Same miles on older vs. Newer year cars?

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  #1  
Old 09-12-11, 08:55 PM
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Same miles on older vs. Newer year cars?

Hi,

I was wondering, I am interested in purchasing a car with the lowest miles and in the best condition for the money. My question is I was interested in a 1999 Mercury Mystique with 64K and I also have been looking for newer make cars with similar miles, which normally are higher in price, is there anything to be concerned about buying an older car with the same miles as a newer car?? Is there anything to especially look for when testing out the older car vs. the newer car?

Thanks alot for any advice,


Bonnie
 
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  #2  
Old 09-13-11, 04:56 AM
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The major issue would concern those parts on the car which are prone to deterioration from age as opposed to mileage. Parts like brakes, for instance, would be much more prone to wearing out from mileage before age. Probably the parts most prone to age would be rubber items belts and hoses. Included would be things like spark plug wires, brake system seals, motor mounts and the like. Older, low mileage cars can be real bargains. Two years ago we sold my daughter's '96 Escort, that had about 145,000 miles on it, and replaced it with a '95 Corolla that had a little over 40,000 miles on it. I had to replace a couple of motor mounts plus belts and hoses (some of which I did just so I knew how old they were). It's a great car.

Having said that, I'm not sure I would ever buy a Mystique, but that's personal preference.
 
  #3  
Old 09-13-11, 05:25 AM
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Hi Bonnie,
I will point out that the_tow_guy is in Florida and you are in Ohio and if your state uses as much salt and the likes as Maine does, anything 10 years or older is a basket case waiting to fall apart. A good friend ran a used car business for years buying Florida cars and trucking them up here to the north country simply because they were in great shape. And it's not just the visible rust, it's every nut and bolt, not to mention brake lines and fuel lines, that may have to come apart at some time as they won't.

I didn't buy, but came close to purchasing an internet car from Florida. Elderly couple, 60,000 miles and exactly the car I wanted. It's age pulled the price down, but being from the south it would have been in great shape, thus I was willing to go close to kelley BB prices. And it's not just FL., there are many southern areas that don't use salt.

Start by narrowing your choice down to a few models you like. Pros like the_tow_guy can comment of specific models to help you with selecting a few that have a good history. Then search the internet. Now, buying over the internet may seem risky, but with the disclaimers attached to used cars, even a local dealer isn't going to help you much. The irony is, many internet sales based companies are more worried about their feedback rating than local dealers are about local complaints. That 99% plus feedback has started to mean something.

Good luck
Bud
 
  #4  
Old 09-13-11, 05:35 AM
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Oooooh, Bud; nice catch on that one. Must need more coffee this morning. YES, rust and corrosion would be at the absolute top of the list of things to look for where the roads get salted.

Side note: Don't know about elsewhere, but used cars are fetching premium prices around here the last couple of years.
 
  #5  
Old 09-13-11, 06:39 AM
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Since they started using some type of liquid salt up here brake lines are failing much sooner and due to liabilities a garage will replace if there is any question. Daughter took her 96 accord in for suspension, should have been a couple hundred bucks. Came out at over $600 so we went back. They put it up on the lift and walked me through everything they had to cut off to get it apart and weld brackets back on to put it back together. They didn't make any money, but they did fix it right so no complaints. They were also quick to mention anything over 10 years is going to be a repair problem.

As for Bonnie, I think the forum can really help her sort out and find a reasonable used car. The savings can be good and there are reliable cars out there. Even though used are going for a premium, trades still stink when a new car buyer really looks at what they are getting. Find that savvy seller who can negotiate his/her new purchase and they will also want a private sale. Learning the ropes on buying cars can save thousands over the years.

Bud
 
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Old 09-13-11, 07:10 AM
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Never had one but I've heard the Contour/Mystique were unique cars (meaning they didn't share a lot of parts with other Fords) and that made parts more expensive and harder to find.
 
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Old 09-13-11, 09:12 AM
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My wife used to have a merc mystique that she bought new. It was a great car but there was one reoccuring problem - the door panels leaked Each door was repaired [at separate times] by the dealer under warranty. When the panels started to leak again [only under heavy wind driven rain] she traded cars. The car had less than 100k when she got rid of it but there was never any mechanical work done to it other than regular maintence.

Our daughter in law had a contour she bought used. It needed a tune up and brakes while she had it. They claimed it wasn't much count but they were also trying to get my wife to co-sign for her to get a new car.
 
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Old 09-13-11, 09:48 AM
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These cars were basically Ford Euro products, North Americanized with as low of an investment cost as possible. The Euro version was not a real big seller in Euope except to fleets. Being born in Europe means alot of parts are not off the U.S. Ford shelf, and will cost more and be less available as time goes on. I am not sure if I would have bought one of these cars when new either for that matter. To further add to everyone's comments, age is age, and there are some parts that age no matter where the car is used. In fact in some climates rubber fails sooner than in others. States with high summer temperatures and high UV ensure fast deterioration of tires, hoses, batteries being cooked and even wiper blades falling apart, and so forth. For cars in the rust belt it is all about metal and oxidation encouraged by road salt. To quote a line about age: 'if it's not one thing it's another.'
 
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Old 09-13-11, 10:17 AM
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I had occasion to work on a family member's Contour a while back and in the process one of my tow buddies mentioned the motor was Mazda origin.
 
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Old 09-13-11, 10:23 AM
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I don't doubt the engine came from Mazda, I think there was a period of time when most transmissions in Fords were from Mazda.
 
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Old 09-13-11, 11:00 AM
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I had a '99 Mystique that I bought new and traded in after accumulating 325,000 trouble free miles. So the Mystique/Contour car lines can be very reliable vehicles. My main concern with buying a car which has only 64,000 miles after 13 years is that the miles were put on through very short trips, which is much harder on a car compared to highway driving.

The 4 cylinder engine in the Mystique is the same motor as has is used in the Focus. The V-6 is a Ford manufactured engine that was designed by Porsche/Cosworth. It is basically the same motor as the V-6 used in millions of Taureses. Both motors are excellent. The transmissions had a bit of a bad reputation, but the cause was generally owner neglect by not having the transmission fluid changed every 30,000 miles as the owner's manual states. I never had a moment's problem with either my engine or transmission. After 325,000 miles, I still had the original exhaust system, all original hoses, and the only "unexpected" repair item was the alternator at 250,000 miles. I would have definitely bought another Mystique if they were still being made. The Mystique is based on the European Ford Mondeo, which served as chassis for the Mystique, Contour, Cougar, and Jaguar X type.
 
  #12  
Old 09-14-11, 08:38 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their advice. Never really thought about the rust/salt issue but something to definitely consider.

Bonnie
 
  #13  
Old 09-15-11, 05:01 AM
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If you vacation in Florida this winter, you could drive home in a nice rust-free vehicle!
 
  #14  
Old 09-17-11, 07:44 AM
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if your price range allows, i would go with the newer car. even though the newer one and slightly older one may have the same amount of miles, you never really know what could go wrong with the Mercury until you buy it. Little things could show up one by one....
 
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Old 09-17-11, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by the_tow_guy View Post
If you vacation in Florida this winter, you could drive home in a nice rust-free vehicle!
And on your way back up, drop by the north Georgia mountains and we'll teach you how to talk slow, incorporate "y'all" in your conversations, and treat you to grits, maybe cheese grits
 
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