Carfax, Buying Used, & Craigslist.org

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said:


Sure, but that's moving the goal posts.
--
Larry J. - Remove spamtrap in ALLCAPS to e-mail

"A lack of common sense is now considered a disability,
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Larry in AZ wrote:

rubbish. mine's a daily driver. and at 40mpg freeway, you can bet that's serious too.
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Freeway 40mpg? I think it is just average for a small car like civic. You should achive it easily with modern models of nissan sentra.
I make 32mpg easily on my 4-cyl 2004 accord coupe EX-L. And it is not just freeway for me, its probably mixed 80/20.
My 1995 camry does not perform as good anymore @ 246k miles.
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Pszemol wrote:

there's a bunch of things you can do that might help. egr valve, tw sensor, valve lash... - it needs a little love.
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wrote

That was exactly my feeling about it. I would not take my family for a ride in anything '89 especially if I did not owned it for the last 10 years and I am not really sure what the previous owner did to the car - this is the case when you BUY that old car.
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Pszemol wrote:

the price is being bid up by people wanting gas sippers as well - even more demand than usual. but you can still get a sedan for under $1k, it's the hatchbacks that are in demand.

eh? "constant fear"??? statistically, a new car has a greater probability of failure than one that's in the middle of its life. [bathtub curve]. at 176k miles, my civic is in the middle of its life. there are certain weakness in this vintage civic, main relay being the most notable, but it doesn't cost much to sort that stuff out.

as elle says, if you know these vehicles, you can save a bunch of dough. my 2000 civic depreciated at about $1,100 per year that i owned it. i couldn't spend that much a year in maintenance on my 89 if i wanted to. and the 89 has APpreciated in value since i bought it, not DEpreciated.
and that's not accounting for the fact that certain models are better than others. imo, the 88-91 civic/crx is about the best car honda ever produced. i've tested/owned subsequent models of civic and they neither handle as well, nor are as comfortable as these first "real deal" 4-wheel wishbone civics. so that's why i drive them - they're the best.
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I see...

Main relay, or - bigger problem like head gasket. I am seeing blown head gasket the major fear of older civic owners compared to other japaneese cars.

But compare the benefits of driving 2000 year model year with 89. Yes, it is more expensive but it is a better car overall.

I am glad you are so enthusiastic about this little car :-)
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Pszemol wrote:

in my experience, gasket only fails after the radiator cracks and the motor cooks. the gasket goes about a year later. moral of the story, replace the radiator every 10 years.

i strongly disagree. my 89 is a much superior vehicle to the 2000. better handling, better interior, better ergonomics, better power to weight...
only thing going for the 2000 is full electronic control of the automatic transmission, but the benefit of that is marginal, especially if the mechanical auto transmission is properly adjusted and has the right fluid.

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California cars rarely rust. There are many older vehicles available that are in very good physical condition. If well maintained, they can be fairly trouble free vehicles......
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snipped-for-privacy@spamnocox.net says...

[...]
I've found Carfax to be quite useful on several occasions in the past. The $35 30-day membership is cheap compared to the cost of a car, and the Carfax data isn't always 100% accurate or complete, but as long as you recognize that, it works pretty well for a quick-and-dirty assessment of past problems.
One of those Carfax dealer ads is how I recently acquired my '00 Civic Si. I'd been looking for a clean, unmolested '99-'00 Si for a couple of months with limited results - most of the ones I ran across via Craigslist or another local forum were either ragged out from rough treatment, had high mileage with no way to verify the service history (or lack thereof), or had modifications I wasn't thrilled about. I'm not entirely averse to modded cars when they're well thought out and done to a professional standard, but those kinds of cars tend to be the exception rather than the rule.
Anyway, I was checking the VIN on Carfax for an Si I was considering going to check out, when an ad popped up stating something like "you might also be interested in this vehicle" for an '00 Civic Si with only 53K miles. It was at a local dealer, so I got on the phone and called them immediately. The salesdroid sounded confused initially when I asked about the car, then after looking it up, hesitantly offered that they still had the car. I went out to look at it, and it turned out that they'd just gotten it as a trade-in a couple of days previously. It was still in the service bay awaiting cleanup and servicing, was filthy inside and out, and they wouldn't let me drive it until they'd checked it out. But it appeared to be solid, no evidence of ever having been wrecked (confirmed by Carfax, for what that's worth), and the interior was in really good shape for an 8-year-old car. It cleaned up quite nicely, and I wound up buying it before it ever hit the lot. The only flaw I've been able to find is that 5th gear grinds slightly. There's a TSB for this which recommends replacing the 5th-reverse gear cluster (and probably the synchros), but given how much that's likely to cost, I'll probably just live with it unless it gets worse.
Anyway, your supposition about Carfax automatically finding cars like this is probably correct - it certainly hadn't been advertised anywhere by the dealer, and the various salespeople I talked to were all mystified as to how I'd found out about it. This particular dealer claimed that their policy was to never buy cars at auction, but they didn't say whether that policy also extended to selling cars at auction.
Dave
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I am finding this problem with Craig's List, too: Too many darn kids with their crappy mods selling cars owned by a zillion people already.
At this point, clean and relatively unmolested is worth another grand or two to me. I can deal with high mileage (say 70k - 170k miles).

I am trying to pounce on these, too. Gotta pay dealer used prices, but as I say above I may be willing to at this point. Every time I call the dealer rep says it's been sold or they have to check on it. I will stick with it, though. The dealer cars seem to always check out with pretty clean titles on Carfax.
I am wondering if there is a quicker way of getting this info out of Carfax, rather than putting in a VIN and seeing the ads pop up.
Good post. Thanks.
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Are you serious? This is what you call high-mileage for a 89-97 civic? Even taking the youngest from your model year list it is 11-12 years of service... Average mileage is 12000 miles per year, so you should on average expect 1997 to have 140k or more... Not mentioning 1989 :-)

There is an option to be notify with e-mail message when the car shows up listed in the range of model years / trims you selected... My subscription expired already I cannot check it for you.
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? What is inconsistent with what I wrote? Of course 70k is rare, but I saw a 1995 with 55k miles on ebay this morning (it checks out with Carfax). I see a 95 with 177k tomorrow. It too checks out with Carfax.

I tried the used car search engine carfax.com and it seems to pull up strictly dealers' offerings. But the darn dealers do not say a word about when the car came in, when it sold, etc.
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I am not doubting cars like these are there on the market... You might want to wonder if 1995 with 55k miles is real or not.
Inconsistent is that you call 70k a "high-mileage" in the range of model years you are considering for purchase. Maybe I am little strange, but for me 95 model year, 13-14 years old car with 177k miles (12k/year) would be low or average mileage car. 140k or anything elss than that would be extremely low mileage for an old car like this.

I am not talking about search engine. I am talking about automated system emailing you a list of new cars EVERY day to your inbox. Call their support phone line and ask for it if you cannot find it on their website.
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Dave, I have bad news to you... I got a 94 sentra with same issue on 5th gear and after about 10 months there was no 5th gear anymore...
I hope you did not pay a lot for it.
Good luck!
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Elle wrote:

one more thought - the later models you've been considering have what i consider to be a serious deficiency compared to your current vintage - lack of front sway bar. the 96-2000 for instance only has sway bars on the ex and si models, not the lower models.
i discovered this while having to make an extreme evasive [defensive] maneuver to avoid a freeway accident in my [then] new 2000. damned thing nearly capsized. i was used to driving an 89 that has sway bars as standard, and that pretty much goes wherever you point it, no excessive body roll. the 2000, not only did you have to be careful on the transition between hard left/hard right, there was no "safety factor" in near-accident situations like i describe. i ended up retrofitting the 2000 and that dealt with the problem, but i would not feel comfortable with one of those vehicles in stock configuration, especially as the body is so much heavier and thus more susceptible.
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Talking about active safety - how about ABS? Which model years/trims had it already installed, which not?
Talking more about safety systems... how about air bags? Would you prefer driving with 20 years old airbag or 8 years old one?
How would seat belts work after 20 years of service? Are you going to replace them with new ones?
Also, in case of unfortunate accident - how would you think 20 years old body would perform compared to the 8 years old with no rust? If you even neglect rust problem (let's say you live below snow band) then how the next model year compares to the older in crash tests? Do you think 2000 model year will have upgraded crash test performance and cabin cage compared to, let's say 1989 model year?
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Pszemol wrote:

do you know much about abs? did you know that it doesn't necessarily stop you any quicker, and can in fact /increase/ braking distances? if you have an abs system on your car, open the owners manual and read what it says about that.
abs is /fantastic/ for people like my grandmother who will do something like skid on the freeway, all 4 wheels locked, and sit there pressing the pedal as hard as she can while she has absolutely no control of the vehicle whatsoever. when i'm old enough to drive like her, maybe i'll consider abs. in the mean time, as long as i know about cadence braking and friction coefficients, i'm quite happy with standard brakes thanks.

i prefer to have /no/ airbag! if true driver safety were the concern of gub'mint, roll cages, helmets and 5-point harnesses would be mandatory, not airbags. just like in race cars.

depends whether they work or not! as a matter of fact, i /have/ replaced a seat belt with a retractor problem, but that's just me. the inertial lock still worked ok.

mine's california and it has no rust. and 8 years in the rust belt is no guarantee of integrity if you want to be really pedantic.

if it were rusty enough to be structural, i either wouldn't drive it or i would have it repaired. but it depends of the nature of the beast. cosmetic rust, say at the bottom of a door or the bottom of a wheel well, means nothing to crash safety. structural rust is the only kind that truly matters and, as you may imagine, it takes a /lot/ more to rust out thick structural components than thin cosmetic ones.
i recall seeing some crash testing of rusty vehicles some years ago, and the researchers were "surprised" to find that the rusted out boxes of crap they'd found were no worse in crashes than the unrusted ones. i guess that, like you, they hadn't bothered to think about the facts.
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Don't be such arrogant! I know exactly how ABS works and what are its effects on driving/breaking.
In my opinion the car with ABS in general is safer than the one without one. Buying older cars you loose this feature and some others, too. It is buyer choice, of course, but I considered it worth mentioning together with your coment about missing sway bars in newer model.

Don't forget you are not talking about the car for yourself but for Elle. She might be somebody's grandmother :-) Or - just a driver little more educated in benefits of modern car safety systems than you...

This just tells me how uneducated/ignorant driver you are.
Also, again I have to remind you that the choice is not yours but hers. It is her car we are talking about. It is her decision if she wants car with air bags or a death trap without one :-)

I am not talking about cosmetic rust but undercariage rust, ball joints, etc. Once again, I have to remind you that your advices are addressed to Elle. Do you know where is she located? I do not recall her mentioning this.
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Not to contradict you, but to get out my puny view: I have been restricting my search to older cars partly (very small part) because I do not want ABS. ABS is harder to maintain; has more that can go wrong; and I do not see significant advantage from a safety standpoint.
I have always had a car without ABS.
I would prefer airbags but I am not requiring them.

I think JBeam is recalling, correctly, that I am in the southwest. No rust in general, though a few of the cars I have seen are from up north and show rust.
I finally read the fine print on carfax.com's connection to dealers: Every time a dealer looks up a vehicle history on carfax, the lookup goes into their system as a car that /might/ be traded in or just got sold. I think it would be luck to run across a Honda through this approach. I really do not trust the salespeople there to call me as soon as another 92-95 Civic comes in. They deal in the here and now. A phone call does not seem to be worth it to them.
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