General Question

Ladymia69's avatar

Have any of you had much luck with used cars bought with 100,000+ miles?

Asked by Ladymia69 (6881points) March 17th, 2011

Most of the cars I am viewing at the moment are 100K and over. I realize that small repairs will be probable with such cars in the near future, but I am talking good long-lasting names like Toyota, Honda, and Subaru.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

BBSDTfamily's avatar

How much luck are you expecting? As long as you are realistic about what you’re buying and expecting, there is nothing wrong with buying a higher mileage car.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

You’re better off buying a Chevy.They have better cross-platform application,so parts are available and less expensive.I drive a car that is 45 years old and it’s doing just fine :)

12Oaks's avatar

In December, 1986, I bought a 1979 Ford Van from this guy for $300.00. Had over 100,000 miles, and the guy told me it probably wouldn’t last a year. I still drive that van today, despite it’s probably not the same van I bought as every single part had to have been replaced at least 2 times since then. Still, I don’t have to get emissions tested and parts are next to free to get.

Oh, and buy American. They’re more dependable and the repairs cheaper three-fold. A Ford may be what the Doctor ordered for you. Good luck. :-)

BarnacleBill's avatar

Car repairs are cyclical, and some have more to with age than mileage. Rubber/plastic parts break down after a certain amount of time. If the car is older, expect to replace gaskets, hoses, and all the parts associated with them. You will have maintenance on an older car, but not so much if it’s a newer high mileage car.

seazen_'s avatar

I’ve bought a car or two with that much mileage on them. Subarus and Toyotas.

The engine only starts to really get going after 50–100,000 on some of the models – but it really depends on the previous driver and his care for it. PM me for more specific details, if you wish, however, it also depends on who’s buying the car and what kind of person will be owning it… as well as the prior care and maintenance of it.

Like most things in life – there are many factors involved.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I’ve had 2 Volvos with twice that mileage on them when I got them. I loved them so much, and they lasted forever.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

1998 Toyota Camry ran well into the 100K’s, never anything but scheduled maintenance.

1990 Toyota Camry just bought from one former owner is a little treasure, going on 6mos with us and gets offers to buy all the time.

tranquilsea's avatar

My first car was a 1974 Super Beetle Sunbug that had 250,000km on it. The only thing that was going on it was the floor boards. I had to replace the breaks but the engine ran well. I drove that car for 2 years with few repairs beyond the breaks.

blueiiznh's avatar

my 1998 Grand Cherokee has 350,000 on it. I bought it new, but as long as good maintenance was done, it should do you well.
I have had good luck with pre-owns in the 100k range, but its all about care and feeding it well

cak's avatar

I’m married to a mechanic. He has two trucks. He has a newer one and his baby, a 1994 Ford F150. He bought it with high mileage, did some minor repairs and loves his baby. I think we take that more than my car.

Have a mechanic check it out, you don’t want to buy a money pit. If someone has done the proper maintenance, it’s probably ok.

lbwhite89's avatar

I bought a 2002 Pontaic Grand Prix that had 130,000 miles on it back in 2009. I haven’t had any problems with it at all. It’s actually proven to be the most reliable car I’ve ever had. Best looking one too.

It all depends on how well the car was taken care of, but 100,000 isn’t all that much. It’s not until 200,000 miles that you need to worry about it giving out on you.

Blueroses's avatar

My Subaru didn’t even enter it’s adolescence until 100k rolled over on the odometer. Fantastic car. (also one of the few that didn’t abandon manufacturing in the US, so “buy American” doesn’t really hold up. Ask the employed in Indiana)

SpatzieLover's avatar

@cak Great tip. In my tiny village, we have an honest car repair shop. The guys also sell a few used cars they’ve purchased from their customers. Buying from an honest car repair shop or mechanic is a wise idea. Otherwise, have one check the car over that you’re interested in buying.

We’ve had a few used Buicks and all of them have run well for years.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’d recommend a GM car with a 3800 engine. At 100,000 they are still being broken in. The engines last forever and parts are easy to get.
Hondas have interference type engines that need to have the timing chain/belt replaced at 100k. That can be expensive if you can’t do it yourself. $600. But it is usually more since they always find something else that is about ready to break. Check the manual; you will see that requirement at 100k. Then call the dealer and ask how much it will cost.
GM cars don’t need that. They just work.

Taciturnu's avatar

I had a 15 year old Corolla that I put a lot of miles on and loved. (Recently got a new one when my Jeep died a violent death by way of a Suburban.) My Jeep hit 100K without a problem and I’ve had friends that have gone over 200K with their Jeeps.

cak's avatar

@worriedguy: excellent advice. My husband was just saying the same thing. He pointed out that a lot of American (he listed GM/Chevy, Dodge/Chrysler and Ford- in that order) are really just getting started, at 100k.

Years ago, the advice might be different, 100k cars were not the way to go, especially American. This is coming from a mechanic’s viewpoint. He’s seeing a spike in his business in people interested in buying high mileage cars. The parts are still there, easy to find – for the better part.

@SpatzieLover Thanks! Helps to have mechanic-hubby on hand!

jerv's avatar

I have had mixed luck. Let me run down the vehicles I have owned.

‘87 Corolla – $500 – 147K : Beat to hell when I got it. I had to replace the exhaust and head gasket on it ($200 total) but required no other major repairs in the two-plus years I had it. I gave this car to my father-in-law after his car died.

‘89 Golf – $350 – 168K : Like any Golf/Jetta of this vintage in New England, the floorboards needed repair, and the rear shocks went out after a few months. Still, that $70 was the only major repair I needed for the year and a half I had that car. It was still running great when I got rid of it, but the body was beginning to rot. Pretty common in NH.

‘90 Civic – Free! – 220K : A hole in the gas tank, and it blew an igniter module ($40 replacement) but it lasted me longer than I thought it would. It snapped it’s timing belt though, and it wasn’t worth repairing.

‘91 Civic Wagon – $500 – ~179K : Awesome car! When the igniter module blew, I took the one out of my old Civic and it ran great for over a year… until the timing belt snapped :(

‘89 Aerostar – $250 – ~182k : Bought in desperation, this rig held only lasted me a few months, but part of that is because I didn’t maintain it. It would’ve required more body work than it was worth to pass another NH inspection, so when the water pump went, I decided to drive it until it died and use the money I saved from not repairing it plus any other savings to replace it. It’s water consumption steadily rose to the point where driving to the store 15 miles away took 2 gallons, and another 3 to get back home. I cracked the engine block almost two months after I thought it would crack, so even though I only had it about six months, I feel I got my money’s worth.

‘94 Corsica – $1,000 – ~98K : The only car I ever owned that had less than 100K miles, and the only one I ever bought from a dealer. It lasted only eight months before the engine underwent sudden catastrophic failure and shot it’s entire supply of antifreeze out the tailpipe.

‘94 Golf – $600 – ~169K : Again with the rusted floorboards ($50 worth of fiberglass). This car was a bitch. In hindsight, I should’ve gone with my gut and not trusted the seller (a local mechanic), but I think that the Better Business Bureau and the law caught up with him for the way he did business.

‘94 Subaru Legacy Wagon LSi – $1,375 – ~158K : Fully loaded, but showing a little age. After $200 for a starter and front half-shaft, this car ran great. The air suspension went out and I drove all winter riding the bumpstops (not good in NH winters!) but drove surprisingly well despite that. When the tax return came in, I dropped the $600 to rip the non-functional air suspension out and convert it to regular (and working!) shocks. This car was sold just before I moved to Seattle.

‘85 Corolla – $300 – ~212K : My current ride. I bought it almost two years ago with four blown shocks, which I got replaced for $500. It stil runs great, especially considering that at least some of the previous owners beat the ever-loving dogshit out of it.

Okay, what can we learn from all this? To start with, the American rigs are a bit fragile, at least the older ones. They’ve improved a bit since, but when you toss in the two transmissions my wife’s Saturn blew, and the trannies that her father blew in a Buick and two Dodges, it’ll be another decade before I trust them.
Second, paying more doesn’t always mean getting more. Sure, the quickest to die were the freebie and the $250 clunker, but the $1000 Corsica didn’t outlast them by much.
Third, beater cars are dicey, but they get the job done and for far less than a “decent” car. For $4,875 purchase price plus another $1,660 in major repairs, I’ve driven for over a decade. Compare that to what my wife’s Saturn cost, she spent double what I did in both areas in just two years!
Fourth, the older Corollas are damn near invincible. Of the eight previous cars I’ve had, only two still ran when I got rid of them; the most expensive and the Corolla. Of the nine on that list, only two of them lasted me more than eighteen months; both of the Corollas. (The Subaru would have, but I sold it and moved before then.).

@worriedguy After the Corsica, my buddy’s V6 Corsica, and that ‘91 Regal my in-laws had, I think you can understand why I am hesitant to agree with you on GM engines. I know that they are better than they used to be, but experience is hard to ignore and set aside.

@cak Even back a decade or two ago, there were some cars that were known to last. Mercedes Benz diesels can go over a million miles, and many have. Dodge Darts and many Toyotas stick around forever too. Still, that was generally true.

cak's avatar

@jerv: Ssshhhh! I can’t list a Benz. My husband hates to work on those cars! But yes, you are correct. I’m just keeping the peace in this house. ;-)

jerv's avatar

@cak With the exception of pre-1990 VWs, I can’t think of any German car that isn’t a bitch to work on :P

lbwhite89's avatar

Yeah, my friend has a VW and she’s had it since high school, but whenever something goes wrong, it costs a whole lot to fix. Luckily her dad is a VW mechanic…hence her getting the car for free.

My friends have a Jeep that is constantly undergoing repairs. Expensive repairs at that, because all parts had to come from the dealership. Three days after the car was paid off, the transmission goes out and it’s been in the shop ever since. And it’ll stay there until they come up with the $1500 to replace it.

I’m glad I’ve had better luck (so far!) with my Grand Prix. I’ve had some car issues in the past as well:

1989 Toyota Corolla (64K miles? puh!) – $1200 – Other than the fact that it had no AC, in South Carolina of all places, it ran fine until I rear-ended someone. After that repair, it was a piece of crap and I eventually had to replace the starter, the distributor, and the fuel tank at one time. This car was a mess and I’m to blame for most of it. The engine ended up locking up because I had an oil leak I was unaware of and couldn’t get under the hood to check it…because it was tied down from the first wreck. Honestly, I was glad to see it go.

2001 Ford Taurus (160K miles) – $4500 – There was something wrong with the ABS that no mechanic in SC could figure out. The car stopped just fine, but there was a constant “bump bump bump” under your foot every time I had to stop. Then it just stopped starting about half the time. It wouldn’t even rev up. Then you come out and try again and hour later and it starts just fine. No one could figure that one out either. That car ended up totaled as well, so I spent the insurance money (and then some—a total of $4200) for my current vehicle. I’m just hoping this one holds up. No wrecks in awhile though! :)

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

There are a couple of schools of thought on this issue.

Anecdotally, I once owned a ‘62 Chevy Bel Air that had over 120,000 on the clock before I bought it. I drove it for 3 years and performed only a couple of minor repairs. But I also owned a Pontiac that I bought with around 20K on it, that was pretty much in permanent lemonhood by the time it had 35K.

You can look at things like frequency-of-repair records to get an idea, statistically, of what you might expect from a car, but a lot of it comes down to luck. Regarding those schools of thought, the CW is that a car with high mileage is almost used up and should be avoided. The other is that the car has either had all the repairs it was going to need by then, or was built pretty well to begin with.

100K is also not a lot of miles for a car built in the last 15 years. Thanks to the OBD II standard, a computer keeps tabs on the engine and emissions controls to keep them in optimal tune, and to warn of problems when they occur. This has done wonders for engine life, assuming the owner pays attention to the check engine light.

OBD II also gives you an easy way to check out a car before you make a decision on it. If you can buy or borrow a scanner, you can check the computer for trouble codes (there should be none), and for readiness codes (they should be set, indicating that no one has cleared the computer of trouble codes recently). A clean scan won’t guarantee a trouble-free car, but it will answer a lot of questions about how the car has been maintained.

A road test will tell the rest of the story. Push the car harder than you normally would to check for any problems with the transmission or steering. If the car drives well, you probably have a winner.

john65pennington's avatar

Okay, you have heard from the rest, now here is the best(car to buy).

I have a 2000 Toyota Solara with 276,000 miles on it. Mostly interstate miles. I bought my car new and have babied it, since day one. I once reached 80 mph in it, coming down a steep mountain. I change the oil every 7,000 miles and have replaced the tires six times. Timing belt was changed at 110,000 miles, but mechanic said the belt was not worn at all. New brakes about four times and that’s it. Everything is original on my Solara.

This is living proof of why I swear by Toyotas.

jerv's avatar

@john65pennington I’ll stick with my late-80s Corollas; the Camry and Solara just don’t suit me :p
My buddy had an old Celica that he tried to kill (and failed) and my stepfather put 350k on his Celica with no issues.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther