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Thread: older low mileage cars. Cheap now but pay later?

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    older low mileage cars. Cheap now but pay later?

    Thinking of getting a small commuter car. It's a 2003 focus zx3 with 64,200km on it (legit). The owner only commuted 3.5km 4x a day (to work and went home for lunch) with rare expeditions beyond always avoiding the 400series.

    I've read extremes on whether this is a good idea or a bad idea. Thoughts??



    Sorry if it's a repost. Couldn't find any immediate threads and wasn't patient enough to do a full search through it all.
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    We had an 02 focus. It had almost 400xxx on it when we tradd it in. The only problem we ever had were the alyernator and the overdrive shift solinoid. Both easy enough to change for anyone who owns a jeep on this forum

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    Sounds good to me. It's generally the cpl minute commutes that are bad on vehicles.
    I don't know how much it is so I assume you know your values
    badass tj " Hey bro I would really like 2 grab tht rear end."

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    Plan on emissions parts ie cats, o2 sensors and exhaust. Good bet from all those short drives they will be shot.
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    also depends on whether it was garage stored or outside stored.
    if it was outside and on a paved driveway, probably pretty good still underneath, if on gravel or grass, chances are it's rotten under there.

    cars don't like to sit, they're meant to be driven.
    proud OF4WD member #3875

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    Thanks folks for your input so far!

    I wonder about the damage and mechanical wear from walkable commutes (<60kmph) vs highway miles.

    What else should I anticipate it needing? Will it be ok to risk a car like this for heavy commutes ~200km a day?

    Pavement parked till November. Then garage parked since. The body itself is next to mint except the known paint rub on the driver side sill all fords seem to get.

    Known issues thus far: The batt sulfated we but got it boosted. badly needs a tune and tb clean too it kept choking out on idle for the 3min we ran it for. Or so I hope. The muffler can is shot. It aced it's oct 2010 e-test then dissolved. Too bad the test was more than 365days ago.

    What else should I look for?

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    The price will be a big factor in considering the purchase. If it's cheap enough, then go for it.

    If an engine never gets hot enough and put under load once in a while, it'll have carbon build up in the cylinders. Just hope the oil was changed very regularly, and not every 10,000 kms. Take it to a shop and spend a few bucks, it's pretty worth while. A compression test will be a good idea.
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    my 2 cents!!!

    i only drive older low milage cars...
    i have a 1982 suzuki sk410 only 60 000 kms
    a 1991 toyota hilux i bought in japan. it had 90 000km when i got it about 5 years ago.. i now have 160 000kms and it has been a GREAT VEHICLE...


    last week i got a 2001 saturn for a winter beater.. 200 000km but owned in my family since new.. it was always taken care of and my mechanic said it will last me MANY YEARS....

    regular oil spray.. i prefer krown...

    you have to keep your older car maintained of course but id rather own 3 nice cars then make a car payment on a new one because i know people with new cars that spend more on fixing them they i do!!!

    p.s Get a car that has cheap parts! a saturn or a focus parts should be cheap if it does need anything!!
    1991 TOW RIG/DD toyota hilux surf ssr-x turbo diesel JDM SPEC

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    Personally I have two ford Focuses (Foci). An old 2001 Sedan and a 2007 ZX5 Hatchback Turbocharged and I can tell you both are good cars to own.

    I purchased the 2001 Sedan back in 2005 with 60k and have put on another 70k since. So far it has had the following done: swaybar endlinks, springs, shocks, rear trunk lock, coil pack, coil wires, horn, passenger wheel bearing and that's it. Nothing really expensive to fix if you're mechanically inclined.

    As your probably looking at a 2003 ZX3, you'll have the Zetec engine. Its pretty bulletproof and good on fuel. The big problems on it are DPFE sensor and coil pack. Nothing big. As for the rest of the car, the major problems are ignition tumbler can cease up, rear lower control arms tend to crack at the swaybar endlinks, front swaybar endlinks, front springs (covered by ford tsb to like 160,000km). But as with any vehicle, the winter roads really screw up cars.

    Make sure the guy you bought it from did rustproofing. I haven't done it on my 2001 focus and the body is really taking the beating now. But what do you expect from a 11 year old car. Still worth it.

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    Fortunately the owner's father in law owned the local krown shop so it got the coating nearly regularly. Prolly why it looks so solid body wise. Too bad the same cant be said for the exhaust.

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    yeah. Probably cost 300bucks for a new one.

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    Think I'm gonna take the plunge then. $1000 can't go to wrong.

    Thanks y'all.
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    Anything with multiple short comuted will rot the entire exhast out cause it never warms up enough to evaporate the moisture out.. I'm betting its rotten right off the manifold and betting it needs some parking break cables, brake pads, and new tires.
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    For a g you can't go wrong. Clean the tb and seafoam the rest. I think 3.5 kms is better than a k. You will be getting up to operating temp.

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    ^ Thanks.

    ^^ You are right: Tires, park cable and exhaust are done for.

    He blew out one tire before parking it. Anyone got a few 195/60/15 lying around?

    On further exploration.... The cat is up in behind the engine area and looks okish... no O2 sensor codes are being tossed... but the magic e-test sniffer rod will tell if otherwise. Too bad I live in an etest area and can't convince the local shop that it's an AWD

    Crossing fingers while snooping around and pricing out parts. So far I'm liking the marketplace... Chip is right the focus is cheap for parts! One can go crazy and get a full magnaflow system for under 400$ MSRP!

    Now to figure how to defumigate the interior
    Last edited by lil loco; 05-06-2012 at 04:07 PM.

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    If the p.o. is a smoker I found some air Freshener bombs at CT for about $8 you start the car put the AC on full blast and the windows up and fire it off, come back in 10 min and let the car air out. I ended up using 2 on the LJ with the soft top up so I'm betting you will get away with 1. Worked great... and cheep to. Oh and Mr clean magic erasers get the tar off the interior plastics.

    Good luck

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    Thanks drizit! I'll try that!

    So far I emptied the ashtray (it was packed) and left the windows open.

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    wow i though i got a good deal getting a 01 saturn with 200 000km on it for 650 saftey and etested.. for 1000 thats a pretty nice car!!! alot nicer than my soccer mom cruiser!! some nice rims and that full exhaust she wouldnt look too shabby... is she manual?

    i gotta tell ya im loving the gas saving these small 4 bangers offer..

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    She be auto which is a good thing for me... my ADD doesn't work well with standards... unless its a motorcycle but don't ask cause I can't tell you why. But it does have manual windows

    You did well with the saturn... If I could find an on the road high mileage for that price I'd be on it. Actually have been bugging my buddy's parents for their VW for a couple months with no avail (they got it 'gifted'). I'm hoping to put in less than half of what I am paying for it as is to get it on the road. Scored a set of tires today for 80$ so I'm to a good start... I just might be able to budget a magnaflow

    My first car was a 4-squirrel Tempo... Sure miss it. This is the closest I'll get to going back to the good days when I complained about 40cent/litre gas.

    The ante-mom wagon will also get to have some rest this summer (racked up over 20,000kms since November).

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    wow 20 000 since nov not too shabby, I love a good drive... My saturn is auto aswell which is also fine by me, I get enough gear mashing in my lil suzuki

    looks like your on your way to coming in under budget with a set of tires for 80 bucks! might even have enough to find some zx3 rims and a exhaust..

    does the focus have a timing belt or a chain?? that is something to plan for if it has a belt..

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