Author Topic: Wise or foolish car purchase?  (Read 5391 times)

frugaldrummer

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Wise or foolish car purchase?
« on: January 25, 2014, 10:11:52 PM »
So, my son (late 20's, recently home from college - not quite done) lives with me and has a job nearby.  He hasn't owned a car because he did not need one at his college.  He's been biking to work and catching rides with me but now is on nite shift and has to have a car.  (Me driving him in at 3 am is not gonna work for long).

Besides, we've been meaning to get him a used car for a while (our area is lousy for public transportation and very spread out).

So, with his budget of 3-4,000 in mind, we went on craigslist looking for a good used Honda or Toyota.  In our area, for that price, most had about 150k miles or more.  (Some with salvage titles had a little less).

But what we found, and ended up buying, was a beautiful 2002 Jaguar X-type sedan with only 104k miles on it, for $3800. 

Now, everyone's first reaction has been "omg, do you know how expensive they are to fix?".  And granted, I'm sure a transmission repair or new starter motor is going to cost more than it would on a Honda Civic.

On the other hand, this car is in great mechanical condition and has almost 50k fewer miles than most of the other vehicles we were looking at.  Son will be putting very few miles on it (his job is only 2 miles away).  I figure he can drive it for a year or two, and then if it becomes a money pit, can probably sell it for close to what he paid for it.  If not, he can keep and enjoy this cool ride for several years.

(Btw, we bought it from a very nice retired dentist who races Porsches - it was his daughter's ride for a while but she now has a company car - he priced it to sell quickly, has service records etc.  Definitely not a car that has had the odometer rolled back or anything. )

So - seems weird to say, but I think the Jaguar may actually turn out to be a reasonably mustachian purchase!


frugaldrummer

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 10:20:01 PM »
P.S. the closest I've ever come to a luxury car myself was owning a very unreliable MG Midget convertible in grad school.  Since then it's been plain jane hondas and toyotas.  But it was interesting to see, looking in this price range, so many luxury cars - I guess rich people don't want them used and dinged up, and poor people want better gas mileage and cheaper repairs. 

iamlindoro

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 10:24:28 PM »
Now, everyone's first reaction has been "omg, do you know how expensive they are to fix?".  And granted, I'm sure a transmission repair or new starter motor is going to cost more than it would on a Honda Civic.

I wouldn't personally fixate on that, since that recent a Jaguar is mostly Ford parts and should be cheaper to fix than something from the 90s.

What would concern me, though, is the atrocious gas mileage the Jaguar X-Type is rated for.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 10:34:29 PM »
Yes, the mileage is not as good as a smaller 4 cylinder car would get - but then, son will not actually be putting much in the way of commuting miles on it, so I think his day-to-day gas costs will still be affordable. 

And yes, we had thought about that aspect, that the newer Jags should be cheaper to fix.  We will need to look for a good mechanic. 

Back in the day, when I owned my used MG, there was only one guy in our city - not conveniently located - who had any idea what he was doing with that car.  It was cheaper to drive across town to him, than to take it to the local "foreign car experts" who wasted my money and didn't know how to fix it.

Hopefully, weird British electrical problems will not be an issue with this car.

gooki

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 01:08:39 AM »
Nothing wrong with a little luxury in life. But it's significantly more expensive than a $20 set of good bike lights.

Greg

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 08:42:16 AM »
What are the insurance costs on this car compared to an econobox?  Especially for a young driver?

Left Bank

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 09:38:20 AM »
Flip it for a profit?

daverobev

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 10:56:35 AM »
If you know the car's a good one, sure, why not.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 12:49:06 PM »
x-types are notorious for auto transmission issues. Manufacturer made transmission to never be serviced. (fluid is not forever. It eventually breaks down, and causes issues in the trans)....

If you don't believe me hop on to one of the many Jaguar forums... (It's nearly every other post)

Recommend you read the articles on removing old fluid and adding new. Also, there are some seals on the the manifold and throttle body that are also a common failure spot. Address these items BEFORE they break and the car should be fine. (You can find all this info in the Jag forums as well)

Good Luck.

Boz86

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 08:21:57 AM »
Likewise the transfer case on the early models was weak and Jag didn't have replacements for a long time. And apparently the info to rebuild them wasn't available. I remember reading about people who were rebuilding them trying to guess at the torque required to remove one bolt and then trying to apply the "same" amount on reinstallation.

We have an 03 x-type and based on the forums I did two things a few years back:
1. add a one way check valve fitting to the transfer case drain allowing it to be a fill port also. There's write ups on http://www.jaguarforums.com/forum/x-type-14/
owners were finding their transfer cases without any fluid in what was intended to be a sealed for life part. As far as I recall the idea of the check valve was that the real fill port was impossible to reach without a lot of work.

2. The A-pillars had an issue with the drain holes at the bottom plugging, leading to a rusted body pan if left untended long enough. I opened the access ports and couldn't see any rust so I got some of this http://www.eastwood.com/internal-frame-coating-w-spray-nozzle.html to try and prevent rust.

If it came to it down the road, knock on wood, there is a U.S. (Lincoln?) engine that's nearly a drop-in replacement.

I hate paying Jag dealer prices, and avoid it when I can. For example, when I added the rust proof I needed new molding clips. Jaguar $100ish. I'm not kidding. Auto parts store $7-8 ish.

With that said, they're a fun car, and Jaguar got a JD Powers most reliable manufacturer rating in 06, so they had improved their quality in that period. If you can keep it in good shape I expect them to be cult classics in a few years. Jag only did the entry level luxury market for a few years before going back to exclusively high-end.



frugaldrummer

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 10:50:02 AM »
Thanks guys for the Jaguar tips - I can see son will have to get on the Jaguar owner's message boards and study up.

I believe the seller said he'd already flushed the transmission; when we pick up the car tomorrow I'll get the service records from him.

As for insurance, I'm not sure it is worth it to get collision coverage on a $3800 car; I doubt his other coverage will be any more than usual, after all, it's a 4-door sedan, not a convertible or other obvious "sports car". 

Another question for those of you with Jaguar experience - the car comes with only one key, as the seller's daughter lost the other one.  I've been looking online but it kinda looks like I have to go to the dealer to get a new one?  There are blanks available with remote online for about $90 but it still looks like you have to get a locksmith or the dealer to reset everything.  Any tips?

And for the poster who suggested flipping it - always a possibility!  I'm thinking son could drive it for a year, will put very few miles on it, and could then sell it for at least as much as he paid, maybe more.  Or if he keeps it, it may go up in value - it is a very classy looking car.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 08:33:51 AM »
This was touched on by someone else...but if it's a two mile commute, why is he not biking or walking?

Boz86

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 08:34:56 AM »
Supposedly there's a way to buy one online and reprogram. I don't remember exactly how but the procedures are available in the forums.

However, I couldn't get the process to work for me. Eventually ending up paying the dealer. Somehow we ended up with a plain key without a radio fob, so now we have three (2 fobs and a plain key).

And I don't see a way around getting the key cut somewhere, not sure locksmiths can do it but it's sure worth asking. If you can buy a blank online and get the reset procedures to work, you'll be waaaay ahead of having the dealer do it.

Obvious reminder, you don't need a fob to unlock the doors or drive the car. I know someone who didn't know that.

foobar

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2014, 10:56:36 AM »
The x-type was not a classic Jag mode.  It was a cheap entry model and 3800 is about market value (+-500 depending on exact options and condition) for it. You will pay with higher operating costs for things like tires (it probably has 17" versus 15" and they probably have some high performance variation that only lasts 30k miles instead of 60k) and oil changes (a lot of those cars need synthetic). And yeah dumb things like the key where the basic key costs 75 bucks and the dealer charges another 100 to program it.

That being said, I am sure the kid will have fun with it for a couple of years and with only 4k in it, you can walk away when you blow an engine and get quoted a 8k repair bill.


P.S. the closest I've ever come to a luxury car myself was owning a very unreliable MG Midget convertible in grad school.  Since then it's been plain jane hondas and toyotas.  But it was interesting to see, looking in this price range, so many luxury cars - I guess rich people don't want them used and dinged up, and poor people want better gas mileage and cheaper repairs.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 11:48:50 AM »
Quote
This was touched on by someone else...but if it's a two mile commute, why is he not biking or walking?

He was, but now is on night shift and has to go in at 2:30 in the morning sometimes.  It's hard enough getting up for that shift, adding an extra half hour to bike in in the dark is onerous for this kid (who also has some anxiety issues).

Plus - he's never had his own car, he's 27, cannot drive mine (a stick, he's never been able to learn) and we live in an area where there's little public transportation, so having a car will be crucial to him building some kind of a social life (dating is a little limited if you always have to rely on the girl to drive).  It will also allow him to drive the 45 minute drive to visit his father, rather than me taking him there (dad is pretty lazy about driving up here, but that's another story for another board).

The Kelly Blue book for buying this car used was about $1,000 more than we're paying - what we are paying is about the trade-in KBB value.  Yes, I expect that many things may be more expensive to repair, but at the same time, it's in such nice shape, I'm hoping the frequency of repairs will not be significantly more than the econoboxes with 50k more miles on them in this price range. (Speaking of which, I have a Toyota Matrix, and have to say, I've not been impressed with the Toyota in terms of reliability - my previous Hondas ran like tops, but my Toyota, bought new and all regular dealer service, at 96k miles, has had a new water pump, new clutch, and now needs a new starter.   I will definitely buy a Honda again next time.)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2014, 03:35:03 PM »
Foolish in my book, but hope it works out nonetheless :)

beltim

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Re: Wise or foolish car purchase?
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2014, 05:28:32 PM »
I think this is awesome!  I may look into this myself when I need to replace my current car.