By on May 10, 2013

(photo courtesy: gtcarlot.com)

Ankush writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have been reading your reviews and advice columns for a while now. I came across one where you recommend buying a newer model car with higher mileage as opposed to an older with lesser miles. I frankly believe that this probably is quite specific to the cars under scrutiny. That said, I find myself in a similar dilemma and thought I’d be better off seeking expert advice than my own guess work.

I am certain I want a Ford Mustang. Always have. As you may know, the Mustangs had one body type uptil 2004 and then 2005 is when they launched the meaner looking new body. Described below are my options (mind you neither is ‘new’. It’s all just relative)
1) Ford Mustang GT – 2000 make
– 71K miles
– Single owner (family); driven by a ~45yr old lady
– V8 engine which obviously costs more
– Leather interiors
– Pretty awesome condition, at least to look at

2) Ford Mustang -2006 make
– 116K miles, claimed to be highway miles
-Single owner (some dude) but sold by a dealer
-V6 engine. I don’t mind fewer cylinders. If anything it will give me a tad bit more on the gas mileage scale
– Fabric interiors
– Some dings but not bad at all. I’d be happy to ride it.
-I prefer the color of this one marginally. Cherry vs. Silver for the 2000.

Obviously, the newer body type is a good thing but isn’t 116K way too many miles? Also, I think I can bring them both down to $1000 less than the KBB suggested price. Your thoughts?

One quick additional question- do I need to get a compression test on a used car or are visual tests by a qualified mechanic enough?

Sajeev answers:

The lure of owning a Mustang GT vs. the base model aside, this fits nicely in my “low mile original” fallacy argument. Depending on the service receipts for both. If you haven’t asked for both vehicle’s service history, stop whatever you are doing and DO IT.  And if you can get an OASIS report from a local Ford dealer on the 2006 Mustang, make it happen.

Why? Because without knowing the details there’s a good chance the older Mustang GT’s brakes, tires and other wear items aren’t as fresh/reconditioned as the newer one.  While I’m not a huge fan of that Mustang’s rock solid interior, limited visibility and generally XL-sized styling, but that SN-95 (1999+) comes from Ford’s even darker days of beancounting. And it shows.   The V6 ‘stang is a better car overall, and odds are the wear items are better sorted too.

Is a 2006 model with 116k too many miles?  Nope, it’s still a seven year old car. With basic maintenance done on a regular basis, this car will last for 100,000+ miles with minor repairs needed along the way.  Again, service receipts!

And to your last point? A compression test isn’t necessary, unless you are super paranoid.  If the oil and coolant look proper, you don’t see smoke from the tailpipes upon start up (when the motor is cold) and the power feels as good as every other V6 Mustang on the market, odds are the compression is fine. While buying a used car is always a risk, compression problems aren’t very likely in your case.

 

 

 

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57 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Fallacy of the Low Mile Original (Part II)...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I think it depends on your budget, Mustang is one of those things where it “pays” in the end to spend the money and do it right with the most pristine example available, as opposed to doing it on a budget (at least as a DD). Buying it new-used for the right price makes more sense in my mind because when you go to dump it in X years you’ll still get a healthy percentage in resale… you buy an 06/116K for I dunno 8K? and go to sell it in four years how much will you get for it and more importantly how much will you spend on it on the same period (i.e. deferred maint from previous owner, fluids, brakes/rotors, rubber etc)?

    I was offered a black 2006 V6 mid trim (leather, pw/pl, alloys) with 86K for $8500, I meh’d it. Not bad, but not enthralling me. If I am going to spend 10K I’d might as well spend 15-17 and get the newest model year I can and less headaches during my ownership experience.

    The Lincoln Zephyr fits into this category as well, nobody wants these cars at the auction I’ve seen 12s < 20K miles do 18.5-20.2. This is a car you can purchase almost new (and buy the Ford warranty) for 21-22K depending on the scumbaggery levels of your local car dealers. Sure it will keep sinking like a stone for another two years or so, but for what you pay its the better proposition than buying say the 06MY of this car 90K otc for 10-12K at your local bhph.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “I’ve seen 12s < 20K miles do 18.5-20.2. "

      Are those rental cars? Who else dumps a car 1-year old that quickly?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Difficult to tell unless they run in the rental lane (which is reserved for fleet cos IIRC). Sometimes a dealer may buy a rental, offer it retail, not sell it, and then take it back to the block and run it in a regular lane. Unless you run a carfax on your phone before it hits the block I’m not sure you could tell without seeing the title. I see your logic but some ’12s may be early and actually be more than twelve months old at the time of sale, or its possible a ’12 may be titled oddly. My 2008 GP was actually built in May 07, yet sold at the end of May and titled as an ’08. Ford does weird things sometimes, I think at one point I heard they were offering 15 and 27 months leases as opposed to 12/24/36 like most companies I know.

        I think generally speaking nobody wants these cars or the stigma they represent, but I think they are a good value being better equipped Fusion clones and all.

        This PGH Ford dealer specializes in new-used Lincolns… their AWD prices suck but take a look at some of the ’10 and ’11 FWD models offered at retail:

        ’11 MKZ FWD / 29K / $18.9
        ’12 MKZ FWD / 23K / $22.6

        http://www.washingtonford DOT com/used-inventory/index.htm?listingConfigId=auto-used-lincoln&year=&model=MKZ&bodyStyle=&odometer=&internetPrice=&start=0&sort=&facetbrowse=true&searchLinkText=SEARCH&showRadius=false&showSubmit=true&showSelections=true

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          Well, I guess that answers my question. It looks like the ’12s are former rental cars.

          The ’11s are mostly 2-year leases. If I were shopping for an MKZ, I’d probably go for one of those over the rental ’12s, considering they have the same mileage.

          The landau-topped 2007 made me spit out my drink!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Now I’ve got to log back in and see this 07.

            I have similar thoughts on shooting for the ’12 over an ’11, but for me part of it is mileage. I’ll buy the ’11 15Kish over the ’12 30K+. A good chunk of them probably are rentals but unless Carfax is in on it, this Ford dealer had at least two ’11s that were not rentals but considered personal leases. I’ve been trying to push my brother toward one of these just for the sheer bang-for-buck ratio.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yeah Zephyr and LS could never pull of the landau roof, they both just look ridiculous. Conti and TC could, but even those look a bit funny (save the TC’s 90s half roof, loved that one)

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I recently saw a 2013 Lincoln MKS Ecoboost with a landau roof. Yes, it was every bit as horrible as you’d imagine…

      • 0 avatar
        Flybrian

        Usually not rentals, rather program cars and Red Carpet Leases. I’ve seen similar pricing, but usually for ‘base’ Zephyrs wearing undesirable colors with small wheels. Nav, roof, and chrome wheel-equipped cars always go for more.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I concur, although I can’t recall seeing a ’10 or newer example without a roof. I know Mercury at one point made the roof standard for all Milans (at least the retail ones), one could speculate Lincoln followed suit with their version.

          • 0 avatar
            Flybrian

            Wish Ford Motor Credit ran those slider cars in Tampa more often. I almost picked up an ’11 fully-loaded with big chromes, THX/NAV, no slider, but a matching vinyl roof (didn’t look bad at all again because of matching color and that it was vinyl) a few weeks ago. Always see a weird mix. And like 90 Crown Vics nobody wants.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Are you saying that someone put a vinyl roof on a 2011 car? Was it on a Mercury Milan? A Lincoln MKZ? Neither of them look like they could comfortably wear a fake convertible top.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yes evidently people are still putting those roofs on the Fusion/Milan/Zephyr. They were also popular with the LS when it was out around here.

            If you look at the link of the Ford dealer I posted above, they have a silver 07 Lincoln Zephyr with a black carriage roof here in Pittsburgh.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Flybrian

            Just curious, but what are those Panthers doing at the block?

  • avatar
    @markthebike

    If anything a V-8 GT will be spanked harder however over time a V-6 car will always come up short value wise.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d personally go with the ’00 GT.

    You wrote “pretty awesome condition”, the V8s have a much greater aftermarket, and junkyard parts should be plentiful and cheap.

    However, I’ve never really been a big believer in the “Fallacy of the Low Mileage Original” in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      I’m with you on the “Fallacy of the Low Mileage Original.”

      45k miles is a significant difference and parts like shocks, ball joints, interior fabrics, etc that tend to wear with mileage instead of age are more likely to have to be replaced.

      Go with the GT and don’t look back.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      There is a second part to the equation that “low miles” leaves out and that is the cycles (start/shutdown, repeat) and usage pattern. The ultimate “low mile original” would be occasional, but consistent, use with a long enough period of operation for full warm up of all parts. My garage queen sits for a couple of weeks at a time and then gets 30 miles of driving and then goes back in the garage. No stop/start, no commuting duties.

      The Fallacy of the Low Mileage Original would be a car that saw nearly daily use for a few miles a day. Even with good care, that car at 50K has a lot of wear. For every 100 miles, a car like that saw dozens of start/stop cycles, likely did not always warm up completely, and all the subsystems (a/c right down to the door handles and windows) saw usage well beyond what a car driven at 40 miles per use saw. Cars like this are the ones to avoid.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’m on the exact opposite side of the coin. A Mustang GT driven by a middle-aged lady isn’t likely to have been hooned very much. Maintenance items like brakes and shocks can get caught up, and the new owner can drive it another 100k easy.

    I’ll take the 2000 model with 71k every day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Me too, Alja. One thing about a high-mileage car is that its unlikely to be an out and out lemon. An older, low mileage car might be a prized possession, only driven in the summertime on weekends proposition, or it might be low mileage because the owners didn’t trust it.

      High mileage cars are a real drag on the market, beyond their intrinsic wearing out, especially over 100K. Therefore, a high mileage car in good condition is likely to be a pretty good buy.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Why pay the premium for lower mileage and then have to catch up on maintenance anyway? I typically try to save the money on the initial purchase and use the difference to catch up on maintenance. Better than blowing your whole wad on the garage queen and then having to repair it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoTone Loser

        I second this. I have owned 8 cars now, a ’77, ’68, ’91, ’78, ’95, ’84, ’94, and my final, another 95, and I never paid more than 1k for any of them. Two of them were free. One was a perfect garage queen that I drove for a year until the trans went(lebaron) and the other was a bucket of rust from ohio that I drove for 2 years and never put a penny into.

        The ones I did pay for, most of them needed water pumps, but that was always a sub $40 dollar item, and despite all of them being in various conditions, in total I never had problems out of them that couldnt be managed with a short drive to the auto parts store.

        So either I am very lucky(not true) or just by paying attention and throwing a few dollars at the car when needed, they managed to run just fine. All of them ran when I sold them. Even the lebaron would start and move, it just wouldn’t get out of 2nd gear. I’ve never broken down and NEVER carried a cell phone “just in case.”

        Somehow I have a feeling that unless you own a mkiv jetta or a dodge with a 4 speed auto, or a british leyland anything, the idea of having a car that is a “money pit” is a fallacy. The cars that become money pits are due to neglectful owners, bad mechanics, scamming mechanics, or general laziness.

  • avatar

    Another question I have is was the GT a summer only car and the v6 a year round car? Up north that makes a big difference.

    I had a 2010 GT and still own a 94 v6, both manual. Aside from the crap eating grin I could get every day with the 4.6 and 3.73 rear end, I actually enjoy the way the older sn-95 drives better. It feels more like a car to me, not something for everyone, but I like an unrefined sports car.

    116k in 7 years doesn’t sound like all highway miliage, it sounds like general driving. Who uses a v6 mustang for all highway miliage? Not that the dealer would really know how the car was driven.

    IMO, they are both great cars and both completely different other than the pony on the hood. Which one do you like better? They made a ton of both of em, so start by picking one you like more then start deal hunting. You won’t come up short of options, but yes, most GTs are flogged. She may be 45 now, but she was closer to 30 when it was new and I’m sure other folks have enjoyed it when she let the borrow it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Ask for a hydrocarbon test of the coolant. Most shops will do it for free. They simply take a small sample of coolant, add some chemical, and if there are any hydrocarbons in the coolant it will turn yellow. The more yellow it turns, the more presence of hydrocarbons. A positive test is indicative of a head gasket failure of some sort. It isn’t as iron clad as a compression test, but it’s a budget way of checking for potential problems – and again – most shops will do it for free.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Even though they are both Mustangs, this is apples to oranges. The cylinders and upholstery made enough difference in initial price, regardless

  • avatar
    Reino

    Even though they are both Mustangs, this is apples to oranges. The cylinders and upholstery made enough difference in initial price, regardless of body style. The buyer should buy the one he likes better in this case.

    A true comparison between old/low and new/high can only be done with similarly equipped models.

  • avatar
    TR4

    If those are rust belt vehicles my vote would go for the 2006. Six years newer means six more years without rust.

  • avatar
    Littlecarrot

    Having bought an AMC Pacer a few years ago with only 45K miles on it, I’d say low mileage isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Is holding out for a 2005+ GT not an option? Too expensive?

  • avatar

    45k miles since the 1970s is rather different than 71k since 2000. If the miles have been spaced out you still keep things fresh on the 2000. The Pacer likely sat at one point or another and that is when the low mileage farce really shows its ugly head.

  • avatar

    Former ’86 5.0 owner here. Trust me, every time you mash the throttle you’ll be grateful to hear the unmistakable V8 burble respond. Also, MPG between these two motors isn’t significantly different. Last but not least, as ajla said, aftermarket for the GT is huge. You can make your GT into anything you want it to be, and for very little money.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m going to assume the asking price of the cars is about the same and that you’re going to use it as a daily driver type car. Assuming these two things, get the ’06 if the maintenance history is up to date, the car looks ok and passes a basic inspection. If the car runs well and the coolant isn’t nasty brown, I wouldn’t bother with needless compression testing, oil analysis or coolant hydrocarbon testing. A competent mechanic will be able to listen, look and feel to catch anything major.

    The 4.0L SOHC V6 doesn’t have any major glaring flaws to look out for aside from ensuring that oil changes weren’t neglected. They actually have 3 timing chains, one of which is on the back of the engine which you have to pull to change. Good oil maintenance will ensure that the guides and chains make the most of life.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You can change the oil religiously and have the rear timing chain start dragging at not much more than 100K. The tell tale is to start it up after it has sat at least overnight you’ll hear it banging around for a few seconds while the tensioner fills with oil to take up the slack. SOHC 4.0 is best left alone.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoTone Loser

        second that. there is nothing you can do to stop the 4.0 sohc timing chain from stretching.(ex ford engine mechanics words, not mine) It will last for 300k, but one bank gets progressively more out of sync sync with the other and will begin to sound like its constantly quietly backfiring at idle. Or at least that’s my experience with higher mileage Expeditions.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Offer $6,000 for the 2000 GT and don’t look back. There are a thousand decent examples of GTs out there if you are willing to drive a little. They are a dime a dozen, and not rare at all. You are probably the only person looking at this car, as it is more “niche” compared to a Honda Civic.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The other possible scenario, is that the asking price of the 2000 a good amount less than that of the ’06. Or you’re looking for a second car, one that will be driven less frequently. The 2000 GT with leather is the choice here. Low mileage can be a plus for some things. There will be less worn suspension components which is going to be the most common repairs needed on used vehicles around the 100k mile mark.

    If the 2000 was well cared for as the appearance suggests (and maintenance records should confirm), there is no reason it wouldn’t be just as reliable as the 2006, if not more (4.6L 2V and 4R70 trans FTW). The 2006 uses the 5R55 transmission which isn’t as reliable or nearly as cheap to fix as the fairly robust and plentiful 4R70. Just noticed you didn’t mention what transmission, so the above only applies to the automatics.

    With the 4.6L V8, make sure to inspect the intake manifold to ensure that it has the aluminum coolant crossover passage accross the front. The engine in that car would have been built with the plastic manifold that can crack and in some cases hydrolock the engine. It should have been replaced under the recall, the OASIS report can help with determining this as well. Otherwise, those engines are mostly trouble free.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    For those saying that a mid-40’s woman won’t be hooning a car, I’d like to introduce you to my ex-wife.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    Sajeev — do dealers readily give out the OASIS report? Often when I try to get that kind of information out of a dealer (haven’t done it for Ford, have done it for other makes), they say it’s a privacy issue.

    There’s no privacy issue in giving someone the service records for a car they own — it’s a BS dodge.

    Most recently, I was able to get one service department to give me a print-out of warranty work, but it was all in codes that I don’t understand, and there’s no way to look them up. I think the guy was just being lazy and wanted me out ASAP, because he should have been able to get me a better print-out. This is why I hate dealer service departments.

    • 0 avatar
      iantm

      Ford dealers are *usually* pretty good about that. Of course, I’ve always had a good relationship with the local Ford dealer service department in whatever city I happen to be living in.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    In this specific case, I’d go with the older, lower mileage V8 Mustang, but in many cases, I would say go the other way.

    A 13 year old car with 70k miles vs a 7 year old car with 116k miles is a push in terms of “reliability”, especially if we’re talking highway miles. If anything, I could see more maintenance on the older car than the one with higher mileage. Rubber bushings, hoses, belts, suspension, etc all wear out from time as well as miles (maybe even more so) Plus, unless it was always garaged, things like the paint and interior will start to wear out when you’re talking about a car that’s twice as old.

    A V8 Mustang though is a special case, and it’s clear it was likely a babied “fun car” that was probably well taken care of. The V8 models also have a much better resale. The V6 Mustang sounds like it was basically used like a rental car, rode hard and put up wet.

    I will say though, even though I like the looks of the SN-95 era Mustangs, they really were crappy (nearly disposable), but their saving grace is they’re simple to work on.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      I agree 100% as to the choice between these two particular cars. IMHO, 116K miles is not enough to assume that wear parts have been replaced, at least not on cars made in the last 15 years. It’s more likely that they are all getting to be worn out. Also, the lower mileage car was described as looking spectacular, which probably means the interior looks new. I have rarely gone wrong buying a car, of any age, with a pristine interior. It’s the part of the car you live in. If you don’t care about how it looks, I’m going to assume you aren’t caring too much about the parts of the car you can’t see. Also, the older the car is, the more that excellent interior means the car has been kept out of the sun.

  • avatar
    99GT4.6

    I just bought a 1999 Mustang GT with a 5 speed manual a month ago. I got it for $4700 + tax and had to put new brakes all round with new front calipers, new rear tires, (both done myself) a new windshield, and a new catback exhaust on it (previous owner had straight piped it from the cats back). I knew it needed these things and budgeted for them. It’s not been winter driven, and is fully loaded with leather and an aftermarket sunroof which was professionally installed, doesn’t leak and works great! There is a few dings on it but nothing major.
    Unless you are desperate to have the newer body style I would go for the 2000. The v8 has tons of power and it holds its value better long term over the v6. The leather interior is awesome and if it has the Mach 460 sound system in it that thing is great! Whatever car you choose, I would strongly recommend a pre purchase inspection by a trusted shop.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I wouldn’t touch any Ford car from this company’s bean counting era (which roughly coincides with pre-Mulally time). Perhaps the SUVs could have been ok, but late 90s and early 2000s cars were specially bad (Taurus, Focus, etc). Once the car hits 60-80K miles/10 years old, certainly wearable items just fall off the cliff. And in general, unless you’re a DIY mechanic, you will quickly find out that any 10 year old car needs much of its suspension rebuilt, from steering rack and links to struts, springs, control arms, and so on, and that’s not cheap. Also, if you own +10 year old car, expecting a random AC or AT meltdown is a fair game. The 4-speed transmission from that time were specially time. Dull and unresponsive. Forget about manual shift gate options, and they broke often.

    I am certainly not trying to discourage from buying older cars. If you really prefer the looks of the older car sufficiently to be willing to accept potentially higher maintenance costs, then go for it. My gut feeling is that 5th generation Mustang is a better car though, not only because its newer, but it was built and designed in era when Ford started caring more about its cars.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I own a 08 Premium Delux V6 auto convert 66000 KLM = 40K miles. The timing chain problem was cured by then. However, lower control arms,with the integrated ball joint,can get ugly. $325 each plus labour…..ouch!

    Mustang do not do winter well. Check that its been winter stored,or spent its life in the south.

    The Stang is a great car. I also own a 2ss Camaro stick. To be honest sometimes I enjoy the Mustang more. I don’t plan to part with either one.

    Just sayin.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Ford still hasn’t fixed their steering systems?

      Sheese, you would think that the warranty time of 36,000 miles is timed in such a way to get money from steering system repairs.
      Has got to be my #1 thing against ford, is their absolutely trashbin balljoints

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Get the ’00 GT.

    You will enjoy it a lot more. It will be worth more on the back end, too.

    These cars don’t break very often. Drive and enjoy.

    • 0 avatar
      vertigo

      Very true about them not breaking often. We’ve got 2 in the family, one with over 150,000 miles and the other with just under 100,000, and the only things they’ve ever needed were brakes and oil changes. The interior air vents are another story, however, heh.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I’d go with older V-8 as well. V-8s sound incredible and are being phased out. Enjoy them while you can…by the time 2025 rolls around they wont be available for the most part.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Get the GT, add the 3.73 gears and you’ll laugh maniacally that you even considered the V6. No parts are going to be falling off or wearing out. If they do, it’s a Ford, not a BMW. ¿Who cares, drive the ballz off it..

  • avatar

    If I was getting a Mustang (and I’ve thought about it) I just couldn’t bring myself to spend my own money on the V6. I realize they’re both stylish, but the whole point of a Mustang is the V8.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    I’m a DEALER and even I would go with the older, lower-mileage car in this case. To reiterate what others have said, I think this is a little bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison between a low-mileage GT Premium and a higher mileage (albeit newer bodystyle) base V6 Deluxe coupe. The coupe is/was rental fodder that’s now finance fodder with that mileage and lack of equipment. Though, if I still worked at the sled lot I used to work at, I’d go for the ’06 because newer = more $$$ down amongst the bogues.

    Silver is not an attractive color on ANY Mustang, IMO, unless it has Pony Pkg enhancements to break up the dullness, but the GT is a better bet all around, unless you simply are endeared to the new look of the ’06.

    Also, for what its worth, even wholesale values are shockingly similar – MMR for ’06 Mustang V6 coupes is $6,300-7,100 while low-mileage ’00 GTs brought $5,700-6,500.

    And keep in mind if you keep either car for a few years, you’ll either have a low-mileage GT that just broke 100k, or an increasingly higher-mileage ’06 with no compelling feature content.

    Just my 2 cents…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      This is pretty much the truth of it.

      When it comes to anything in the used car market, you are buying the prior owner first and the type of vehicle second.

      The V8 sounds like it had a better owner. The 06′ model is as common as kudzu and has an uncertain history.

      You could track the history by performing a Carfax, contacting the prior owner, and then if it’s all to your liking, get an independent inspection.

      In my finance world… the two would actually be surprisingly competitive with each other unless you had a finance company that was willing to cut you a pretty strong check on the 06′. If I were a cash buyer I would likely favor the Y2K model with all things being equal.

  • avatar
    April 5

    I ran into a similar problem while car shopping at a local Honda dealer with my friend. We came across a 2002 Honda Accord V6 with 69,000 miles for $9K. While the low miles makes it attractive (plus being a Honda) who knows how the seals and internals have held up over 11 years with not much use.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I’d go with the GT and fix all the crusty rubber. I don’t trust the 4.0 motor, I’d heard bad things about them, timing chains, and the like, while the V8 is an old reliable beast of a motor. I also wouldn’t be worried about gas mileage, the V8’s torque requires less foot pressure to get going, so in typical 45 mph cruising, the gas mileage will probably be the same or a little better, and it’s ready to open and raise hell when required.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    There are two kinds of wear on any motor vehicle: friction (relates to mileage) and oxidation (relates to chronological age and affects mostly rubber and plastic).

    I recently scored (if I may use some drug argot) a ’99 Mercury Grand Marquis with a genuine 23K miles. The previous owner had replaced all the obvious rubber parts – tires, hoses, belts, etc. Six months later I am still fussing with the few remaining oxidation problems on minor bits and pieces – bushings, seals, grommets, fluid lines, filters, etc.

    There are some obsolescence issues on a ’99 Panther platform, so all else the same newer, is always better. I had to spend $200 on a new radio. I have tweaked the ride and handling some with after market parts, but it will never be as good as the Acura 3.2TL it replaces. Still it is a 300K mile car that is in almost new condition, cheap to fix and drives the Interstates like a living room couch.

    All this for less than $8,000.

  • avatar
    iantm

    Back in 2009, my wife had to have an Aquarius Blue New Beetle convertible. So, I took some time and found two good examples at the local dealer here in Pittsburgh. Both were bought at Auction from Florida (no rust), were in mint condition, but they had a fair number of differences. We had our pick of an 05 1.8t with 28k miles on it or an 06 2.5 with 53k miles on it. Both were automatic, VW Certified Pre Loved, etc. Drove both, liked both (the 2.5 felt better around town than the 1.8t oddly enough) – but we went with the 2.5 at the end of the day. Why? You may ask – the 2.5 was considered high mileage at the time, and as such – the dealer managed to come down $4k on the original asking price. I felt more comfortable with the 2.5, as it was a lease car that the previous lessee went over on mileage – full service history was provided – and the car ran like a top. Strangely (knocks on wood), that Beetle has been the most trouble free car we’ve ever owned. If buying something 3-5 years old, I’ll take the extra miles, provided a good service history and get it for less as I know that the stuff that’s likely to break already has and was handled by the previous owner/lessee.


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