed were done during my annual visit to the USA.


#16

@GeorgeSanJose
"…hmmm … that’s about 4,000 miles per year … me, I’d prefer a sedan b/c they tend to handle better and get better mpg. And I’d want one that rated well above average in the consumer Reports reliability ratings for cars of that cost range."

Sorry George, but I respectfully disagree with this logic, too. As stated earlier, it’s condition of an older high miles vehicle, rather than newer car reliability ratings. Give me any Make/Model car in good condition and apparently cared for over the top rated make/model that’s rusted or has seen some obvious neglect and has its tongue hanging out.

Besides, there’s such little difference in reliability in highly rated cars and low rated cars that it’s almost insignificant. Magazines develop ratings that magnify minor differences to sell magazines.

4,000 miles per year divided by 20 MPG = 200. 4,000 miles per year divided by 40 MPG = 100.
200-100=100. One hundred gallons of gas costs less than $300 and I’m being kind on the comparison. Sorry, but at 4,000 miles/year it is insignificant.

My Dodge Caravan has always been my lowest cost vehicle (of 7) to insure. That saves money, too.
By the way, it handles about as well as any of my cars.

Condition is king.
CSA


#17

@csa Retired means you don’t have to depend on the car on a daily basis. My wife is retired and if her car does not start in the morning, so what?

I would not buy this car as a daily commuter/driver even with an AAA membership.

I know several retired owners of Dodge Caravans and the Chrysler versions. They don’t love their vehicles, but drive them anyways because they’re paid for.


#18

Our insurance agent bought a Caravan when they first came out back in the mid 80s. He lived out here in the sticks by me and made 50-60 miles a day commutes to work every day along with using that van for vacations and anything else that needed to be done.

He was well off enough that he could drive a Benz if he wanted to; and did after the Caravan gave up.
That caravan ('85 or '86 model) had a shade over 400k miles on it when the transmission gave up.
The car wasn’t worth the expense of a new transmission so off it went to the crusher.


#19

@Docnick
"@csa Retired means you don’t have to depend on the car on a daily basis. My wife is retired and if her car does not start in the morning, so what?"

I don’t know why this starting thing is important. I don’t give it a thought. In the past couple of decades I have never had a car fail to start and some have in excess of 250,000 miles. However, they are GM and Chrysler cars…

I noticed to, in another discussion on CVT transmissions that you wouldn’t want one until somebody can fix/rebuild one.
"I will buy a car with one when there is shop that actually knows how to repair and rebuild one. "

@Docnick
You must have vehicle reliability problems that cause you to be so concerned about reliability (cars not starting & transmission problems.)

I’ve never had a transmission fail or need repair, except for speed sensors on an old, high miles Intrepid. Took a few minutes to screw in new ones.

"I know several retired owners of Dodge Caravans and the Chrysler versions. They don’t love their vehicles, but drive them anyways because they’re paid for. "

I know a retired guy that has owned a Dodge Caravan for 19 years… Me! This vehicle has been extremely reliable and I love it. it pulls trailers, too. I wouldn’t part with it!

It sounds as though you are describing vehicles from the fifties or sixties! :wink:
CSA


#20

@csa I avoid problems by focusing on top rated cars. With our careful driving style I could actually drive a Caravan trouble free, I realize. We have had automatic transmission cars since 1965. The only one problem we had was with a Mercury Comet with a C-4 Ford transmission. it cost $175 to fix in 1976. We pulled trailers with 8 different cars and with an auxiliary cooler, never had a problem.

The fact that you and I can drive a low rated car trouble-free for many years does not make me recommend it to anyone else. I know numerous people who had severe problems with these vehicles.

We are talking about exceptions and rules here.

In the sixties Chrysler products were the most reliable with respect to power trains. The 318 V8 with the 3 speed Torqueflite transmission was a bullet-proof power train and better than Ford or GM.