I was recently in need of a vehicle when my 98 Nissan Altima died. It developed a manual trans leak for which the only cure is a trans rebuild. For a while I was thinking for the 3 years I've owned the car and all the money I've sunk into both axles, tires, alternator, water pump, radiator, hoses, brakes, valve cover gasket, power steering hose (to name things done off the top of my head) I might as well sink $1500 into a trans rebuild? What else could go wrong? The engine? Well luckily before I could make a bad investment on the trans rebuild, both motor and trans went and and for the second and last time this car left me stranded when both the motor and trans went out at 128k. Trans I could understand, but the motor also at 128k? Ever since I bought the vehicle at 93k I religiously changed the oil every 3,000 miles and warmed the car before driving. Only thing I could think is a kid owned the car for a year and a half before me and maybe he beat the crap out of it?
Anyway, I started looking for vehicles vigorously. Decided to stay away from a dealership because I wanted to pay cash and also I spent nearly 20 years at a Ford dealer and all my life and paid cash for my vehicles. Of course it was easy finding decent relatively cheap vehicles working in the used car dept for the dealership before leasing destroyed the trade-in system. Even though they were all high miles, I've pretty much always had a decent car to drive. As I stated, that was when I worked at the dealer and they had decent trades coming in. But those days are gone and I've been left to searching on my own.
I took my time searching because I had the luxury of decent, borrowed transportation from my parents. I found through my vigorous search that nearly all private owners over value their vehicles. Kelly Blue books inflated estimates and folks definitions of what a clean vehicle was make people think their cars are worth much more than they are. I had usually gone by NADA black book values from my used car days. I had pretty much focused my search on a manual trans import. I had just assumed through owning a few of them that would be the best for reliability. But I live in Ford country. Most imports listed were over priced and had a lot of miles. I had forgotten that I had a high mile 92 taurus wagon for 7 years that I bought for $500 from a coworker from my dealership days that was an incredibly reliable vehicle. Only real reason I sold it was because I had found my Nissan and had grown tired of driving a brown wagon others and myself affectionately named Mr Hanky. Unfortunately, the person I sold Mr. Hanky to didn't have enough sense to check the oil periodically and ran the car out of oil. I wish I would have kept Hanky.
After a frustrating weekend of going to look at another 3 overpriced letdowns I found a new listing for a 2000 Taurus. Original owner, garage kept and hadn't even turned 57k. It was on a Monday morning and out of my search area, but I had to call on it. Turns out it was the son in law of the owner that answered the call. An old ladies car she couldn't drive. State took her license away and they were trying to sell the vehicle. They were only asking $3000 obo. It was an inconvenience to leave work and drive out of my way for what might be another letdown. But I asked my boss if I could skip out and look at it sometime during the week. She suggested I go that day. So glad she did. If I hadn't jumped, the first person to look at it would have scooped it up. The car was in fantastic shape! Just some body blemishes where she scuffed up the body parking the vehicle. It's an SE with the Vulcan motor and steel wheels and full wheel covers (which I always liked more even when seeing just about every flavor of wheel offered then while I was still working at the dealership). The only thing I wish it had was ABS
which my wagon had ABS
and four wheel disks, but I'm not complaining.
The car is a dream to drive. I had my mechanic look at it and he said he couldn't find anything wrong with the car besides what I had suggested (which was a trans flush, coolant flush, and power steering flush. Oil had recently been changed). I'm trying to keep it as in good a condition as possible. I am driving it through the Winter. But I've always had a habit with previous vehicles of washing them vigorously through the winter when the roads are dry. I've even gone a step further with this vehicle and we have relocated it to our 1 car garage. This came at the price of paying for permanent storage for my wife's 86 Camaro Z28 which gets parked in the Winter and much resistance from her. But we agreed there is not much sense in her car taking up the garage all winter when it sits parked. She'll get the garage back when its not Winter and I'll feel better about leaving the Taurus outside with a good coat of wax since our climate in spring/summer/fall is mostly pretty mild here in Michigan.
Sorry the pictures aren't better. Just the ones from the saved ad and not my own. The odometer pic is showing 056720.