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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings fellow Caddy brothers and sisters. I need some help/advice regarding a future car purchase.



My youngest daughter just got her driver’s license and I am looking for a nice, reliable used car for her. I have mostly owned Caddies and Benzes so that is where my experience lies. We bought a used Benz 300TE wagon for our oldest daughter when she got her license. Now, however, we want to go with something that is less expensive to maintain and insure. So we have expanded our search to Toyota, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen, etc.



We want a car that is not too big, but also not itty-bitty tiny. This morning on the way to work I saw a nice looking 1995 Acura L sedan. The car looks good on the outside and from what I could see inside, the interiors are in very nice shape. I called the owners and he is asking $5,500.00 OBO. The car, however, has 227K miles (mostly freeway miles he assured me).



From my own experience with the cars that I have owned I now how far engines can be driven before expensive repairs begin to crop up. The 1991 420SEL has over 250K, and I drove a 1984 300SD (Benz diesel) until it had nearly 300K. My wife’s 2002 Yukon has 200K miles on the odometer (we drive it EVERYWHERE). The two Benzes all ran fine and the Yukon’s engine is still sweet.



But I know nothing about Acuras, except that the timing belt should/must be changed every 100K or so. If the timing belt fails, it forces the valve guides into the cylinders and pistons and the engine is shot. Fortunately, changing the belt is fairly inexpensive (about $300.00).



Can anyone out there with Acura experience tell me whether this is car is worth my attention or whether I should pass up on it. And, if I decide to get it, what things should I look into.



I had considered the Catera, but I read that they have so many problems that I decided to pass up on them.



I would greatly appreciate any help, assistance, suggestions, whatever you have to offer.



Thanks in advance
 

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That's a lot of mileage on the Acura.. Maybe have a mechanic give it a real good once over.. Do a wet and dry compression test, even.. Honda / Acura cars do last for a long, long time - but that IS a lot of mileage...

Otherwise.. I'm not all that knowledgeable in regards to the Catera - but aren't the later models pretty reliable? I thought Cadillac got most of the bugs out by then...

I'd stay away from Volkswagen.. I'm guessing you're considering the Passat? Or the Jetta? My Wife used to be a service advisor for Volkswagen and said the vehicles were very unreliable..

I don't know about Mazda but you can't go wrong with Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus or Nissan/Infiniti. Still, the nice ones are very expensive - even for 1995's..

The only other Cadillac I can think of would be the CTS, but that might be over your budget.. The Lexus ES300.. Check into that.. My Aunt has one, a late 90s, and she loves it...
 

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When you get a car that's 10 years old and has a quarter-million miles on it, it's condition depends LARGELY upon how well the previous owner maintained it. Obviously there has been some maintenance or the car wouldn't have made it this far...but it sounds like a crap shoot. I'd say he's asking far too much money for that car for starters, unless he's put a lot of new parts and work into the car recently. If if were me I'd want something newer, with fewer miles. I believe you can get a lot more car for your $5500 smokes. JHMO

I'm not sure what you mean by "an L Sedan," it's one of the following: TL, or Legend L Sedan. Estimates on wholesale value / person-to-person value / and high retail are as follows:

1995 TL in clean condition: 1953 / 2758 / 4100

1995 Legend 4dr L sedan clean condition: 3049 / 4022 / 5665 (this includes auto tranny and keyless entry. Add $100 to base price for cd player, add $150 for leather seats). Good luck, hope this helps.
 

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1989 Sedan DeVille is now just a fond memory ....
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Discussion Starter #6
OK...moving away from the specific Acura that I saw for sale.


How are Acuras in general?

Toyotas?

Hondas?

What should I look for (as trouble spots) in any of the above three brands?

Thanks.
 

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Hondas and Acuras are generally good cars. Give them the once over: Check all body lines to see they're straight, look where the car is normally parked to see if the car leaks fluids. Give the car a good shake to see if you can elicit a rattle from the underbody of the car. Run your finger over the paint to check for uniform feeling...also look closely for uniform color and new clear coat (to see if its been repainted). Check under the hood and in the trunk to see if body panels have been replaced (look at spot welds and color/overspray). Check the pedals to see of they're excessively worn (hard driving). Lastly make sure all things work properly: roll all windows down and up (sunroof included), adjust all seats and mirrors, check radio cd/casette, and check ac/heater. Turn wheel lock to lock. Pull the dipstick and look at the oil (I'm leary of fresh oil/fluid changes b/c they can be hiding something). Obviously oil shouldn't have antifreeze or metal flakes in it. Any mechanic can give a car this once over for you, and maybe do a compression test on older/high mileage car to check integrity of cylinders and rings. Also look at the engine itself to see of there's oil leaking/seeping from anything (this is worthless if the engine compartment has been cleaned).

Here's a good link to follow:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5880&highlight=buying+car
 

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Hondas and Acuras are (overall) well built cars, and most of the 90s models were perfect in terms of reliability. As for Toyota, I know that the mid 90's camrys had engine problems, mainly with the EGRs in them. EGR = Exaust Gas Recirculation, i think.

Might I recommend a Lexus ES 300, since you're looking at Acuras too. They are great cars and they are luxary like Acura, but they are Lexus = more refined. Also, you could look into an Infiniti J30 or a BMW 5-series (im talking about mid 90s models, just to clarify)
 

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The Acura Legend was the best Acura ever made. Made in Japan, rock solid, 200hp V-6, top quality car before Acura decided to go the cheap/value route of things.

Also look at the ES 300 another indestructable car.
 

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The ES300 and Camry with the same motor are prone to sludge. A lot of owners neglect oil changes, so proper maintenance makes it a non-issue, but how much you really trust the previous owner's word? Lots of ES300 engine swaps are taking place now.
Nice cars, but overpriced in the used market.

Check out the Acura Legend, Infiniti I30, and early to mid 90s BMW 5-series. The J30 is a nice car, but owner neglect makes the transmission prone to early failure. Avoid any DaimlerBenz product made after 1995 (or 1999 for the C-class).

And what Sal said about VW/Audi.

-Jesda
 

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Jesda said:
The ES300 and Camry with the same motor are prone to sludge. A lot of owners neglect oil changes, so proper maintenance makes it a non-issue, but how much you really trust the previous owner's word? Lots of ES300 engine swaps are taking place now.
Nice cars, but overpriced in the used market.

Check out the Acura Legend, Infiniti I30, and early to mid 90s BMW 5-series. The J30 is a nice car, but owner neglect makes the transmission prone to early failure. Avoid any DaimlerBenz product made after 1995 (or 1999 for the C-class).

And what Sal said about VW/Audi.

-Jesda
There sludge problem is overblown. It was a VOLUNTARY recall. Its rare for the problem to occur but as u stated, it is b/c of people not maintaining their cars, so yes, its something to look into.
THe I30 is trash, horrible ride (no Independant suspension), it looks dated compared to the Legend/ES and the car is now discontinued.
The early 5 is solid but be prepared to repari. The J30 has decent reliablity but is discontinued as well.
 

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I bought my CL with 58K on the clock and it has 90K right now. The only thing I had to replace was the weatherstriping on the bottom of the drivers door window, which had split I guess from me opening window too damn much. And thats about it. I'm very pleased with it and planning on running it to 250K at least. The reason I bought it because many of my friends had Hondas/Acuras and I only heard positive feedback about those cars. I even convinced my mom into getting an Acura. She traded her '00 TransAm for a used '01 TL and very happy with it too.

As far as that Legend for $5500 with 227K I'd say it's a ripoff, you can find something a lot better for that kind of money.
 

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Here's a thought, take that 5.5k, find a nice, low miles, early 90's Coupe Deville for around 3k and put the 2.5k in a gas/repair/insurance fund for the daughter.
Hmm? :2thumbs:

Kev
 

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By the way, I have 3 teenage girls here at home, 2 that are driving. When I first got the '89 DeVille they didn't like it. Then I let the 2 that can drive it. They changed their minds in a hurry. My youngest will be 15 the end of this month and guess which car she will be learning to drive in? (and she the last of the 'Cadi Haters'). :devil:

Kev
 

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Re: 1SICKLEX

Actually, I know of at -least- one professional service shop in Atlanta with heavy volume that specializes in luxury imports (especially Lexus and Infiniti). They get MORE than a FEW ES300s requiring engine replacement and they DO NOT reccommend the vehicle. You are shopping used -- how much do you really trust the previous owner? Dont put your faith in a brand or your hopes in someone who is dumping their vehicle; base your decisions on reality. Reality says that most people are lazy about oil changes, rendering an otherwise excellent vehicle a risky long-term choice. Get records and receipts as proof of OCI or move on.

It doesnt matter if a recall is voluntary, as it is typically done to retain long term customer loyalty and high satisfaction ratings (and avoid lawsuits) in the face of quality concerns. You'll note that GM and Ford often do the same, so the type of recall issued has absolutely no bearing on the level of mechanical urgency.

And while this is entirely subjective, Toyota/Lexus styling is about as exciting and compelling as Martha Stewart.

The I30 was replaced a few years ago by the I35. The independent suspension you complain about was lost with the I35 when cost cutting became a priority (though power and torque output increased, unfortunately causing torque steer to become an annoyance).
So check out the I30. Again, I suggest basing used vehicle purchases off facts instead of anger-driven fanboy rants.

The J30 has transmission issues of great concern. Few people flush their transmissions and install auxilary coolers. Add to that the fact that the drivetrain from a 300ZX is now burdened by a heavy luxury sedan.

And of course many of these cars will be discontinued. Thats the essence of a used car. Model continuity has no bearing on parts availability, satisfaction, or quality regarding the vehicles being discussed. Perhaps you should have read the original post: "I am looking for a nice, reliable used car for her."

You'd also be happy with a last-generation Acura TL. No, they arent exciting by any measure, but they operate and perform like a quality set of tools. Perhaps not thrilling, but never disappointing -- in that regard, always satisfying.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for your replies and great advice (keep it coming) :)


Buying a used car (for your kid) is like dating. You have to kiss a lot of dogs before you find your true princess :lildevil:

As for Jesda's comment:

And while this is entirely subjective, Toyota/Lexus styling is about as exciting and compelling as Martha Stewart.

Personally, I find Marthat to be very sexy. She has all that money, she owns a great business and she has been in jail. Grrrrrrr :lildevil: :lildevil: :lildevil:

I will keep your advice in mind. I am still focusing on either a mid 80's Benz diesel (with low mileage) or a Japanese import. I really like the Acuras and Hondas, not too sure about Toyotas.
 

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I've owned three Acuras-- '87 Legend, '90 Legend, '97 RL. My mother had a '92 Legend, which is the same generation you are considering.

They ARE great cars, very reliable, but I think they declined a little in build quality and reliability since '96. If I'm not mistaken, the '95 Legend you're looking at was built in Japan, which (to quote Martha Stewart) is a good thing. With Hondas and Acuras, always look for a VIN starting with "J".

227,000 is too high for me on ANY car at ANY price. If you can find one under 150,000 I would jump on it, and the $5500 price would seem about right if the interior is well preserved.
 

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Get a "cone bone"... Mid nineties Taurus SHO baby!! LOL, Sorry, I had to bring that in here. Actually those arent bad if you can find one in good shape.

I dont know about your Mechanic friend Jesda, but I hear nothing but praise from Camry/ES300 owners, dealers and general Mechanics. It is always THE car they would get for their wife/child if they needed to. Ive known several people with Camry's that love them to death and ride them like 3.00 whores. Ive known many MORE people with Infiniti's that have had issues with them, especially with the first severely underpowered QX4 and the bland I30. I like the new G35 and FX, but would stay away from just about anything else from Infiniti except some of the mid nineties Q's. I have the same feelings about Infiniti styling that you do about Lexus styling, so I agree its totally subjective. In my eyes, the new Q looks like a beached whale or something, the proportions are completely off and those lights make it look hideous. The LS on the other hand, while certainly about as exciting as a box of oat bran, is properly proportioned and has flowing body lines and a truly sumptuous interior. Infiniti has a lot of "stick on" looking wood, even on the steering wheel.

I still have my vote in heavily for the ES300... it is a car that will not disappoint, so long as its been taken care of.
 
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