Need Help with a Car Purchase

Old 11-03-03, 06:51 PM
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Need Help with a Car Purchase

Hey Joe
I've always gotten good advice from you so I'll want some input. Dave your input is also appreciated. I am looking to buy a used car. I have come across a 1997 Mazda 626. It has 162,000 miles and a single owner. It is a fully loaded car(leather seats, custom rims, etc) which makes it very tempting. However, given how much mileage it has, I am very wary of the life left in that engine. What is the record on Mazda's durability? Is this a good buy at $1500. Should I anticipate costly repairs soon given the high mileage. I am sure they have to be highway miles because for a 97, that is quite a lot of miles( I had a 1990 Pontiac with 165k so I know 161K in 6 years is a lot). I would love your feedback soon. Detail what problems are common with the Mazda 626, or Mazdas in general. Also, give me your honest opinion on how good a buy that will be. I have a $3500 limit on any car I'm trying to buy, but it is so hard getting any good quality without the BS of Dealerships! Maybe you can suggest where else I could inquire. I am looking to buy a car that will be trouble free for about 3 years, at which time I plan to buy a new car. I am moving to the Baltimore area and I'm open to purchasing a vehicle out of State if it fits the bill(prefarably in the NorthEast and East Coast of the US).
Old 11-04-03, 04:37 AM
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I'd go for a Honda or a Toyota......

As far as foreign cars go, these boys outsell the likes of Mazda and for good reason. Overall a better car. Also, parts are more common and reasonable when (not if) they do go bad.

I think that this car should be passed up. Mileage is too high and sounds risky. I'm suspect of Mazda's quality, it tends to be bottom barrel compared to Honda and Toyota on the whole.

I'd say Toyota over Honda because they screw together a good car which is fairly easy to service and parts are somewhat reasonable.

Just to give you a perspective, Mike Merritt of this forum is the small engine moderator. Mike was quoted $86 for an OEM motor mount for his daughter's 1992 626, Mike personally was quoted $63 for the part aftermarket, and I got him the part here in NYC for $35. LOL.

Seems Mazda parts are made of gold because the mount looks nothing special to me.

I'd pass.
Old 11-05-03, 05:23 AM
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Have you tried searching on-line?

Lots of used car listings available through sites like,, etc. You can narrow your search by price range, make/model, and location.
Old 11-06-03, 05:09 PM
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thanks Joe!

I passed on the Mazda 626. I have been looking into a Toyota, but also found a good deal on a pretty good 2000 Nissan Sentra, a 99 Nissan Altima, and a 98 Nissan Maxima. I am not sure how these cars compare to the Toyota Camry or Corolla, but they are also Jap cars like I want. Maybe you could throw in a few more word of counsel. By the way, when I asked the seller of the 626 if I could take a look and if I could bring a mechanic to see it, he quickly backed out and started making excuses about the car not being at his lot, and also refused to answer any questions about the condition of major engine systems, and peripherals. He kept saying the car will be sold 'As-Is' and I knew there were some big problems for the eventual buyer. I later was able to find out that some guy bought it for $2500...and I felt sorry for the poor fella!!

Thanks Joe...and tow_guy!
Old 11-06-03, 05:20 PM
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You did the right thing. Sounded rough and worth half the asking price and a bevy of problems waiting to happen.

I'd stick with the Toyota models. Overall best reliability, easier to work on and parts are cheaper for them over other marques.

Good luck in your search.
Old 11-06-03, 05:31 PM
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thanks again Joe

You are always very helpful, Joe, and this time is no exception. I feel comfortable making a buy now. Thanks for making the 'average Joe'(no pun intended!!) myself into a Car smart person like the yourself, the 'Real MacCoy'...thanks, have a great weekend
Old 11-06-03, 05:49 PM
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Thanks, but there are plenty of fine folks on this forum who make it what it is...

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