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Raptor
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25 Jan 2016, 5:16 pm

Best thing is to read consumer reviews of the cars you're looking at for that model year. Edmunds and Carreview.com are a few sources. Some people, for whatever reason, never do this and wind up with a peice of s**t. Even if the POS car does have a full warranty it will still leave you stranded on the freeway at 2:00 in the morning in the middle of nowhere in the winter.
I've had very good luck (knock on wood) with Toyota and Nissan.

Unless the car is under warranty forget dealers for repairs and servicing. Too many of them are crooks and almost criminally dishonest.. Read some consumer reviews of locally owned garages and find a decent one. I've found most of them to be more honest and less expensive than dealers.


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Adam_K93
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25 Jan 2016, 9:33 pm

A tip on Lexus, they are almost exclusively made of Toyota parts (ES300 and 330s are interchangeable with a load of engine parts), so they typically don't cost more unless it's something like the F sport lineup or a flagship like the LS460/600 etc. where the mechanicals are bespoke to that model.

Mercedes though, that's another story...


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Noca
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26 Jan 2016, 12:48 am

Oh btw I ride in Chrysler 200's as taxi's quite often now that I think of it, and they have to have the MOST annoying front seat head rest I have ever experienced in any car. They tilt forward permanently pushing your head into a forward head posture and they cannot be adjusted, it is beyond uncomfortable and annoying.



eric76
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26 Jan 2016, 3:11 am

I think that one of the vehicles I was considering is normally pretty good quality. However, that particular year model was the first of a complete rework on the model and every review I read included instances of major repairs, some of which the dealerships allegedly gave up trying to repair. So that vehicle is no longer under consideration.



eric76
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26 Jan 2016, 3:18 am

According to reports, the Lexus ES 350 is based on a Toyota Camry.

A new Lexus ES 350 starts at $38,000. In comparison, the 2012 model with 60,000 miles has a very substantial discount. I've read the CARFAX report and nothing in it sticks out as a red flag.



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26 Jan 2016, 6:52 am

Based off a Camry they may be, they're actually more comparable to an Avalon/Aurion.



eric76
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26 Jan 2016, 4:59 pm

I just had an odd thought.

If someone really likes the car they are driving, isn't it logical that they would be more likely to trade it in at a dealership of that make for another of that make?

If they trade in one brand for a different brand, isn't that somewhat likely to mean that there are things about that car that are unacceptable and so they are changing to a different model looking for something better?



AspergersActor8693
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26 Jan 2016, 11:09 pm

Quote:
If someone really likes the car they are driving, isn't it logical that they would be more likely to trade it in at a dealership of that make for another of that make?

If they trade in one brand for a different brand, isn't that somewhat likely to mean that there are things about that car that are unacceptable and so they are changing to a different model looking for something better?

There could be a number of reasons for that. They may have decided that that car didn't suit their needs as well as they thought, they might have wanted to upgrade or downgrade the size of their vehicle, the dealer could have been giving out some great deals on a new car with trade in, the car they traded in could be an absolute lemon.

The only way to be sure that the car is in good working order is to inspect it yourself or with a trusted and certified mechanic.

Regarding your question, I personally would lean towards one of the Ford Tauruses. We used to have a 1995 Ford Taurus Station Wagon. It had a couple weak points, but it was a very reliable and great car that to this day I miss dearly. I have never been in the market for a car this new (my first and current car is a 1986 AMC Eagle) but I have heard good things about the new Taurus. I would also suggest looking up reviews from reputable reviewers like Consumer Reports. You can also find review videos of any of those cars on Youtube. Some of them can be very in depth and I would recommend watching at least a couple of those.

In my understanding, Cadillac has greatly improved in quality and they are very nice cars. Keep in mind though that with any car made by any luxury brand, the parts will be more expensive than brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, etc. This applies to both new and used parts.

Cars are my Aspie obsession, if you need any help or advice with anything, let me know. I am more than willing to lend my expertise.



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27 Jan 2016, 8:36 pm

^^Ford Taurus,

I just wanted to emphasize that the older Taurus (2nd gen 92' - 4th gen 07') were very reliable cars if maintained well, both the Duratec V6 and Vulcan V6, although the Duratec tended to have intake leaks and coil pack problems passed 150,000 miles. They were also very safe cars too, often scoring 4-5 stars on crash test ratings. Personally I've been in a wreck at 40 mph combined speed and while both side and front air bags deployed, I had no scratches on me, even the door opened.

BUT, the new generation Taurus is a completely different beast, different transmission, different engine, and they haven't proven to be the most trouble free. They're not bad by any means, but they're a lot more difficult to keep up (as with most new cars).


When people talk about "quality" of cars, there are two aspects you have to take into account. Long term reliability and "Test" reliability. The first one is fit and finish, and this is a problem the earlier (80's) British and Korean cars suffered from. Doors getting stuck, instruments rattling, things falling off, etc, and that was because they were built poorly at their factorie from the start. This kind of reliability is something Cadillac has greatly improved on in the last few years. However, the long term reliability of a vehicle has to do with the components and material itself, and Caddys are not much better than some Korean cars I've worked on in the past (mechanic from age 18-24). Lots and lots of problems after 60-80k miles, and the engines on those things are very expensive to repair, not to mention everything else.

Either or, when you look at initial quality (such as J.D. Power ratings), that only tells you one side of the story. It's important, but it tells you almost nothing about how long the car is going to last. Those reporters that talk about any car making it past 200,000 miles have not the slightest clue of what they're saying. Cars have lots of supporting systems that can not physically last that long, no matter how well you maintain them.

In terms of trade ins, it really doesn't matter so much, and from what I've seen having worked at a dealership is that most people who really have a car they like simply sell it to family or friends for a good deal and then buy their new/used car without a trade in. Those that do trade in usually try and get rid of junk on an unsuspecting dealer and then get indignant when we tell them their car is crap. I know the tricks people do, I was that mechanic, and I always had to fix people's problems they were trying to hide. Some of the things people do to their cars to get more money is ridiculous, and that's why I never buy anything without documentation now, even if it's a $1,200 car.


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eric76
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27 Jan 2016, 8:57 pm

I test drove a 2012 Ford Taurus SEL today. It was pretty nice except for two problems.

1) It had a very mild tendency to pull to the left while at highway speeds. In comparison, under the same conditions in my car, I can take my hands off the steering wheel and go in a straight line at highway speeds for a quarter mile or better if there is no wind.

2) When doing a slow speed turn with the steering wheel all the way to the side, it felt like the wheels were slipping. My guess is it might be in the mechanical linkage. I noticed this when turning around on the highway and again in the parking lot when parking the car.

Unless I find out that the second problem is very normal behavior on a Taurus and not indicative of a problem, I won't be buying that car.

There was one thing in particular that I didn't like about the Taurus. The dashboard gauges were well recessed and would likely not be visible by someone in the passenger seat. So if I was riding along with someone else driving, I would not be able to glance over and see how fast they were driving.

One day a couple of years ago, I took my brother's wife to the nursing home to visit my oldest brother who was recuperating from a very severe illness (I'm amazed that he survived). I wanted to see if she could handle driving back and forth to the nursing home so I had her drive. As we were driving along, I glanced over at the speedometer and saw that we were traveling at about 90 miles an hour at night on a 55 mile an hour road past a major oil and gas plant. I brought that to her attention and she slowed down. I'm glad I noticed before we got to the corner about 1/4 mile ahead of us because that was far from a 90 mph corner. She was so worked up over my oldest brother's condition that she could barely concentrate on anything like maintaining a legal speed.

Also, it doesn't bother me if someone points out that I'm driving too fast in case I don't see a speed limit sign as we enter a town.



eric76
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27 Jan 2016, 9:07 pm

Adam_K93: "However, the long term reliability of a vehicle has to do with the components and material itself, and Caddys are not much better than some Korean cars I've worked on in the past (mechanic from age 18-24). Lots and lots of problems after 60-80k miles, and the engines on those things are very expensive to repair, not to mention everything else."

I have read that the 2000 Buick Century (what I have now) has a plastic engine gasket that typically fails around 80,000 to 100,000 miles and costs about $1,000 to replace with a metal gasket. In some cases, it may ruin the engine entirely. My car is currently at 93,000 miles. I've been dreading this happening. I'm hoping that if I just drive it for short trips maybe the gasket won't fail on me for a while longer. If it does, I'll probably just junk the car.



Adam_K93
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27 Jan 2016, 9:43 pm

eric76 wrote:
I have read that the 2000 Buick Century (what I have now) has a plastic engine gasket that typically fails around 80,000 to 100,000 miles and costs about $1,000 to replace with a metal gasket. In some cases, it may ruin the engine entirely. My car is currently at 93,000 miles. I've been dreading this happening. I'm hoping that if I just drive it for short trips maybe the gasket won't fail on me for a while longer. If it does, I'll probably just junk the car.



You're probably referring to the intake gaskets that the 3.1, 3.4, 3.8 motors had which had a plastic carrier. To be honest, most of the times I've seen intake gasket failure was at 60-100,000 miles, but were on cars that weren't necessarily maintained with fresh coolant every 30,000 miles or so. The corrosion inhibitors in the coolant wear out, and the coolant turns acidic and eats the coolant seal away and leaks into the engine, typically causing overheating at the least, and that can be expensive to fix.

Either or, to replace the gasket is a difficult job (last I did I charged 8 or 9 hours labor because of previous engine damage), but the gasket itself is only something like $50. You refer to a metal gasket, but that's "propaganda" from a salesman. There "body" of the gasket is made of metal to look better, because metal is "good". What really is important is this thing here is the updated coolant seal on the gasket, because 99% of the time that is what fails. I always used Felpro seals and showed them to my customers because it was "metal" and "metal is better", but in reality, the reason I used the metal gasket is because the coolant seal was 3 times stronger (3 seals vs. 1) and would ensure the gasket would outlive the car. I never mentioned this unless they were mechanically savy, because no one would believe me if I said the little $1 silicone ring was the problem, and not the giant icky plastic mess that everyone suspected.

Anyway, the "cheap" way to go is to actually get a new gasket on the car while it's still running. It's not an issue of if, but when it will fail. You could also use this as a selling point when you pass on the car and get some money for it. I would venture this would be $500-600 at an independent mechanic, but it's been 5 years since I was in the business. The reason is because coolant hasn't leaked everywhere in the engine and the job is a "simple" remove and replace, rather than clean up all the junk and pray the engine is still workable after being overheated and contaminated. 5 hours of labor and I bet you'd be good to go for the rest of the car's life.


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eric76
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28 Jan 2016, 8:35 am

Thanks.

I've been thinking of having it replaced before failure.

I have no plans to sell the car. I tend to drive vehicles until they don't run and then park them out on the farm.



eric76
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02 Feb 2016, 10:35 am

The Lexus I was looking at has been sold.

I subscribed to Carfax for "unlimited" tries for 60 days (or something like that). It turns out that "unlimited" means you can look up 5 cars by their VINs. Sheesh!

What I did learn from Carfax is that the Cadillac I was looking at was a rental car in Arizona and was wrecked two months after the rental company purchased it. It was fixed and put back into service for the rest of that year and then sold. It was used by a couple of dealerships for a while -- I wonder if maybe as a loaner -- and then sold to someone who drove it for a year and sold it again. It's been sitting on the dealer's lot for over two years now! If I were to buy that one, I'd want a far more extensive period to try it out and a big drop in price.

A Taurus I was looking at turns out to have been a rental car in Dallas. Considering how people don't treat other people's cars well, I wouldn't want to buy a rental car for anything close to Blue Book.

I did find a nice 2008 Lexus ES 350 on-line at a dealership about 100 miles away. I may go take a look at it. They are asking $13,000 for it with 110,000 miles. Carfax shows that the owner had the oil changed regularly at a dealership along with other maintenance. The most expensive thing it's required was new tires. It's looking good.

Also there is a 2015 Toyota Avalon for sale at a car lot. It only has 15,000 miles on it but it was a rental car for six months. They are asking about $3,500 below blue book. That makes me thing that there must be some pretty obvious problems with it.

Of course, rental car companies apparently don't log their maintenance to where it would show up on the car reports like Carfax.

I've seen that some dealers list an "AutoCheck report" that you can buy. They offer an unlimited number of reports for 21 days for $99. Are these pretty much like Carfax?



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03 Feb 2016, 11:00 am

Autocheck is the way to go, Carfax is a joke. They sure upped their price though. Last I remember it was $30 for unlimited checks.


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03 Feb 2016, 2:18 pm

I found a web listing for a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria at a dealer in a nearby town with approximately 20,000 miles on the car!

Before I found out that it was gone, I looked it up on AutoCheck and found that it started out as a rental car in Hawaii.

With the rust problems it is sure to have, they would have had to bring it way down in price before I'd buy it.

My guess is that the listing was a couple of years old but still floating around.

One thing that I've found on both CarFAX and AutoCheck is that a number of local cars have no reports after 2013. It makes me wonder if some Ford dealers may have quit reporting maintenance and repair information a couple of years ago.