I need a used car and have what may be a good deal, or a lemon, but I’m not sure. A mechanic is selling (for “commission”) a 2002 Subaru Legacy station wagon, so far so good. They claim to know the owners, and are selling the vehicle for them.
The situation is this: They say something broke loose and put a hole in the engine. They replaced it with a salvaged engine from “a large, reliable junkyard in Texas.” I live in Colorado…the car has 132,000 on it, and the engine has under 90K.
The mechanics, coincidentally, have replaced the following just recently: timing belt, tires, (heated) front windshield, belts, hoses, the clutch, a radiator which they claim to have damaged themselves so had to replace, not sure what else if anything. I will have an independent mechanic look at it if I get that far, and they have welcomed that idea. I think they got it at an auction for a great price, fixed it up, and are trying to sell it for blue book value range, which is $5500 asking price.
The reasons I’m even still considering this car are: It runs great (I test drove it), it looks great inside and out, has a lot of bells and whistles (alarm system, keyless entry, leather heated seats, nice sound system). And it does, in fact, have a lot of new stuff on it, is a Limited Edition, and seems on the surface like a potentially good deal. They said the new stuff all comes with a warranty, and would even warranty the engine for 6 months. I know this vehicle had at least 4 major issues because I had a 1997 Legacy which I painstakingly had to fix most of these issues (mine just got totaled), and don’t want to have to go through replacing the head gaskets again, or worry about a bad catalytic converter, or other major stuff which I forget and am too lazy to look up. I don’t picture the typical Suby driver to not take care of the vehicle, and this one was owned by people here who had custom “Adopt a Greyhound” plates and went to DU as evidenced by the sticker on the back. They might be trustworthy.
Here are my questions: 1) What is the true value of a car with a salvaged engine? 2) Once I buy the car, I presume it will be something like a refurbished car title, even if the one I inherit does not say that. I presume it will greatly lessen the value of the vehicle?
If I am willing to gamble on this, and buy their story which may or may not be true, how do I determine if KBB value is accurate for this car, or should I offer them significantly less because, at the very least, the engine came from a junk yard in Texas that isn’t required to be up and up about the stuff they sell, and it puts me at risk of something that could soon go kaput? I know all used cars come with a risk, but I don’t want to overpay, nor do I want to walk away from what might be an okay deal, whether the mechanic’s shop is telling the truth to cover up the fact they stand to make a huge profit. We all buy low and sell high, that’s not the point.
This mechanic has been in business 50 years, and has a couple of shops, and swear up and down they are honest and ethical. But I am female, did not bring a male or a mechanic with me, and may be looking like a chump right about now to them. Or not. Help! :0)