When buying a used car with over 100,000 miles, here are a few things you very specifically want to pay attention to.
Number 1. When was the timing belt changed (If it uses one)
Number 2. If the belt was changed, were the water pump and drive belts changed as well?
Number 3. How many owners did it have?
Number 4. What is the condition of the tires?
Number 5. Has it ever been in an accident?
Number 6. Has the transmission fluid ever been changed?
Number 7. During the life of the car, how often was it serviced, and were the big jobs done by a credible dealership?
Number 8. Engine compression (You can typically verify whether the compression is good just by a test drive)
If you hit the gas in a spirited manner, and all you hear is dead engine revving, than either the compression in the engine is shot, or if it’s manual, the clutch may be slipping.
If you pay attention to these things, you can get a DECENT car for between $5,000-$10,000 dollars.
You can check for other things as well, like if the lesser known ‘hoses’ have ever been changed, like the power steering hoses.
Also, NEVER EVER buy a BMW, no matter the price, and no matter the perceived condition, and regardless of the transmission.
Since this thread is geared toward the poor, the reason for this, is because just a BMW sensor can cost you upwards of $2,000 dollars, and we’re not even talking about when the cooling system and other ‘big things’ start to go, which will cost you more than a ‘decent’ used car.
When the Halogen lights on a BMW go, many times, the entire lighting circuit board has to be replaced, it’s not just a matter of a bulb replacement, which will end up costing you upwards of $1,000 dollars.
Furthermore, BMW ‘flat tires’ are VERY fucking expensive, and you don’t get a spare in the trunk.
Also, Euro parts are very expensive compared to Japanese parts, and Euro cars are also much harder to service correctly, with much fewer technicians that know how to do it properly.
Only drive a Euro if you’re actually in Europe, know how to service them yourself (DIY), or have lots of cash to spare.
So why is it so important to pay attention to whether critical parts like the timing belt has been changed on a 100,000+ milage used car?
Because these specific parts are only good for around 100,000-120,000 miles, sometimes less, sometimes more, and you’re going to end up having to expend 2K to 3K more on the car relatively immediately, unless you get lucky, or like to live dangerously. (This is for the whole job: water pump, drive belts, tensioner included, with tranny fluid replacement and perhaps some other stuff as well)
There are some cars that have gone 200,000+ miles with the original timing belt, but I wouldn’t play games with that at all.
If I could find such a Volvo in manual tranny, and in good condition that has been correctly serviced, I would buy it without hesitation.
No less than an 850 though, don’t personally like the really old body design.
This is really a pipe dream though, but I do love these cars.