14th May 2010, 22:53

Just because a car was owned by an "old lady" doesn't mean it's the gonna be the greatest thing ever. One of the worst things you can do to a car is let it sit for long periods of time, and then when you do drive it, barely go over 40 MPH. It just doesn't get things moving often enough. Rubber parts start to dry-rot, gaskets start to crack, fluids (mostly the engine oil) become diluted with moisture or start to degrade. I'd rather buy a car with 100,000 miles that was serviced properly than a car with 20,000 miles that was owned by an old lady.

15th May 2010, 14:51

The car my mother has gets its oil changed every 4 months is always in the garage. I actually take it out on the interstate when possible. The little old lady used to drive me to my grade school in a new MGA at the time. She knows about good care and maintenance even today.

10th May 2016, 23:43

Exactly, cars are made to be driven and at highway speeds. Why do you think thermostats open at 180 to 190 degrees? Cars have to get hot, not just a trip to the store and church on Sundays. Buying Grandma's car is sometimes the worst thing you can do.

11th May 2016, 10:36

Bought a 88 Olds which had only been driven to the store and back and had 20,000 in 2002. It had more issues than any other car I have owned; sitting lots and not getting taken out destroyed the car. Rubber hoses and seals dry out, and the electrical systems breakdown.

11th May 2016, 13:06

Don't agree with almost all of your comment. Define long periods. I have had cars for decades with minimal annual mileage. If you drive a car for 20 minutes straight every 2-4 weeks it should serve you well. You do not need to be on an interstate to open a thermostat.

Neglect is another matter. New cars are not immune to accelerated wear from dusty road conditions and extended fluid changes. I have bought elderly individuals' cars. Many are meticulous and save every single receipt. They hear a noise or something doesn't seem right. And it's at a shop. They often sit and wait while they are fixed. They are retired. I know this as I had a relative with a shop. I bought one that stands out a 1990 Bonneville from a gentleman with cataracts. He simply could no longer drive. A really great car. If you do shop for one, check the records. Some of the nice people I met liked their cars well enough to even name them! These are cream puffs.

I have been trying to buy a 1970 Chevelle Convertible from an elderly lady for years. A one owner car just a small block automatic. My guess is a grandchild will end up with it. But she knows I love this car. Very clean and I know how well it's kept up. These are the type of cars to find. Ask your parents that go to senior centers if any of their friends may be selling a nice one. I agree, pass on ones sitting in a back yard with tall weeds growing around them. I would still rather find a well kept low mileage one than 100000 miles plus to start out with. I have cars with low annual miles that are fine. Fluids are fresh. My main concern is brakes, flat spotting of tires and even clutches depressed. And drying out seals. A brief run a couple of times a month works well. Using a battery maintainer keeps them completely charged. A couple dryer sheets in the cars to deter mice. Which I never have had. Always good to go.

12th May 2016, 15:39

I usually buy a used car on the very first trip. And bring a driver with a second pair of knowledgeable eyes to spot things. Usually you can tell a lot by condition, noise and feel driving a short distance. I have even brought a floor jack on occasions. The other plus is having full cash in hand. You can negotiate low and show you are very serious. Not a dreamer or tire kicker. And I have walked away. I left a home once and got a call back as soon as I pulled back in my drive. Saved 4 grand. To me that's worth driving home and heading back.

I have friends that call me to look at ones. And I call them. You can spot leaks, belts etc pretty readily. Unless the guy steamed cleaned beforehand. If you buy low enough you can hold some out for repairs. I have had cars totally gone over and don't mind spending $500 after buying them well. Just have everything fluid wise changed out etc with the thought it may have not been done. Check the engine and trans out and look for rot or body damage. Use a magnet wrapped in a cloth. Look down the panels and check the frame, firewall for damage. I kind of go to higher end neighborhoods to buy as well. I realize that's not always true as to condition. But if you see a badly neglected home, it is a strong possibly the diligence on vehicle maintenance isn't a priority. I have looked at cars full of crap. Burger wrappers, trash soda and coffee stains, and not even a moment to wash or clean them up. Some are disgusting and you wonder how they were brought up. I politely leave. There's more on these subtle ideas and tips I have, but that's a very good starting point.