Last post on Jun 09, 2012 at 11:01 PM
You are in the Mazda Protege
What is this discussion about?
Mazda Protege, Sedan
May 17, 2002 (7:41 am)
Hi, does anyone know anything about the 1991 Mazda Protege? I found one for sale in local classifieds, but I've had car problems with all of the cars I've ever driven and I just want to get ONE CAR that doesn't need to be fixed every couple months. But I've heard great things about the Protege and this one is in my price range. Is there anything specific I should ask about if I go take a look at it?
I've never bought a car before and I think I probably have sucker written all over me.
May 17, 2002 (8:06 am)
There are definitely some things that you will want to check out:
1) See if you can get a complete maintenence history (ie. oil changes, belt changes, etc.)
2) Check to see if the vehicle has been in an accident. Look first for obvious signs (ie. many paint scratches in one area, misaligned panels, etc.) Also, if you can get the VIN, then you can run it thru a company like Carfax to get a complete history of the vehicle (ie. if any insurance claims have been made for accidents).
3) If the vehicle is a manual, start it up and then stall it. The vehicle should then start up without any trouble. If it doesn't start right away, this could be a sign of impending troubles.
4) Check for any sort of fluid leak. If you can see where the car usually gets parked, you'll easily be able to see any signs of fluid leaks on the ground. Also, check the engine bay for any leaks.
5) While in the engine bay, check for belts. Are they still good or are they worn? If the rubber for the belts feels brittle, they may need to be changed soon.
6) Check the function of accessories (power windows/locks, air conditioner, etc). Do they all work well?
7) Check the tires. Tread depth ok? Are they worn? Are there any bulges in the side wall? Also check the spare and make sure the jack and other tools to change a flat are there.
8) Test drive: How does it drive? Any unusual sounds? Is the steering good or is it loose? How is the alignment? Does it pull to one direction?
There's probably a lot I'm missing, but I hope this was somewhat helpful!
#13627 of 24043 emnightingale
May 17, 2002 (8:10 am)
Ask to see service records on the car. You can also check CarFax.com for its history, if it has been in a wreck. Get the VIN number, it's on the top of the dash at the bottom left edge of the windshield. A plate with a long number on it. It's the car's serial number.
Ask the owner what problems he or she has had in the past. Drive it and listen to the engine for odd sounds. Check under the hood, if the engine and parts are dusty or dirty it probably hasn't been serviced in a while. That isn't all bad. A clean engine could mean the owner cleaned it up to hide
Look at the belts (alternator and A/C) and see if they look worn. Ask if you can have a mechanic check the car over. Check the tires for wear.
Read Edmunds for more tips on checking cars.
Get the mileage and tell us what condition the car is in. Maybe we can give you better advice after your test drive. Also, check Ednunds True Market Value for used cars and see what you should pay for a 1991 Protege with the mileage on this car.
Keep in mind that you may have to spend additional money to bring the car up to basic standards to pass inspection. It may need new tires and you should have the oil and filter changed. Deduct service and parts replacement costs from what the seller is asking to get a fair price.
You will probably find, that with the cost of the car plus parts replacement, you would be better off with a later model Protegé.
May 17, 2002 (8:16 am)
Check the underbody for signs of any sections that were repainted or welded. These indicate an accident.
Uneven tire wear (i.e. just on one side, cupped or scalloped edges etc.) may indicate worn strut cartridges or springs, misaligned wheels. Evenly worn tires just means you'll need new tires.
Check the A/C and heater function and other electrical systems.
Make sure all gears in the transmission work. Had someone who got a used Starion (remember those?) and found out afterwards it wouldn't engage its top gear (didn't take it on the freeway so never tried it out).
#13629 of 24043 Can I chime in on buying a 10 year old car?
May 17, 2002 (8:24 am)
Take it to a trusted mechanic and have him/her look it over and tell you what glaring problems it has and what they cost to fix. The car will be worn, tired and imperfect and to me running a CarFax seems like overkill.
#13630 of 24043 emnightingale
May 17, 2002 (8:29 am)
Do you know someone with more experience with cars who would go with you to check the car out? Make notes, write them down. Check the costs of replacement parts and labor, cost of tires, windshield wiper blades, etc. before buying.
#13631 of 24043 I'll ditto maltb.
May 17, 2002 (8:35 am)
Even if it costs you a few bucks to get it checked out, it could save you hundreds or thousands in the long run.
May 17, 2002 (8:35 am)
a ten year old car is going to be what you are tired of...endless repairs. You would be much better off buying a late model used Protegé with a low interest rate; than buying a 10 year old car and making expensive repairs -- if you have to use credit cards at high interest rates -- to pay for service and parts.
Think about a 1997 or later Protegé. And you said it is in classifieds, try AutoTrader.com for a much better selection of used Protegés from a wider area. You can search up to 50 miles from your hometown, and farther away.
I'll bet you don't buy the 1991 Protegé.
What is your price range?
May 17, 2002 (8:47 am)
That's my mindset...before I bought my Pro, I thought about getting an older beater car....but then I got worried about expensive repairs and poor reliability. Also, the financing rates on older cars was worse than on the new car.
After much deliberation, I decided that a new car was going to be only slightly more expensive than a used one PLUS there was warranty on the new car.
For my situation it was good to get a new car. However, I understand that we are all in different situations and all have different needs.
#13634 of 24043 MAPP III attendees...
May 17, 2002 (8:48 am)
You guys have a great time and take lots of pictures so we stay-at-homes can enjoy it with you later.