Help me find a car for my friend - was in Questions For Spectre thread

SquareLeft

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Well, I haven't bothered you folks for opinions lately, but I do have three new possibilities:

2003 Toyota Corolla - very interesting, private seller near Portsmouth:

http://chillicothe.craigslist.org/cto/5854567394.html

I've been sort-of pushing her to consider this one. I does have two small rust spots and I've contacted my friend J.P. the body-man for his opinion on repair cost. (You have to remember that they're not going to keep these cars forever - so they're basically disposable transportation.) The car would also need a timing belt, water pump and tensioner; which we can get done for $350 including parts and labor. Also, the seller has dropped the price to $2,500. I drove the car today and was pleased - quiet, no vibrations, good power, newer tires, etc. It also comes with service receipts.

***

I'm less enthusiastic about this car, but it is newer and her kids like it better:

2007 Ford Fusion SE near Columbus (private seller).

http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/5854568465.html

I haven't contacted the seller yet because it would be a 2 1/2 hour drive to look at it and I just can't see it being that good a car.

***

Finally, there's a 2008 Mazda3 sedan (base, base level) for $3,650. This was a newspaper classified ad without photos or details. The owner's daughter hit a deer and the front fender/hood gaps are off. It also has rust at the front of the RR wheel well. The car has 136k miles and has noisy brakes along with the always needed timing belt change. I drove it and wasn't all that impressed. Jill likes the fact that it's a 2008, but the kids are put-off by the fact that it's bright red.

***
As always, all opinions are appreciated.
SL
 

Spectre

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Well, I haven't bothered you folks for opinions lately, but I do have three new possibilities:

2003 Toyota Corolla - very interesting, private seller near Portsmouth:

http://chillicothe.craigslist.org/cto/5854567394.html

I've been sort-of pushing her to consider this one. I does have two small rust spots and I've contacted my friend J.P. the body-man for his opinion on repair cost. (You have to remember that they're not going to keep these cars forever - so they're basically disposable transportation.) The car would also need a timing belt, water pump and tensioner; which we can get done for $350 including parts and labor. Also, the seller has dropped the price to $2,500. I drove the car today and was pleased - quiet, no vibrations, good power, newer tires, etc. It also comes with service receipts.

Safe, decent if boring choice for what you want. Where are the rust spots?

I'm less enthusiastic about this car, but it is newer and her kids like it better:

2007 Ford Fusion SE near Columbus (private seller).

http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/5854568465.html

I haven't contacted the seller yet because it would be a 2 1/2 hour drive to look at it and I just can't see it being that good a car.

***

Looks like it's been in an accident and not properly repaired for who knows how long. I wouldn't bother.

Finally, there's a 2008 Mazda3 sedan (base, base level) for $3,650. This was a newspaper classified ad without photos or details. The owner's daughter hit a deer and the front fender/hood gaps are off. It also has rust at the front of the RR wheel well. The car has 136k miles and has noisy brakes along with the always needed timing belt change. I drove it and wasn't all that impressed. Jill likes the fact that it's a 2008, but the kids are put-off by the fact that it's bright red.

No, these are garbage.
 

SquareLeft

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SquareLeft said:
2003 Toyota Corolla - very interesting, private seller near Portsmouth:

http://chillicothe.craigslist.org/cto/5854567394.html

I've been sort-of pushing her to consider this one. I does have two small rust spots...

Safe, decent if boring choice for what you want. Where are the rust spots?

The rust spots are typical for an Ohio car. They're about the size of golf balls and are at the points where the rear wheel arches meet the rocker panels. We're used to dealing with these. If you can catch them early (like this car), there are two ways to deal with them. The 'quick' way is to simply cut away the rusty metal, leaving the wheel arch lip and rocker; MIG weld in a sheetmetal patch; paint; blow in either POR-15 or Waxoyl/Tectyl and call it good. The other, better, method is to buy replacement wheel arch repair panels, cut away more metal, MIG weld, paint and spray in rustproofer.

Either way, the repair will generally outlast a 13-year-old car. :)

SL
 
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SquareLeft

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The search is over! Jill bought the 2003 Toyota Corolla yesterday. I drove it back to her house, mostly on the highway at 60-70 MPH, and couldn't detect any problems.
So, first on the agenda is the rust repair and general clean-up. My body guy, J.P., says he can work it in within a week or so.
Next, there's a rock chip in the windshield that we're pretty sure the local glass place can fix with an 'injection' repair.
Then it's off to Tom's for a timing belt, water pump, tensioner and general check-up.
We're figuring about $800 for the above maintenance, but the car is just SO nice that it's definitely worth it.
It also has almost new tires (about two months old), a recent brake job (with fluid flush) and a transmission fluid change within the last year.
Considering the $2,500 purchase price and her $3,500 budget, she'll still come in a couple of hundred under target!

Thanks again for all the input over the past weeks. Jill generally accepts my advice, but it was nice to be able to show her other opinions!

SL
 
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93Flareside

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Woohoo! She's the owner of some car. :D

Hope it's reliable for her. Sounds like it should be once you take care of some things. What kind of tires are on it? Is it a recognizable brand like Goodyear or Michelin? I personally have been weary of used cars with new tires on them because a lot of people around here put on the cheapest possible just to make things like good.

Just like a dealer did to my father with a suburban back in 06. They put on these awful falken ziex tires that were crap for anything but dry weather.
 

SquareLeft

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2019 Mazda6 Sport, 2002 Subaru WRX
What kind of tires are on it? Is it a recognizable brand like Goodyear or Michelin?

To be honest, I can't remember. I looked at them the first evening when I test-drove the car. They're not NEW new - probably have a couple of thousand miles on them, so they weren't purchased just to sell the car.

The back-story on the car turned out to be pretty interesting. The ownership was a mother/daughter thing. The daughter and her boyfriend are moving to Montana. The mom is selling her house and following them out there. She wanted a new car for all the driving they're going to be doing. The boyfriend is a diesel mechanic who had landed a good assembly-line job at Peterbuilt in Chillicothe (thus the Chillicothe CraigsList ad), but is giving it up to make the move. They were a bit vague on the rest of the details, but they have friends/relatives out there who convinced them that the move would be worthwhile.

SL
 
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