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Old 01-20-2012, 10:27 AM
411 posts, read 1,553,658 times
Reputation: 314


I'm planning to buy a Honda CR-V or another Toyota Camry and a 2004-2007ish model with around 80-100k miles is in my price range. I'll either buy one from a private party and pay to have it checked out at the mechanic before purchase, or will buy from a dealer who has a 7-day bring it back policy where I'll bring it to a mechanic within that time.

My question is, what should be looked at with a car of that age and how much can a mechanic really tell as to what it might soon need? I'm thinking of the timing belt (2005 and older CR-Vs have a timing chain), water pump, brakes, rotors, etc... what other expensive repairs could be due? When I bought my current Camry (almost 200k miles) it had 60k miles and my old mechanic said don't bother bringing it in, there is going to be nothing wrong with a Honda or Toyota with "only" 60k miles...
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:08 PM
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 26,889,413 times
Reputation: 9236
If you pay a good mechanic to inspect your car, they should know what to look for. To me a good mechanic would be one very familiar with that brand and model.

I know a few things though that I would look for:

- evidence of accidents; frame damage, paint work, etc.
- important scheduled maintenance should have been performed. For Hondas the timing belt is usually due around 100K miles. It isn't a deal killer if it hasn't been done, but it should be used to negotiate the price down.
- fluid leaks
- brake functioning and condition; it's ok of they are worn and work well; but you'll know they need pads/rotor soon
- suspension, shocks, bushings, alignment
- evidence of water damage through leaks or floods
- interior related features - climate control, fans, radio, fabric, smoking, etc.
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