Buying a used car, good or abd deal?

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I found a car (from a private owner) that seems to be a good deal in my area. I took my friend who understands cars with me when I went to check it out. The car is a 1996 Mazda Protege DX with 65,000 miles, automatic transmission (the AC, and everything else works). We took it for a test drive, my friend tried turning and accelerating with it, and the car does both very well. The rear breaks make some noise breaking, my friend said they could last from 6 months to a year depending on how I drive. My friend also managed to haggle down the price from $2,200 to $1,800 for minor stuff he found. The owner just replaced the car's tires and muffler, and he said the inspection just expired, but if we are buying the car he could pass it for us right before selling it. But here is the part I'm afraid of. The owner said that when he bought a car 3 years ago from a dealer, the title was salvaged, he said that there was nothing major with it, they had to replace one of the headlights, he said they replaced some minor parts, but the engine is still the same, he also says that he was driving the car to work and back for the last 3 years and is only selling it because he bought a pickup truck. Now my friend assured me that this is not a big deal that the car is salvaged, but when I called my mom today she told me not to ever buy a salvaged car. The thing is she bought a salvaged (flooded) Mitsubishi about 4 years ago for $5000, (when she bought it, they made a mistake and said the title was clean) and the mechanic she took it to said everything was fine with it too, but the car would randomly stop on the road, and she had to sell it back after a month losing $2,000 in the process. She also told me that New York state is the worst place to buy cars because people bring the worst cars here. I was going to buy that car but now I'm not so sure. Should I really be as worried as my mom says? If I take it to the mechanic, what are the chances there will be serious hidden problems with the car that he won't be able to find? Should I run away whenever I see a salvaged title?

posted by  R3N3G4D3

There would be considerable damage if the title was made salvage. That usually means that the car was totaled and then repaired. They do not total a car for a headlight. If the previous owner had the car for 3 years then I would think someone would not want to keep a car that was giving him problems.
Safety could be another problem. If the car was patched back together poorly and you were involved in an accident, you may not be as protected. It's hard to say if this is the case for a particlular car.
It does sound like a decent price, but I personally would not buy a car with a salvaged title. You just never really know.

posted by  968racer

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