#1
So I've been to my uncle's dealership and he has a 1999 mazda 626 that I'm really taking into consideration. I will be using the car for my daily commute back and fourth to my internship (an hour drive) and I just need a reliable car for this. With some help from my uncle, the car fits in my budget (around $2,500) and I was wondering what are some of the not-so-obvious things I should check before I put a down payment on it?

Some things I've read are to check the color/amount of oil. Also, to test the steering, I should take it into a parking lot and try turning the wheel all the way left and all the way right to make sure nothing is wrong with the steering..

Are there any other not-so-obvious things I should test with the car before buying it?

My uncle is not a mechanic, but he thinks the car is in good running order and I want to be sure.
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#2
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#3
make sure the tire wear is even, and all your lights and gauges work.
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#4
Is it a 4-banger or a V6? Also, is automatic or manual?
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#5
Quote by cheez1492
make sure the tire wear is even, and all your lights and gauges work.


Will it be obvious if the tire wear is not even? I took a look at the treads and they are all pretty decent. I didn't notice any big discrepancies.
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#6
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Is it a 4-banger or a V6? Also, is automatic or manual?


4-banger, automatic

From what i've read about the year/model of this car, the transmission can be trouble.
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#7
Quote by SoccerRM1
Will it be obvious if the tire wear is not even? I took a look at the treads and they are all pretty decent. I didn't notice any big discrepancies.


as long as one side of the tire isn't more worn than the other, especially on the front. if the outside is more worn than the inside or whatever it could need a front end reallignment.

should be obvious, and it's not a big deal to have fixed, but it's something to look at
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Last edited by cheez1492 at Aug 8, 2009,
#8
Drop a V6 in it and change it to rear wheel drive and see how long it'll sit sideways for.
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#9
Quote by cheez1492
as long as one side of the tire isn't more worn than the other, especially on the front. if the outside is more worn than the inside or whatever it could need a front end reallignment.



Ok cool, I didn't notice any of that. Also, when I test drove it, I tried letting go of the wheel and it stayed perfectly straight which is a good sign.
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#10
Check the brakes, put the car in neutral and floor it to see how the engine sounds
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#11
Quote by SoccerRM1
Ok cool, I didn't notice any of that. Also, when I test drove it, I tried letting go of the wheel and it stayed perfectly straight which is a good sign.


yeah then you probably don't have any alignment problems. make sure it's got a spare?
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#12
Quote by ExtremeMetalFTW
Check the brakes, put the car in neutral and floor it to see how the engine sounds


Good idea with hearing the engine in neutral, but how should I go about testing the brakes? They were fine on the test-drive, no squeaking that I heard. Is there anything I can test other than that?
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#13
Quote by cheez1492
yeah then you probably don't have any alignment problems. make sure it's got a spare?


Yeah it's got a spare, although I do admit this is something silly that I'd be likely to overlook.
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#14
Quote by SoccerRM1
Good idea with hearing the engine in neutral, but how should I go about testing the brakes? They were fine on the test-drive, no squeaking that I heard. Is there anything I can test other than that?

Better brakes require less effort to stop the car.

in other words, to slow down, you shouldn't have to stomp the brakes all the way down.

Also, disk brakes > drum brakes. More expensive but worth it.
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#15
Quote by SoccerRM1
Yeah it's got a spare, although I do admit this is something silly that I'd be likely to overlook.


yeah i guess.

and you can test the brakes like they do when you go in for an inspection. get up to about 30 and slam on them. see if they lock up or they're not pressured up or whatever. if there's slack in the pedal you might need brake fluid or have air in the brake lines.
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#16
Quote by cheez1492
yeah i guess.

and you can test the brakes like they do when you go in for an inspection. get up to about 30 and slam on them. see if they lock up or they're not pressured up or whatever. if there's slack in the pedal you might need brake fluid or have air in the brake lines.


ok, I'll add this to the list. Thanks.
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#17
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Drop a V6 in it and change it to rear wheel drive and see how long it'll sit sideways for.

or just slap a twin turbo and an intercooler on it. that'll get ya some oversteer
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#18
Can't believe no one has bothered asking yet.

How many miles are on it?
#19
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Can't believe no one has bothered asking yet.

How many miles are on it?

Because that's a pretty obvious thing people look for.

And TS asked for not-so-obvious things
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#20
It has 108,000 miles
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#21
My lady friend has an older Mazda 626 that's pretty solid. I mean hers is beat to crap, but the model itself is good. Hers is a manual though, so my experience might not be too helpful. The car itself is pretty good, comfy on long drives, gets great gas milage. Of course hers gets put in neutral and coasts whenever possible - the automatic version obviously won't have that option. The engine's not that peppy, but it doesn't suck. But again, it's a manual, so I can hold off shifting until it redlines if I felt like it. Well, aside from the fact that it would make her very cross with me, that is. For all I know the automatic might shift too early, and just drive sluggish as hell. Although I doubt that very much from Mazda.

Assuming it's in good shape, you could do a hell of a lot worse for $2,500. But if it's the automatic ... well, I don't know then. Some of those older Mazdas can be pretty costly to work on, and an automatic tranny is pretty much guaranteed to run over a grand. I'd see what you can find out about it before you make a decision, but it's still a good car.

The fact is that whenever you buy a used car with 120,000 miles or so, the automatic transmission has a chance to kick off at some point during your car ownership.

I'm assuming your uncle is selling this to you wholesale. Last car I bought was wholesale from a friend that owns a dealership, and he told me that he's charging what he paid at auction, plus a transport fee - no profit, no warranty. The thing wasn't inspected or detailed, which means I didn't pay for those things.

If your uncle owns the dealership, ask him if maybe you can pay $2,650 or whatever it costs to have his guys check the transmission, engine seals, hoses and belts, and see if the ECU is giving any 'check for service' signals.

Remember, 2 1/2 thousand isn't that expensive for a car. Unless something obviously wrong comes up, buy it, hope for the best, and do everything in your power to keep at least $500 in your savings account in case something goes wrong.

But that last part should be the case for any car owner.

EDIT:

After reading posts I made while typing, it looks pretty good. I assumed it was about 120,000 miles from the cost, but 108,000 is pretty good. Assuming it all checks out okay, I'm guessing you'd have at least two years of driving before anything to expensive breaks. Of course, you never know.
Last edited by jean_genie at Aug 8, 2009,
#22
Quote by jean_genie
My lady friend has an older Mazda 626 that's pretty solid. I mean hers is beat to crap, but the model itself is good. Hers is a manual though, so my experience might not be too helpful. The car itself is pretty good, comfy on long drives, gets great gas milage. Of course hers gets put in neutral and coasts whenever possible - the automatic version obviously won't have that option. The engine's not that peppy, but it doesn't suck. But again, it's a manual, so I can hold off shifting until it redlines if I felt like it. Well, aside from the fact that it would make her very cross with me, that is. For all I know the automatic might shift too early, and just drive sluggish as hell. Although I doubt that very much from Mazda.

Assuming it's in good shape, you could do a hell of a lot worse for $2,500. But if it's the automatic ... well, I don't know then. Some of those older Mazdas can be pretty costly to work on, and an automatic tranny is pretty much guaranteed to run over a grand. I'd see what you can find out about it before you make a decision, but it's still a good car.

The fact is that whenever you buy a used car with 120,000 miles or so, the automatic transmission has a chance to kick off at some point during your car ownership.

I'm assuming your uncle is selling this to you wholesale. Last car I bought was wholesale from a friend that owns a dealership, and he told me that he's charging what he paid at auction, plus a transport fee - no profit, no warranty. The thing wasn't inspected or detailed, which means I didn't pay for those things.

If your uncle owns the dealership, ask him if maybe you can pay $2,650 or whatever it costs to have his guys check the transmission, engine seals, hoses and belts, and see if the ECU is giving any 'check for service' signals.

Remember, 2 1/2 thousand isn't that expensive for a car. Unless something obviously wrong comes up, buy it, hope for the best, and do everything in your power to keep at least $500 in your savings account in case something goes wrong.

But that last part should be the case for any car owner.


Thanks a lot jean_genie. I am a bit concerned with the reliability of the car because I will be starting my first ever 40 hour a week position and I don't want to have to worry about my car starting each morning.

I may opt to get the insurance which is around $200. This will give me some peace of mind and hopefully will save me money in the long run.

The car doesn't really have that much acceleration which was expected with a 4 cylinder, but you can get it to rev if you push the pedal.

Thanks again
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#23
Quote by SoccerRM1
Thanks a lot jean_genie. I am a bit concerned with the reliability of the car because I will be starting my first ever 40 hour a week position and I don't want to have to worry about my car starting each morning.

I may opt to get the insurance which is around $200. This will give me some peace of mind and hopefully will save me money in the long run.

The car doesn't really have that much acceleration which was expected with a 4 cylinder, but you can get it to rev if you push the pedal.

Thanks again

Be VERY careful with insurance on a used car. Most of those policies are not only written to cover almost nothing, but you could have a really tough time finding somebody that accepts it, depending on the company "providing" the policy.

Usually they're written to omit 'wear and tear parts', which at over 100,000 miles is most of what you'll have. Also, many of those policies require you to pay upfront, and then wrestle with the company to get reimbursed. If you're paying upfront, then they can take their time paying you back, or argue that they don't need to pay you back at all. After all, your car is fixed, right?

Not saying it's always like this, but be very careful before you buy.
#24
Quote by jean_genie
Be VERY careful with insurance on a used car. Most of those policies are not only written to cover almost nothing, but you could have a really tough time finding somebody that accepts it, depending on the company "providing" the policy.

Usually they're written to omit 'wear and tear parts', which at over 100,000 miles is most of what you'll have. Also, many of those policies require you to pay upfront, and then wrestle with the company to get reimbursed. If you're paying upfront, then they can take their time paying you back, or argue that they don't need to pay you back at all. After all, your car is fixed, right?

Not saying it's always like this, but be very careful before you buy.


Yeah, I have heard some of the same warnings you have mentioned. The agreement seems to be in plain english about what the insurance covers. As far as the transmission goes, this is what it says they cover:

"Transmission - Case and all internal parts., Torque converter and converter housing"

and as far as the engine goes:

"Engine - Cylinder block, cylinder heads and all internal parts. Manifolds, valve train and covers, and flywheel. Camshaft and timing drive components. Oil pump and oil pan. Cylinder head gaskets and intake manifold gaskets are covered for coolant leaks only."

I don't know a whole lot about cars, but this seemed relatively fair, no? Feel free to bonk me on the head and say that they're leaving something out.
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#25
although later on it does say that the following are not covered:

"... parts of your vehicle that are subject to normal wear and tear (fan belts, radiator hoses.. etc.)"
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#27
when you go for a test drive again, make sure to listen for any squeeling and squeaking noises in the engine, when you're driving and when you're turning, if they do (and pretty badly) then it might be time for some new belts... also, take in mind the last time it had a service, if it is way overdue for one, then take it in straight away otherwise it could turn to sh*t

ummm, check the seatbelts, do thy retract properly? do they grab when you move forward sharply? remember, your safety is the most important thing...

and make sure there isn't smoke billowing out of the exhaust, but I shoyuldn't think so because you would have already told us

also, check if it's rego'd or if it's got a RWC and all the necessary paperwork for it to legally drive, I don't know how it works over in America though...
#28
And a soon as you get the car, change the oil (don't forget to change the oil filter too) and get a new air filter, preferably a K&N, they're pricier but worth it.


Better mileage and better performance.
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#29
I thought this thread was going to be about shooping a used car.

i am dissapoint
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