Author Topic: Help with a car  (Read 3736 times)

gdborton

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Help with a car
« on: October 23, 2012, 08:40:17 PM »
I'm considering getting rid of my anti-Mustachian 1996 GMC Sonoma and buying a more gas efficient car.  I've been scouring CL and a few online used car sites (yahoo autos, auto trader, carmax[lol no]), and have come across the first car that I am considering.  I'm seeking advice because it has a rebuilt title, and I don't have any experience there.  The car is a 2004 Prius, the ad doesn't list the miles.

I know that $8000 is too much for this car (just under the kbb for an excellent cond of this car), and plan on offering around $5000.  Does that sound a bit more reasonable?  Also I plan on taking the car to a mechanic to get it inspected myself if/when I decide to look it at.

Is there anything that I need to be aware of when buying a rebuilt title car?  I plan on getting liability so I don't see any issues with insurance, but maybe I'm wrong...   Any thoughts on whether this car might be worth the look?

Link:
http://indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/3360161094.html

Another Reader

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 08:54:09 PM »
Salvage title cars were in serious accidents and totalled by the insurance company.  They are generally rebuilt by amateurs and are often unsafe.  Wouldn't drive one, much less buy one.

Nords

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 09:42:38 PM »
The car is a 2004 Prius, the ad doesn't list the miles.
Run away fast.

I'd never buy a car with a rebuilt title.  I'd most especially never ever buy a Prius with a rebuilt title because of all its electrical buswork and its electronic control units.  I'm pretty sure those don't do very well in collisions or flooding submergence.  If it was a used Prius with its standard title you'd do much better. But rebuilt?  You're just asking for misery.

We own a 2005 and a 2006 Prius.  They're great cars.  However you don't have to believe us-- here's some recent feedback from a 2004 Prius buyer on PriusChat.com:
http://priuschat.com/threads/common-2g-problems-and-what-to-do-about-them.59177/page-7#post-1665071
Quote
Hey guys i'm a freshman in college and i need your guys' help to save me some money.
I will tell you the story of my 2004 2nd Gen Toyota Prius.
A couple of months ago i purchased a 2004 Toyota Prius for $2200 with 170,xxx miles on it. It wasn't totally wrecked and looked completely repairable. It was hit in the front and everything under the hood looked like it was smooshed in. I test drove it for a little because i didn't want it to heat up as the radiator was busted. So everything is fine right? The car started, the motor started, batteries seemed fine.

Fast forward a little to where i put it in a body shop because i think all it needs is body work and a new radiator. Cost $1900 to make it look like new. New hood, bumper, radiator, headlights, etc...
So i go to pick up my car when it was supposedly read and it doesn't start
The dashboard lighted up but the motor would not start...

So i take it to the Toyota dealer and it turns out the battery was messed up and needed to be replaced, along with an inverter coolant reservoir tank, a sensor that's like hooked to the engine, and 4 fuses. They were gonna charge me around $6,500 to get it up and running again. I didn't have the money  but i did buy the fuses and the reservoir tank because they weren't that expensive and i put them in myself.
So i took it back to my house and found some guy on craigslist who repairs batteries and brought him over to my house where he extracted the broken one and put in a good one for $1300...we tried starting the car and the engine STILL WOULD NOT TURN ON
at this point i'm seriously giving up and hate Priuses...well the guy told me the transmission was messed up...so i go and buy one with 37,xxx miles on it for $400 bucks and pay another mechanic to install it for another $400.

So i do the transmission fluid change on my own and try to start it...literally with fingers crossed that this car will hopefully start and i can begin to save money on gas. WELL, GUESS WHAT?! It did start but the engine turns off after about 5-7 seconds...

so my question is:

any of you guys know what could be wrong with it? i seriously don't wanna spend more money on this car. it i seriously screwing me over and sucking my college money out of my bank account. i bought this car because i thought it'd be easy to fix and i would save some gas but i has screwed me really hard.
why does my engine turn off after 5-7 seconds? and btw...the word "Problem!" appears on my navi system after the engine goes off. I WILL SERIOUSLY APPRECIATE YOUR REPLIES GUYS. I hope there is some serious Prius genies in here because i am getting depressed with this car. Please please please help me! i am desperate....

-Roy

I wonder if Roy lives near Indianapolis...

gdborton

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 07:06:01 AM »
So I'm feeling a general no on this car... guess I'll keep looking.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2012, 07:41:57 AM »
Some of the information above is incorrect. Salvage Title does not always mean totaled- as in wrecked. Many states have variations of "branded" titles such as salvage or rebuilt.  The problem is that these titles are not always indicative of why the car has received said title... Sometimes there is flood damage, sometimes there is a wreck, sometimes there is a theft recovery (if they've stolen the air bags and leather interior, etc... It's usually too expensive to repair or replace in the minds (ie: they have to spend ANY money) of the insurance companies so they "total" the car and it gets branded with a "salvage title" - even though nothing is wrong with it - besides the missing parts.

That being said, a branded title car is not one to be afraid of. You must simply take your time, inspect and ask questions. A branded title car is generally worth about 50% of a like-kind make and model... Example: Mercedes Benz that sells used for $25k... Then you have one that was stolen - missing seats, a bent rim and missing air bags... This has branded title but you can buy for $10k and replace the missing stuff for a few grand off of CL or ebay, etc... Now you have a $25k looking car for half the price.... I know many people who prefer to buy cars this way as you can have your cake and eat it too... Of course it won't be worth as much when and if you sell and probably a little harder to sell due to the stigma but still there are some great deals to be had.

As for the Prius--- Those cars are computers on wheels... It is likely that it would need to go to a Toyota shop as they'd have the expensive diagnostic tools and training. I'd avoid any car that I could not work on myself... (Since I do my own work, I can work on most cars- Prius is one I avoid- don't like to be at the mercy of others- especially a stealership)

If you want cheap or great mpg and don't care about looks-Honda's are always good, old econo-boxes like ford festiva, aspire, geo metro... Ugly but effective and super cheap.

Jamesqf

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2012, 12:25:59 PM »
Second the above.  I agree that you might not want to buy a car with a salvage title if you're not competent to work on it yourself.  However, my Insight has the distinction of being "salvage" twice: bought it as salvage after a theft recovery (only damage was a broken window and some cosmetic scratches), then a couple of years later a guy in an SUV rear-ended me (me stopped at a red light!) broke the rear glass and a taillight and added a few more scratches.  (But I drove it home just fine.)  His insurance company wanted to total the car and pay me quite a bit less than replacement cost, so I fixed it up myself for about $400, and eventually banked about $4K profit.  5 or 6 years later it's still going strong and getting 70+ mpg - though I have to admit that the driver's side floor mat needs replacing :-)

gdborton

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2012, 01:21:25 PM »
Thanks for the replies, I'm going to try to take a look at the car.  From the ad it sounds like all of the damage was cosmetic and has been repaired.  Going to try to see the receipts of work and also ask how long he has owned the car.

Nords

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Re: Help with a car
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2012, 06:15:59 PM »
Thanks for the replies, I'm going to try to take a look at the car.  From the ad it sounds like all of the damage was cosmetic and has been repaired.  Going to try to see the receipts of work and also ask how long he has owned the car.
Do yourself a favor.  Run this post through PriusChat.com and ask for advice on what to look for in the repairs.  The board has several Toyota-certified mechanics and several talented diagnostic engineers.