Found deal on car, no time to have mechanic check it out. Opinions?


paqman
10-17-2009, 02:53 PM
We've been shopping for a Toyota Sienna for a couple months, and I've found one that seems like a really good deal, and we're going to go check it out tonight. If all seems well with the van, I'm going to make them an offer, and if they accept, great, if not, we'll walk away. My question is that this place is about 45 minutes away, and by the time I am able to get there tonight, any nearby mechanics will be closed. I always like to have a mechanic check out a used car before I buy, but don't think I'll be able to with this one.

It's a 2008 Sienna with 44K miles, and basic options, nothing fancy. Only extra it has is dual power sliding doors. This is a really good price for this van, but it's not so low that it makes me question. They're asking $15,870 for it.

It's a little higher miles than we were looking for, so at 44K miles, should I worry about not being able to have a mechanic check it out? Should I pass it up till I can find one that I'll have time to have checked out? Any known issues with these vans that I should look out for? What would you do in my situation? Assuming the van drives smooth and everything checks out from an average joe point of view, would you go for it?

If you're interested, here's a link to the listing:
http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=443&sid=&tab=list/view&ad=1681963

freedhardwoods
10-17-2009, 04:22 PM
Look at this site. http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/sienna/2008/consumerreview.html

I use this as a starting point for a vehicle I am looking at. The 08 Sienna has a very high consumer rating.

There is always a chance of getting a lemon, even buying a new car, but on a snap judgement I think it is worth looking at.

Do you have any/some/much mechanical knowledge?

paqman
10-17-2009, 05:39 PM
Look at this site. http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/sienna/2008/consumerreview.html

I use this as a starting point for a vehicle I am looking at. The 08 Sienna has a very high consumer rating.

There is always a chance of getting a lemon, even buying a new car, but on a snap judgement I think it is worth looking at.

Do you have any/some/much mechanical knowledge?
Thanks for the reply. I've been reading the reviews and searching for known issues. I read the info on Edmunds.com and can't find anything I should be seriously concerned about. I have average mechanical knowledge. I can change brakes/rotors, oil, filters, general maintenance. On my old ford escort I get pretty adventurous. On a new car like this I try to keep the advanced stuff to the shops, but I can find my way around. I've bought a few cars in the past, so I know the basics to look at. I've read to check for paint splatter on the black metal parts and exterior plastics for signs of unreported body work, check the feel of the transmission, banging, stuff like that. But that's about the extent of my abilities. Any other tips of things I can look for during the test drive and looking at the car in an instance where I have no mechanic?

freedhardwoods
10-17-2009, 08:07 PM
I think you should be able to check it out on your own with the mechanical knowledge you have. I usually buy vehicles with 100,000 to 200,000 miles on them, so my checklist may be a little different than when looking at a newer vehicle like you are. I paid $300 for the pickup in my avatar and drive it to work every day and anywhere else I need to go.

There is the basic walkaround that most people will do looking for any obvious problems, dents, scratches, paint bubbles caused by rust under the paint, rust, especially around wheel wells, tire wear and condition.

Under the hood, the first thing I do is pull the trans dipstick. look at the color. It should be bright red, although I have bought vehicles with dark red that smelled ok and shifted with no problems. Smell the fluid. I can't tell you what it is supposed to smell like. You probably do know, but if you don't, buy a quart and memorize the smell for future reference. It will usually smell burnt if there are problems of some kind. Again, that is just a guide. I bought a car once with brown trans fluid that smelled noticably burnt. It shifted fine and was cheap. I took it home, flushed it (see below) and never had any problems.

Look at the engine oil level. Surprisingly, even many dealers will have a car for sale without checking the oil level and it will be low. I will look at the general appearance of the engine compartment. If it has been recently washed, I look extremely close. You can rarely wash away all signs of a leak.

I will crawl under and tap the exhaust system with something metal. A pocket knife, a bolt, a spoon, etc. If you hear a thud instead of a ring in any part of it you will be replacing exhaust in the near future. I will check the u-joints on a rear wheel drive. I will look at the bell housing, trans output shaft, and rear end for seal leaks. I will try to see how much material is left on the brake pads, or if the rotors are already scarred.

I hope i'm not typing this too late for you to read before you go. I fell asleep in my chair. I have been putting in a lot of hours at work lately.


Flushing a transmission
I will flush the transmission and torque converter on vehicles with fluid that is not up to paron a newly aquired vehicle. I disconnect the input transmission cooler line from the radiator, fasten a hose to it and put the other end of the hose in a 5 gallon bucket. I put a funnel into the trans fill tube and overfill the transmission by about 1 quart, I then start the vehicle and pour trans fluid in the funnel as fast as I can. It will pump out faster than you can pour it in, which means shutting off the engine 3 or 4 times during the process to catch up. When the fluid running into the bucket is bright red, I stop flushing, and then pull the pan to change the filter.

Ray paulsen
10-18-2009, 12:22 AM
I would have added some comments suggestions but realize I am a little late as you were going to dealership, fill us in with what has transpired.


PS... Never mind about what has transpired, I must be falling asleep at the wheel here,,, asking $15,870 by the great Eddie, con artist,,, give your head a shake, shop value not price, it's a lemon,,, prove me wrong, I would like to be wrong for once.

paqman
10-18-2009, 12:51 AM
I would have added some comments suggestions but realize I am a little late as you were going to dealership, fill us in with what has transpired.


PS... Never mind about what has transpired, I must be falling asleep at the wheel here,,, asking $15,870 by the great Eddie, con artist,,, give your head a shake, shop value not price, it's a lemon,,, prove me wrong, I would like to be wrong for once.

Lol the great Eddie? You know this guy or something? Or are you just saying this deal is too good to be true? Anyway, we didn't make it to the dealer tonight. Long story. But thanks for the tips anyway. They will be very helpful when actually looking at a van. Btw, that price is not too far off from the other deals out there. I can find at least 6 2008's with around 40k on them for about $16k.

Ray paulsen
10-18-2009, 09:46 AM
Hey don't get me wrong here, I just get very sceptic when any vehicle is listed for sale below average, most of the time when you look at these type ads and read the disclaimer it's not such a great deal to be had, in your case I hope to be totally wrong, the mere fact you not considering buying a vehicle without an independent inspection puts you ahead 95% compared to other shoppers.

As for the great Eddie whom real name I believe to be Edita, I been wacking my brains as that unusual name rings a bell about a past post I have answered somewhere about misrepresentation, if I find the post I will let you know.

Looking forward to hear about your trip.

paqman
10-18-2009, 09:55 AM
Hey don't get me wrong here, I just get very sceptic when any vehicle is listed for sale below average, most of the time when you look at these type ads and read the disclaimer it's not such a great deal to be had, in your case I hope to be totally wrong, the mere fact you not considering buying a vehicle without an independent inspection puts you ahead 95% compared to other shoppers.

As for the great Eddie whom real name I believe to be Edita, I been wacking my brains as that unusual name rings a bell about a past post I have answered somewhere about misrepresentation, if I find the post I will let you know.

Looking forward to hear about your trip.
I totally agree, which is what makes it hard to find a steal. I've been keeping my eyes out for that "great deal", but any time I find one, I guess I should be skeptical. And my wife is making it harder because every time I find a good deal she says, "it doesn't seem like that great of a deal to me." The one last night was an exception. She was on board, but we ended up not having time to drive the 45 minutes out to the dealership.

Anyway, I don't enjoy car shopping at all. So hopefully I can make it through this one with a good score.

CraigZerch
10-25-2009, 04:39 PM
You should have inquired if they still had the van you were interested in and gone at a later day to look at it.

paqman
10-25-2009, 05:36 PM
Well obviously. But the wife got cold feet and wants to wait.

Ray paulsen
10-30-2009, 06:44 PM
Well obviously. But the wife got cold feet and wants to wait.

So tell us, is your wife's feet in hybernation till the spring thaw before you make a move :banghead:

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